January 13, 2013

What is Apoplexy?

John Wheeler Watson died in Pittsburgh in 1893 of apoplexy at the age of 28.  The term apoplexy refers to bleeding into an organ or loss of blood flow to an organ. Sometimes the organ is specified but when it is not, the term generally refers to sudden stroke symptoms caused by a brain blood clot or bleeding into the brain.

Functional apoplexy is when a person appears to be having stroke-like symptoms but there is no brain abnormality ... from this comes the slang term we sometimes use currently "she went apolplectic".

January 4, 2013

Occupations: CORDWAINER

An occupation I stumbled upon in the 1855 census in New York State.

Cordwainer = shoemaker who made soft leather shoes and luxury footwear.

To differentiate somewhat, the term cordwainer referred to the maker of fine footwear while the term cobbler generally described the profession which would repair it.

The term cordwainer, originated in England, was intended to refer specifically to the the leather manufactured in Cordoba, Spain, initially from goathide and later from horsehide.  "Cordovan" was the fine quality eqinine shoe leather leather fashioned from the fibrous flat muscle beneath the hide on the rump of the horse. This leather is still used for men's shoes -- one pair can be made from one horse's hide.

January 1, 2013

She Died of Dropsy 1859

What is dropsy??  The term is now obsolete and really does not describe a cause, but rather a condtion.  Dropsy refers to edema -- an abnormal accumulation of fluid beneath the skin or within a cavity of the body. The cause of this condition, however, is not identified by the term dropsy.

In most cases edema would the result of congestive heart failure or failure of the liver or kidneys. So, if you are reviewing family health/medical issues and are concerned about ancestral causes of death, this designation won't help you much.

Just thought you should know.