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Posts Tagged ‘medicine’

Today January 5th is a day when history and genealogy come together, there are many days during the year that have events from the past that interest the genealogist or the historian and today is a day that each will find interest in the same events.

The first of these events occurred in 1781 when Benedict Arnold led a British Navy expedition landing in Richmond Virginia where they would burn Richmond. Arnold known as a turncoat having been born in Connecticut, served with both General Washington and for the British.

Benedict Arnold was appointed a Brigadier General of the British Army and after burning Richmond, his second wife Peggy Shippen Arnold pleaded she had no knowledge of the incident. She was sent by carriage to Philadelphia on the orders of General George Washington. To this day the name Benedict Arnold remains a name used to mean a traitor.

The next event that took place on this day of significance was in the year 1896, this was when a type of radiation was discovered by Wilhelm Roentgen a German Physicist that would become the X-ray.

Both of these events made changes in history, the burning of Richmond is something that has been played out in many different ways in books and on movie screens. Just as the medical community gaining the technology of the X-ray. This can benefit the genealogist in knowing that by the 1900’s certain conditions could be seen by X-ray and might be more accurate than conditions diagnosed before this advancement in medical technology.

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Today January 4th being the fourth day of the New Year, no matter what year, it was a day that some genealogist might be given new avenues to search for their family members. It is also a day when the historian who enjoys reading about the advances in medicine will find interesting.

Medicine saw advancement in what surgeons could do to help patients who were in need of an appendectomy. On January 4 1885, is the date that is believed to be when the first appendectomy was done by a Davenport, Iowa doctor named Dr. William W. Grant. This was an important step in medicine, because like so many other conditions that seem to be of little concern today, it was very different in the past. A person who needed their appendix taken out prior to this first appendectomy and for quite some time after this surgery was done had a death sentence.

Even when a doctor discovered a treatment or cure, including surgery it would often take years for the rest of the medical community to begin using this treatment or surgery technique.

There were two events that may assist the genealogist, which occurred on January 4th in years gone by to help in locating lost family members to further the family tree.

The first occurred January 4, 1896 when Utah would be admitted as the 45th state of the United States. Although, it would be some time before records were kept there are other ways to find a person besides the Census reports, like church records for one idea.

The second event occurred in 1904 as part of a United States Supreme Court ruling during the case of Gonzales versus Williams. The Supreme Court ruled that citizens of Puerto Rico were not aliens and would be allowed to enter the United States freely. This is important for anyone searching for ancestors that may have resided in Puerto Rico or may have traveled there from another country and then to the United States.

There are times when doing family history that the person who can not be found is often one that came into a country differently than other people arrived. Instead of taking a direct route, even if it was to go west, they took southern states to make their way across instead of the expected route. This is where history plays an important role in family trees, without knowing what occurred some family members might never be found.

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