It was smallpox vaccination which was compulsory. We no longer vaccinate against it because it is considered a thing of the past. The WHO declared smallpox eradicated about 1975.
The immunisations of today are recommended but not compulsory unless you are travelling to an infective area.
I once made the mistake of looking up smallpox online. Was not expecting colour photos of infected people from the 1970s! It was terrifying.
I don't know but I imagine there are, possibly off-line. I encountered it because I have Limerick connection and I saved the link although my family there predates the period covered.
My interest in vaccination is due to researching a couple of ancestors. One was a PLG who contracted ‘Famine Fever’ and died; another was an early practitioner of etiolation (an early version of vaccination) who published pamphlets on it in the 1700's. It was a real life-saver, only 2% of patients died as a result of treatment whereas death from smallpox accounted for 10% of all deaths. The treated patients died usually as a result of poor medical intervention that weakened them (purges and blood-letting prior to and post treatment).
‘Famine Fever’ is a catch-all description for several diseases. Its main diseases are Typhus, Typhoid and Relapsing Fever. Despite the similar names, Typhus and Typhoid are very different diseases. Causes common to all three are primarily economic, poor housing & sanitation, overcrowding and a poor and vastly changed diet.
Typhus is an insect-borne disease spread by fleas, ticks and lice. It is most rapidly spread by the latter via their faeces. Their bite itches, the person scratches and the organisms enters the bloodstream. The body’s tiny blood vessels particularly those of the brain and skin succumb to the attack so the face swells and the skin darkens, hence the Irish name of ‘Fiabhras Dubh’ (Black Fever).
Typhoid is a type of Salmonella and is a food/water borne disease. Dysentery caused by eating raw/badly prepared food coupled with poor sanitation causes it to spread through contamination of wells and drinking water.
Relapsing Fever is also related to Typhus and caused mainly by infection from body lice. After the main bout the patient ‘recovers’ but about a week later there is a relapse and this circle repeats until the patient dies from exhaustion. Jaundice is a side effect, hence the Irish name 'Fiabhras Buidhe' (Yellow Fever).
At the time of the Famine they were very difficult to separately identify/diagnose unless in their advanced stages, with the result that often they were lumped together and cause of death was described as plain ‘Famine Fever’.
We've really veered off-topic here. If we want to continue famine diseases, please start a new thread and I'll move most of the posts here to it.
I have also almost become numbed by the numbers of deaths I have encountered in this research. Families of seven children where none live long enough to produce even a single grandchild--and we are not talking about just the poor. I don't know how they bore such tragedy. No, they didn't get used to it.
I have also encountered several horrific deaths that made me walk away from the research for a few days, til I could absorb it. One was a sister of my great-great grandfather who jumped to her death from a cliff in Ireland. The info came out of the blue when I got her civil death record. I followed it up in newspapers and found the story which was later copied in US newspapers. Imagine reading that about your sister over your morning tea.
The causes of death don't really affect me too much since I never knew the people. It will make me momentarily sad but I don't cry or go into a state of grieving. I will continue to think of them now and again though. I suppose maybe it's because I was very much aware of these sorts of tragedies as a child that they've never really come as that much of a shock to me. Even learning about the famine and how families were wiped out, makes you aware that it likely affected your own family greatly at that time anyway.
I came across the cause of death for my mum's uncle in a newspaper article being attributed to strychnine poisoning. My mum had never been told by her parents how he had died since she was only 6 when it happened. My mum had come to the conclusion herself that he had done away with himself but his method did come as a shock. I didn't grieve or cry but it did leave me having sympathy for him and the family that he left behind. Unfortunately, the family didn't keep in touch with his side of the family. Mum tried to reconnect with his son and he did reply a few times and he said that he intended to meet up but he must have had a change of heart since there's no reply now. It may have brought back painful memories. She continues to message him now and again and send a Christmas card in the hope that he changes his mind some day. She really does care about her family and relatives and makes an effort to keep in touch with aunts and cousins.
Every family has had their own struggles and tragedies. There are so many tragedies occurring every day in the modern world, never mind the past. I'd be miserable if I let every sad story in the news affect me too much. Sometimes you have to be a bit detached to maintain your own sanity. The world doesn't stand still and you have to keep going and make the most of it.
Having seen so many deaths of children in various families, my feelings are pretty much the same as what I'd feel on hearing the same from friends of friends, but people I don't know directly. There is sympathy and sadness for the grieving family and reflection on our own lost loved ones, but emotions wouldn't usually become any greater than that. We as researchers get used to seeing death, as it's inevitable, but the distance of time and personal knowledge of those involved will lessen the effects.
In a cousin's family, his grandfather's older brother was the third boy born to that family to be called Patrick. Clearly, a strong determination to continue a patronomic line.
His grandfather had his own tragedy, too. Seeing a father's signature on the death cert of his 1/2 hour old baby sure puts a lump in the throat. Nothing unusual in a signature in most cases, as there's a column for the informant, but in this instance, the baby was the son of the Superintendent Registrar who signed off all the birth and death certs of everyone else's children!
My cousin hadn't known any of the deaths in either household or generation, so he was taken aback and took a few moments to gather his thoughts. Being a direct descendant obviously had more effect on him than for me in merely telling the story.
I discovered my great granny's sister, Nannie, who was in service. She had one illegitimate child in 1890 who died after a couple of days - feeble from birth, and then another illegitimate child born in 1900. This child showed up in the 1901 census living with Nannie and her two brothers. By 1911 Nannie and the brothers had all disappeared, but the young girl was now living with my great granny and her family.
I never found what happened to the brothers but I found the death cert for Nannie who succumbed to TB when she was in her early 30s. Great granny was the informant. And great granny took her orphaned child. Great granny had nothing, they were extremely poor, yet there was no thought of giving the child up to an orphanage or a church run institution. The child was their blood and that was that. Great granny also went on to rear her own daughter's illegitimate child who was also loved and welcomed into the home; my mother remembered her well and she went on to make a great marriage with a youngfella who had a shop!
Nannie's girl grew up alongside my grandfather and his sisters, and thrived and went to school in the village. At the age of 14, coming home from school up the big hill out of town, she got a lift on the back of a threshing machine with her aunt's husband. Near the top of the hill she fell from the machine, fractured her skull and died a couple of days later with my great granny beside her.
She was so well-loved, that child. The extended family put up a wayside cross for her and it's still there 104 years later. I'm glad I found out the story of that one child. Hearing of how others were put into institutions for the sin of being illegitimate, and shunned and beaten and excoriated by both the religious orders and their own relatives and neighbours, it does my heart good to find that great granny did the right thing.
Just reading about the family that died of poisoning in Liverpool.... those deaths should be findable on the UK BMD index for which records started in 1835. There was probably an inquest and perhaps a newspaper account if you could finetune a date.