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Friday, August 18, 2017

Old Tyme Explanations

by Tina Ordone

Many times, in reading about our ancestors, we read about jobs they did or diseases that they had, and that feeling of “what is THIS?” comes over us. I have found the following explanations in various places and thought that the lists might help you when you are reading death certificates or other accounts of life in the times of our ancestors.

Old Tyme Occupations

ALMONER Giver of Charity to the Needy
ANANUENSIS Secretary or Stenographer
BLUESTOCKING Female Writer
BONIFACE Innkeeper
BURGOMASTER Mayor
CHANDLER Candlemaker
CHIFFONIER Ragpicker
COLPORTEUR Peddler of Books
COOPER Maker of Barrels
CORDWAINER Shoemaker
COSTERMONGER Peddler of Fruits/Vegetables
CROWNER Coroner
CURRIER Worker of Leather
DOCKER Stevedore
DOWSER Water Finder
DUFFER Peddler
DRUDGE Menial Laborer
DRUMMER Traveling Salesman
FELL MONGER Remover of hair or wool from hides in leather making
FLETCHER Made bows and arrows
FULLER Cleaned and Finished Cloth
GAOLER Jailer
GLAZIER Window Glassman
HACKER Maker of Hoes
HAYMONGER Dealer in Hay
HAYWARD Fence Viewer
HATCHELER Combed or Carded Flax
HOOPER Made Hoops for Casks
HOSTLER or OSTLER Horse Groomer
HIGGLER Itinerant Peddler
HILLIER Roof Tiler
HIND Farm Laborer
HOOKER Reaper
HOSTLER Cared for Horses
HUCKSTER Sold Small Wares
HUSBANDMAN Farmer
JAGGER Fish Peddler
JOINER Skilled Carpenter
KEMPSTER Wool Comber Profession, a Gentleman
LAVENDER Washer Woman
LEECH or SAWBONES Physician
LONGSHOREMAN Stevedore
LORMER Maker of Horse Gear
MALENDER Farmer
MALSTER Brewer
MANCIPLE Steward
MILLINER Maker of Ladies’ Hats
MINTMAKER [MINTMASTER] Issuer of Local Currency
MONGER – (i.e., fish) Dealer
MULESKINNER Teamster
NEATHHERD Cowherd
ORDINARY KEEPER Innkeeper
PERIGRINATOR Itinerant Worker
PERUKER Wigmaker
PETTIFOGGER Shyster Lawyer
PIGMAN Crockery Dealer
PORTER Door or Gatekeeper
PUMBUM Plumber
PUDDLER Wrought Iron Worker
QUARRIER Quarry Worker
RATTLEWATCH Town Watchman
RIGGER Hoist Tackle Worker
RIPPER Seller of Fish
ROPER Maker of Rope or Nets
SALTER Roofer
SAWYER Sawed Timber into Boards
SCRIVENER Notary Public
SCRUTINEER Election Judge
SHRIEVE Sheriff
SLATER Roofer
SNOBSCAT Repaired Shoes
SOLICITOR City or County Attorney
SORTOR Tailor
SPURRER Maker of Spurs
SQUIRE [ESQUIRE] Practitioner of Law
STUFF GOWNSMAN Junior Barrister
TASKER Reaper
TEAMSTER Driver of Horses
TIDE WAITER Customs Inspector
TIPSTAFF Policeman
TOPPER Spinning Mill Worker
TUCKER Cleaner of Cloth Goods
VICTUALER Seller of Food/Drink
VULCAN Blacksmith
WHARFINGER Owner of Wharf
WEBSTER Weaver-Operated Looms
WHITEWING Streetsweeper
WHITSTER Bleacher of Cloth
YEOMAN Farmer Who Owned Land

