This portion of an 1880 schedule from Cottonwood Township, Brown County, Minnesota, shows a devastating diphtheria outbreak that took the lives of multiple children in several of the households.
A look at nearby townships showed even more diphtheria deaths, and a quick internet search revealed that it had reached epidemic proportions around this time. If your ancestor’s family disappeared from the area around that time, this could be an explanation. You may find evidence of other events in mortality schedules. I wrote this article about a story I found in some Boston mortality schedules that led to details about a fire in a cotton factory.
Sunday, August 14, 2011
The Advantages of Modern Life: Vaccines
That thought resulted from reading this part of a newsletter from ancestry.com: