Inherited Medical Conditions
If anyone in your family has an inherited medical problem, do not fail to ask relatives for names of others who might share the problem.
My wife inherited a serious medical problem from her mother, her grandmother, and her great-grandmother. She would break out in red bumps similar to measles, run an extremely high fever, but at the same feel like she was freezing. This would last sometime up to two or three hours. Once the fever broke, it would start going away. Rainy or cold weather, as well as an air conditioned house, would bring on an attack.
When we married in 1955, very few doctors had ever heard of the problem and no medication was available. She was diagnosed as having lupus in 1961 and treated for ten years, before another test showed she did not have lupus, but rather, something close to it. The medication she was given caused problems with future treatments, and she died in 2002 from a very rare and fast-moving cancer.
Our two children and two grandchildren inherited the condition. About four months ago, I made contact with a descendant of her grandmotherâ€™s brother who has the same medical problem and has been in a medical research program. They put him on a medication, and he has not had an attack since his first shot. My son and his daughter were accepted into the program and neither has had an attack since the injection of medication. My niece went today for her first appointment and my daughter and granddaughter have an appointment tomorrow for their first visit.
They call this condition Familial Cold Auto-Inflammatory Syndrome and the medicine keeps a bad gene working like it should. My son says he feels the best he has felt in a long time. So far, there are no bad side effects to the medication.
Finding this relative through my family research and getting my children in this research program means more to me than winning a multi-million dollar lottery. This alone is worth every minute I have spent on my family research.
P.S. This medical problem may be traced back to a Waldrep (Waldroup) in Habersham County, Georgia, in the mid 1800s. His wife’s maiden name was Bramlett; I am told that she is the one that had this health problem.
Maiden Name Place Holders
I have large numbers of women without known maiden names in my family tree. I don’t substitute married names for unknown maiden names because that introduces some confusion as well. So, when trying to find a given person in an index, if the name is a common one like Nancy or Mary or Elizabeth, it can be nearly impossible to pick out the right candidate, especially if other identifying information (such as dates or birthplace) is scarce. In order to make my life simpler, I have invented pseudo surnames that serve as temporary place holders until I can find out a maiden name (if ever) and also carry identifying information without creating the kind of confusion substitution of married names does. The pseudo surname, in lower case, indicates a relationship such as Jane wifeofJosephBMerrill or Mary wifeofJesseWilliams. When I look up â€œJane wifeâ€ in the index of my Ancestry tree, all the Janes turn up, each connected to the right husband. If at some point I discover that Jane was a Jones, it’s easy enough to blank out wifeofJosephBMerrill and substitute Jones.
This suggestion may be as old as the hills, but we have not been long into computerizing family history. A cousin and I have sent each other the stories of our family research, plus family trees, photos, and details of family stories that have been handed down to us. Hopefully it would never happen but if either of us suffer floods, fires, or whatever else nature or fate throws at us, at least one of us will have the information that has been collected for more than thirty years.
Tina and Arthur Allen Vickert
Highams Park, London
If you have a suggestion you would like to share with other researchers, send it to: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks to all of this week’s contributors!
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