Source: Rabbit Tracks Vol. II No.4 Winter 1993

Old Tyme Diseases

Disease terminology you may find on death certificates
Ablepsy – Blindness
Ague – Malarial Fever
American plague – Yellow fever
Anasarca – Generalized massive edema
Aphonia – Laryngitis
Aphtha – The infant disease “thrush”
Apoplexy – Paralysis due to stroke
Asphycsia/Asphicsia – Cyanotic and lack of oxygen
Atrophy – Wasting away or diminishing in size.
Bad Blood – Syphilis
Bilious fever – Typhoid, malaria, hepatitis or elevated temperature and bile emesis
Biliousness – Jaundice associated with liver disease
Black plague or death – Bubonic plague
Black fever – Acute infection with high temperature and dark red skin
lesions and high mortality rate
Black pox – Black Small pox
Black vomit – Vomiting old black blood due to ulcers or yellow fever
Blackwater fever – Dark urine associated with high temperature
Bladder in throat – Diphtheria (Seen on death certificates)
Blood poisoning – Bacterial infection; septicemia
Bloody flux – Bloody stools
Bloody sweat – Sweating sickness
Bone shave – Sciatica
Brain fever – Meningitis
Breakbone – Dengue fever
Bright’s disease – Chronic inflammatory disease of kidneys
Bronze John – Yellow fever
Bule – Boil, tumor or swelling
Cachexy – Malnutrition
Cacogastric – Upset stomach
Cacospysy – Irregular pulse
Caduceus – Subject to falling sickness or epilepsy
Camp fever – Typhus; aka Camp diarrhea
Canine madness – Rabies, hydrophobia
Canker – Ulceration of mouth or lips or herpes simplex
Catalepsy – Seizures / trances
Catarrhal – Nose and throat discharge from cold or allergy
Cerebritis – Inflammation of cerebrum or lead poisoning
Chilblain – Swelling of extremities caused by exposure to cold
Child bed fever – Infection following birth of a child
Chin cough – Whooping cough
Chlorosis – Iron deficiency anemia
Cholera – Acute severe contagious diarrhea with intestinal lining sloughing
Cholera morbus – Characterized by nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, elevated temperature, etc. Could be appendicitis
Cholecystitus – Inflammation of the gall bladder
Cholelithiasis – Gall stones
Chorea – Disease characterized by convulsions, contortions and dancing
Cold plague – Ague which is characterized by chills
Colic – An abdominal pain and cramping
Congestive chills – Malaria
Consumption – Tuberculosis
Congestion – Any collection of fluid in an organ, like the lungs
Congestive chills – Malaria with diarrhea
Congestive fever – Malaria
Corruption – Infection
Coryza – A cold
Costiveness – Constipation
Cramp colic – Appendicitis
Crop sickness – Overextended stomach
Croup – Laryngitis, diphtheria, or strep throat
Cyanosis – Dark skin color from lack of oxygen in blood
Cynanche – Diseases of throat
Cystitis – Inflammation of the bladder
Day fever – Fever lasting one day; sweating sickness
Debility – Lack of movement or staying in bed
Decrepitude – Feebleness due to old age
Delirium tremens – Hallucinations due to alcoholism
Dengue – Infectious fever endemic to East Africa
Dentition – Cutting of teeth
Deplumation – Tumor of the eyelids which causes hair loss
Diary fever – A fever that lasts one day
Diptheria – Contagious disease of the throat
Distemper – Usually animal disease with malaise, discharge from nose and throat, anorexia
Dock fever – Yellow fever
Dropsy – Edema (swelling), often caused by kidney or heart disease
Dropsy of the Brain – Encephalitis
Dry Bellyache – Lead poisoning
Dyscrasy – An abnormal body condition
Dysentery – Inflammation of colon with frequent passage of mucous and blood
Dysorexy – Reduced appetite
Dyspepsia – Indigestion and heartburn. Heart attack symptoms
Dysury – Difficulty in urination
Eclampsy – Symptoms of epilepsy, convulsions during labor
Ecstasy – A form of catalepsy characterized by loss of reason
Edema – Nephrosis; swelling of tissues
Edema of lungs – Congestive heart failure, a form of dropsy
Eel thing – Erysipelas
Elephantiasis – A form of leprosy
Encephalitis – Swelling of brain; aka sleeping sickness
Enteric fever – Typhoid fever
Enterocolitis – Inflammation of the intestines
Enteritis – Inflations of the bowels
Epitaxis – Nose bleed
Erysipelas – Contagious skin disease, due to Streptococci with vesicular and bulbous lesions
Extravasted blood – Rupture of a blood vessel
Falling sickness – Epilepsy
Fatty Liver – Cirrhosis of liver
Fits – Sudden attack or seizure of muscle activity
Flux – An excessive flow or discharge of fluid like hemorrhage or diarrhea
Flux of humour – Circulation
French pox – Syphilis
Gathering – A collection of pus
Glandular fever – Mononucleosis
Great pox – Syphilis
Green fever / sickness – Anemia
Grippe/grip – Influenza like symptoms
Grocer’s itch – Skin disease caused by mites in sugar or flour
Heart sickness – Condition caused by loss of salt from body
Heat stroke – Body temperature elevates because of surrounding environment temperature and body does not perspire to reduce temperature.
Coma and death result if not reversed
Hectical complaint – Recurrent fever
Hematemesis – Vomiting blood
Hematuria – Bloody urine
Hemiplegy – Paralysis of one side of body
Hip gout – Osteomylitis
Horrors – Delirium tremens
Hydrocephalus – Enlarged head, water on the brain
Hydropericardium – Heart dropsy
Hydrophobia – Rabies
Hydrothroax – Dropsy in chest
Hypertrophic – Enlargement of organ, like the heart
Impetigo – Contagious skin disease characterized by pustules
Inanition – Physical condition resulting from lack of food
