Cemetery Update Services

Diseases of the Day


I find it interesting and often very sad when the cause of death is listed in the cemetery records.  I don’t remember where I found this list of information but I have found the list to be very helpful to me to understand what the people of the time were dealing with.  I hope you enjoy it too.


Ablepsy – Blindness

Ague – Malarial Fever

Aphtha – The infant disease “thrush”

Apoplexy – Paralysis due to stroke

Atrophy – Wasting away or diminishing in size

Bilious Fever – Typhoid, malaria, hepatitis or fever and bile emesis

Biliosness – Jaundice associated with liver disease

Black plague or death – Bubonic plague

Black pox – Black small pox

Bladder in throat – Diphtheria (Seen on death certificates)

Brain fever – Meningitis

Breakbone – Dengue fever

Bright’s disease – Chronic inflammatory disease of kidneys

Bule – Boil, tumor or swelling

Camp fever – Typhus;  aka: Camp diarrhea

Canine madness – Rabies, hydrophobia

Canker – Ulceration of mouth or lips

Catalepsy – Seizures / trances

Catarrhah – Nose and throat discharge from cold or allergy

Chilblain – Swelling of extremities caused by exposure to cold

Child bed fever – Infection following birth of a child

Chin cough – Whooping cough

Cholera – Acute severe contagious diarrhea with intestinal lining sloughing

Chorea – Disease characterized by convulsions, contortions and dancing

Cold plague – Ague which is characterized by chills

Colic – An abdominal pain and cramping

Consumption – Tuberculosis

Cramp colic – Appendicitis

Croup – Laryngitis, diphtheria, or strep throat

Decrepitude – Feebleness due to old age

Dentition – Cutting of teeth

Diary fever – A fever that lasts one day

Diphtheria – Contagious disease of the throat

Dropsy – Edema (swelling), often caused by kidney or heart disease

Dropsy of the Brain – Encephalitis

Dyspepsia – Indigestion and heartburn.  Heart attack symptoms

Encephalitis – Swelling of brain; aka: sleeping sickness

Enteric fever – Typhoid fever

Enterocolitis – Inflammation of the intestines

Falling sickness – Epilepsy

Fits – Sudden attack or seizure of muscle activity

Glandular fever – Mononucleosis

Green fever – sickness – Anemia

Grippe/grip – Influenza like symptoms

Grocer’s itch – Skin disease caused by mites in sugar or flour

Infantile paralysis – Polio

Jail fever – Typhus

Jaundice – Condition caused by blockage of intestines

King’s evil – Tuberculosis of neck and lymph glands

Lockjaw – Tetanus or infectious disease affecting the muscles of the neck and jaw.

Long sickness – Tuberculosis

Lumbago – Back pain

Lung fever – Pneumonia

Lung sickness – Tuberculosis

Mania – Insanity

Meningitis – Inflamations of brain or spinal cord

Miasma – Poisonous vapors thought to infect the air

Milk fever – Disease from drinking contaminated milk, like brucellosis

Milk sickness – Disease from milk of cattle which had eaten poisonous weeds

Nervous prostration – Extreme exhaustion from inability to control physical and mental activities

Palsy – Paralysis or uncontrolled movement of controlled muscles

Paroxysm – Convulsion

Phthisis – Chronic wasting away or a name for tuberculosis

Pleurisy – Any pain in the chest area with each breath

Puerperal fever – Elevated temperature after giving birth to an infant

Putrid fever – Diphtheria

Quinsy – Tonsillitis

Remitting fever – Malaria

Rheumatism – Any disorder associated with pain in joints

Rose cold – Hay fever or nasal symptoms of an allergy

Rubella – German measles

Scarlatina – Scarlet fever

Scarlet fever – A disease characterized by a red rash

Sciatica – Rheumatism in the hips

Scurvy – Lack of vitamin C

Ship fever – Typhus

Small pox – Contagious disease with fever and blisters

Summer complaint – Diarrhea, usually in infants caused by spoiled milk

Swamp sickness – Could be malaria, typhoid or encephalitis

Tetanus – Characterized by high fever, headache and dizziness

Thrush – Childhood disease characterized by spots on mouth, lips and throat

Tick fever – Rocky Mountain spotted fever

Trench mouth – Painful ulcers found along gum line

Variola – Smallpox

Winter fever - Pneumonia

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