Did your family lose any members in the 1918 Influenza Pandemic? Today, we are so used to heading to the doctor when we are under the weather, getting a prescription (or two) and recovering fully from whatever ails us in quick fashion.
Even in the 21st century, the flu isn’t anything to be messed with, but 100 years ago, it caused not an epidemic, but a pandemic that spread around the world.
I have found only one family member, my 2X great grandfather’s brother, Nelson James Adams, who died in the influenza pandemic.
Nelson Adams was 67 years old, came down with the flu in early October 1918 and tried to fight it off for five weeks before succumbing to a combination of flu and pneumonia.
I guess my family was lucky to lose just one member. Many others weren’t so lucky.
PBS created a documentary, as part of its American Experience series: Influenza 1918 that is available on Amazon for less than $15.
Although it was the worst epidemic in U.S. history, the effects were worldwide – 500 million people were stricken – and more people died of the flu than perished in World War I. It is estimated that 20-40 million died.
Since this is the centennial anniversary, if you want to learn more about the 1918 Pandemic, you might want to purchase the PBS DVD. However, here are some free online resources:
Chronicling America – 704 results came up for 1918 influenza
Lastly, if you have access to 1918 – 1919 newspapers published in towns where your family lived, that is probably the best resource to learn about its local effects.
Remembering Nelson James Adams, 1851-1918