Infantile paralysis – Polio
Intestinal colic – Abdominal pain due to improper diet
Jail fever – Typhus
Jaundice – Condition caused by blockage of intestines King’s evil – Tuberculosis of neck and lymph glands
Kruchhusten – Whooping cough
Lagrippe – Influenza
Lockjaw – Tetanus or infectious disease affecting the muscles of the neck and jaw. Untreated, it is fatal in 8 days
Long sickness – Tuberculosis
Lues disease – Syphilis
Lues venera – Venereal disease
Lumbago – Back pain
Lung fever – Pneumonia
Lung sickness – Tuberculosis
Lying in – Time of delivery of infant
Malignant sore throat – Diphtheria
Mania – Insanity
Marasmus – Progressive wasting away of body, like malnutrition
Membranous Croup – Diphtheria
Meningitis – Inflations of brain or spinal cord
Metritis – Inflammation of uterus or purulent vaginal discharge
Miasma – Poisonous vapors thought to infect the air
Milk fever – Disease from drinking contaminated milk, like undulant fever or brucellosis
Milk leg – Post partum thrombophlebitis
Milk sickness – Disease from milk of cattle which had eaten poisonous weeds
Mormal – Gangrene
Morphew – Scurvy blisters on the body
Mortification – Gangrene of necrotic tissue
Myelitis – Inflammation of the spine
Myocarditis – Inflammation of heart muscles
Necrosis – Mortification of bones or tissue
Nephrosis – Kidney degeneration
Nepritis – Inflammation of kidneys
Nervous prostration – Extreme exhaustion from inability to control physical and mental activities
Neuralgia – Described as discomfort, such as “Headache” was neuralgia in head
Nostalgia – Homesickness
Palsy – Paralysis or uncontrolled movement of controlled muscles. It was listed as “Cause of death”
Paroxysm – Convulsion
Pemphigus – Skin disease of watery blisters
Pericarditis – Inflammation of heart
Peripneumonia – Inflammation of lungs
Peritonotis – Inflammation of abdominal area
Petechial Fever – Fever characterized by skin spotting Puerperal exhaustion – Death due to child birth
Phthiriasis – Lice infestation
Phthisis – Chronic wasting away or a name for tuberculosis
Plague – An acute febrile highly infectious disease with a high fatality rate
Pleurisy – Any pain in the chest area with each breath
Podagra – Gout
Poliomyelitis – PolioPotter’s asthma – Fibroid pthisis
Pott’s disease – Tuberculosis of spine
Puerperal exhaustion – Death due to childbirth
Puerperal fever – Elevated temperature after giving birth to an infant
Puking fever – Milk sickness
Putrid fever – Diphtheria.
Quinsy – Tonsillitis.
Remitting fever – Malaria
Rheumatism – Any disorder associated with pain in joints
Rickets – Disease of skeletal system
Rose cold – Hay fever or nasal symptoms of an allergy
Rotanny fever – (Child’s disease) ???
Rubeola – German measles
Sanguineous crust – Scab
Scarlatina – Scarlet fever
Scarlet fever – A disease characterized by red rash
Scarlet rash – Roseola
Sciatica – Rheumatism in the hips
Scirrhus – Cancerous tumors
Scotomy – Dizziness, nausea and dimness of sight
Scrivener’s palsy – Writer’s cramp
Screws – Rheumatism
Scrofula – Tuberculosis of neck lymph glands. Progresses slowly with abscesses and pistulas develop. Young person’s disease
Scrumpox – Skin disease, impetigo
Scurvy – Lack of vitamin C. Symptoms of weakness, spongy gums and hemorrhages under skin
Septicemia – Blood poisoning
Shakes – Delirium tremens
Shaking – Chills, ague
Shingles – Viral disease with skin blisters
Ship fever – Typhus
Siriasis – Inflammation of the brain due to sun exposure
Sloes – Milk sickness
Small pox – Contagious disease with fever and blisters
Softening of brain – Result of stroke or hemorrhage in the brain, with an end result of the tissue softening in that area
Sore throat distemper – Diphtheria or quinsy
Spanish influenza – Epidemic influenza
Spasms – Sudden involuntary contraction of muscle or group of muscles, like a convulsion
Spina bifida – Deformity of spine
Spotted fever – Either typhus or meningitis
Sprue – Tropical disease characterized by intestinal disorders and sore throat
St. Anthony’s fire – Also erysipelas, but named so because of affected skin areas are bright red in appearance
St. Vitas dance – Ceaseless occurrence of rapid complex jerking movements performed involuntary
Stomatitis – Inflammation of the mouth
Stranger’s fever – Yellow fever
Strangery – Rupture
Sudor anglicus – Sweating sickness
Summer complaint – Diarrhea, usually in infants caused by spoiled milk
Sunstroke – Uncontrolled elevation of body temperature due to environment heat. Lack of sodium in the body is a predisposing cause
Swamp sickness – Could be malaria, typhoid or encephalitis
Sweating sickness – Infectious and fatal disease common to UK in 15th century
Tetanus – Infectious fever characterized by high fever, headache and dizziness
Thrombosis – Blood clot inside blood vessel
Thrush – Childhood disease characterized by spots on mouth, lips and throat
Tick fever – Rocky mountain spotted fever
Toxemia of pregnancy – Eclampsia
Trench mouth – Painful ulcers found along gum line, Caused by poor nutrition and poor hygiene
Tussis convulsiva – Whooping cough
Typhus – Infectious fever characterized high fever, headache, and dizziness
Variola – Smallpox
Venesection – Bleeding
Viper’s dance – St. Vitus Dance
Water on brain – Enlarged head
White swelling – Tuberculosis of the bone
Winter fever – Pneumonia
Womb fever – Infection of the uterus.
Worm fit – Convulsions associated with teething, worms, elevated temperature or diarrhea
Yellowjacket – Yellow fever.

