Inspired by my friend Dara’s similar post, I thought I’d take a look at family size in some generations of my family. I’ve gone for 3 generations, as before that, I can’t be certain I know all the siblings in each family. I also took a look at the infant mortality. In my parents’ generation, all live births lived to adulthood, but the preceding 2 generations, only 1 family, my maternal grandmother’s, had all their children grow up. That’s very stark. Some of the illnesses that caused these premature deaths include meningitis, scarlet fever, diptheria, convulsions, failure to thrive and other very preventable diseases. In Ireland, we’re lucky to live in a country with good sanitation, healthcare (could be better of course!) and herd immunity. Let’s keep up the vaccinations!
For my great-grandparents’ generation, the 1911 census was of great assistance in reporting live births versus children still alive. In almost all cases, I’ve been able to identify most of the early deaths and, in some cases, been able to restore them to family memory, like James Bradley, who lived and died his 2.5 years before his brother, my grandfather, was born.
|Children in family||Survived to adulthood|
|Maternal great grandfather||8||7|
|Maternal great grandmother||17||9|
|Maternal great grandfather||8||6|
|Maternal great grandmother||4||4|
|Paternal great grandfather||5||4|
|Paternal great grandmother||11||7|
|Paternal great grandfather||4||1|
|Paternal great grandmother||9||5|