Sunday, March 29, 2020

My Family in the Cholera Pandemic of 1848

As COVID-19 has spread across the world, instantly changing how we go about our day-to-day lives, our lives have changed.  It's the first time in most of our lifetimes that we've experienced something like this impacting ourselves and our families personally.  But pandemics have happened before, and at least once before, they specifically impacted my family.
Tzipra Brandman Death; Krasnoye, Podolia, Russian Empire; July 26, 1848

A cholera epidemic swept through the Russian Empire between 1847-1851.  And it hit the village of Kransoye in the Podolia area in 1848 quite hard.  (In fact, it hit that entire area very hard--I see it in other area villages' records as well.)  One of those who died was my 4th great grandmother, Tzipra Brandman, when she was 48 years old.

She was not the only one who died.
Page of Krasnoye 1848 Jewish Deaths; cholera as cause of death is in red boxes
This is the page on which Tzipra's death was recorded.  Of the 13 deaths recorded on that page, 12 were due to cholera.  (The one that wasn't is the death of a 15-year-old girl who drowned in the river--which in non-cholera years was a common cause of death amongst teenagers.)

This small village more than doubled its typical number of deaths for an entire year, just during June-August 1848.

Tzipra's death must have had a significant impact to her family.  My 3rd great grandmother was 16 at the time, and there were at least 2 other children still at home.

And had she lived, my mother would likely have had a different name.  My mother was named for her great grandmother, who was a granddaughter of this Tzipra and was named for her late grandmother.  So had that Tzipra survived, my great-great grandmother would have had another name.  And therefore, my mother would have had a different name as well.  This 1848 death has at least that one small impact nearly 172 years later!

Stay safe and socially distant!

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