Old Tyme Naming Practices

English and Welsh, 1700 – 1879.

First daughter – named after the mother’s mother (maternal grandmother)

Second daughter – named after the mother’s father’s mother

Third daughter – named after the mother

Fourth daughter – named after the mother’s oldest sister

First son – named after the father’s father

Second son was named after the mother’s father

Third son – named after the father

Fourth son – named after the father’s eldest brother.

Exceptions apply if there was a duplication of a given name. In that case the practice was to skip to the next name on the list.

Irish, 1800’s.

First daughter – named after the paternal grandmother

Second daughter – named after the maternal grandmother

First son – named after the paternal grandfather,

Second son – named after the maternal grandfather

After that alternate names using the grandmothers’, grandfather’s;

mother’s, aunt’s and uncle’s names. If a child died, that name was to be recycled with a future child.

Scottish, 1700 to 1800’s.

First daughter – named for maternal grandmother

Second daughter – named for paternal grandmother

Third daughter – named after her mother

Other daughters were named after other family members

First son – named after paternal grandfather

Second son – named after maternal grandfather

Third son – named after his father

This policy holds true unless one family member had more assets or a higher social standing than the other. One unique aspect of Scottish naming was that if two grandmothers or two grandfathers had the same
given name, two children in the same family would end up with the same name. Another practice was to name daughters after the clergyman or other important male figure.