Six word Saturday: another Mary who died in childbirth

My paternal grandfather's sister, Mary Allan (nee Leslie), who died on 7 November 1927 of puerperal septicemia, an infection that follows childbirth or miscarriage. Another Mary, another sadness.

My paternal grandfather’s sister, Mary Allan (nee Leslie), died on 7 November 1927 of puerperal septicemia, an infection that follows childbirth or miscarriage. Extract of death record from Scotland’s People.

Grieving husband. A child? More questions.

20 thoughts on “Six word Saturday: another Mary who died in childbirth

  1. It’s not really a post to be ‘liked’, other that your successfully managing to write six words to tell a story – not once, but twice !

    • Thank you. As always I’m confronted with more questions than answers. I’ve done a record search looking for a child, but because it happened less than 100 years ago, the birth records are not available online, and there are too many possible candidates to pursue. And of course, she may have miscarried or had a termination – there may not have been a live birth. I’m quite glad I didn’t know about these women in my past before I had my son!

  2. Did you find a death notice for Mary in a newspaper of the time? In my limited searches, I have found a lot of inconsistency about death and birth notices in the newspaper. Sometimes my family seems to have contacted the newspaper and sometimes not.

    • Hi. I haven’t been able to find a death notice. The most likely paper is the Fife Free Press, and I don’t have access to an obit index from home. I’ll pursue this the next chance I get, but I think that talking to my dad is probably the best chance I’ll have of getting any information – partly because it happened less than 100 years ago and so many records haven’t been released yet.

  3. I had to look this up, as I had a ancestor die after childbirth so was interested if this could have been the case with her. This is wicked stuff, a possible couple of bacteria forms getting in and then turning into blood poisoning. One thing I learned is that during 1985-2005 in the UK, the number of direct deaths associated with puerperal sepsis per 100,000 maternities was 0.40–0.85. In the same time period in the US however, it’s 13 in 100,000. That’s quite a difference. Either the UK has less of those germs or they’re more hygienic during childbirth. At any rate, I’m so sorry for your Great Aunt. Were there other children?

    • Hi; thanks for your comments. I’d never heard of this, although I was vaguely familiar with the term child-bed fever. The stats comparing the UK and US are fascinating; I wonder what’s behind the difference?

      I haven’t been able to find out anything about the family, ie whether there were other children. Partly it’s because it happened less than 100 years ago and the records aren’t publicly available. Mary had been married for three years when she died, so there may have been one or two other children. I’m going to ask my dad as she was his aunt. He wasn’t born when she died, but may know something about her. Will post whatever I learn. Thanks again. Cheers, Su.

  4. More sadness. How did these people cope? Did they have a lot of faith? Drinking? Or was it just so much a part of life that they shrugged and moved on.

    How was this person related to you?

    • Hi Amy; I guess most people just carried on – at least on the surface. I doubt whether the hurt ever completely went away, but they didn’t have too many choices. I’ve found quite a few cases where women have died young and within a year or so their husband has remarried. Apart from anything else, he would have needed someone to look after the children while he worked. Mary Leslie was my my paternal grandfather’s only sister. I knew my grandfather, and his youngest brother Tom, when I was young, and my son is named after Uncle Tom, so although I didn’t even know they had a sister until recently, I do feel quite connected to the family. My uncle Tom was a witness at Mary’s wedding.

  5. I haven’t been able to find that out. Her children would be (have been) my father’s cousins, so I’m going to ask him. Otherwise, I’ll have to wait until after 2024 for records to be released.

  6. During those times, the death of a baby – no matter how sad – was a sign of the times. In a way, it was survival of the fittest…but these survivors also survived the war, infections, archaic surgeries, all without even penicillin.

    • That is very true. I’ve been thinking a lot about how we view the past through the lens of the present. 🙂

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