The following article was written by Diane Haddad and printed in the "Genealogy Insider" blog. I hope you will each take the time to look this over and talk about your family's health history at your next gathering!
Posted by Diane
For the past several years around this time, the Surgeon General has urged Americans to use holiday gatherings as an opportunity to talk about health history. It’s not to make you feel guilty about that extra piece of pecan pie. It’s because your ancestors’ medical conditions may have a genetic component. So maybe you can improve your health outlook by changing a few habits—or at least you’ll know what to watch out for.While Great-uncle Hector’s intestinal blockage might not be the best dinner-table conversation, we encourage you to gently ask about family members’ illnesses and causes of death when your family gets together. You can record what you learn using the Surgeon General’s My Family Health Portrait online tool, then print a chart to show your doctor. Other ways to gather famliy health history:
You may find clues about illnesses in journals and letters—health was a major topic of discussion for our ancestors.
Death certificates, funeral records, obituaries and coroners’ records (sometimes available in cases of unusual death) may offer a cause of death. Get tips for finding death records on the Now What? blog.
Though harder to find and access, ancestors' medical records also are helpful.If you find yourself wondering what a record means by “podagra,” consult the archaic disease dictionary at Antiquus Morbus (it’s a term for gout in the joints of the foot.)See FamilyTreeMagazine.com for more resources on researching health history.
Blessings To All,