Learning things from death certificates

My great-great-grandfather was Leopold Broschinsky. Leopold was born in Germany in 1852, joined the LDS Church in Berlin sometime in the 1880s, and emigrated from there to Utah shortly after.

Grandpa Leopold died in Salt Lake City in 1907. The death certificate lists interstitial nephritis as the primary cause of death with endocarditis as contributing. The person reporting Grandpa’s death was “La. Broschinsky”, Grandpa Broschinsky’s father was listed as “Mr. Broschinsky” and his mother as unknown, and his occupation was listed as “butcher”.

So, what does this tell us? Well, first, that Leopold died of a kidney affliction. Interstitial nephritis is an inflammation of the interstitium of the kidneys. It can be caused by infection or by a reaction to medication.

We don’t know, yet, who La. Broschinsky is. What we do know is that this person didn’t know Leopold’s parents. I find this interesting because it might point to a different feeling towards family. If La. Broschinsky is one of Leopold’s children (I don’t think this is likely, but possible I suppose), why didn’t this person know about his or her grandparents? If a child-in-law, then perhaps more understandable but still different. I know who my wife’s grandparents were. But then again, I’m interested in family history.

Leopold was a butcher. I had already learned this from other sources. What I learn from the death certificate here isn’t so much what my great-great-grandfather did but rather an interesting difference between society then and now. The field on the form where “OCCUPATION” is listed contains these instructions: “Return remunerative employment for all persons 10 years of age and over.” Ten years of age! Kind of a different perspective, I think. A significant change in society, where we now would find it uncommon for a 10-year-old to have a paying job, one that could be listed under “OCCUPATION” on a death certificate.

And that’s what I learned from Leopold Broschinsky’s death certificate.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *