Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Wednesdays Child: Infant Son Ranney

It was only in the last couple of years that I discovered that my maternal great-grandparents Ranney had a child that only lived a short time.   My mother always knew, but she doesn't think to tell me these things unless I ask her.  And of course, I don't know what to ask.  So after I do some research and find something, I call her and the conversation goes something like this:  "Did you know that your grandparents had a child that died?!"  "YES," my mother says VERY emphatically, "I thought I told you that?!"  Me, exasperated but also oddly amused:  "Nooooooooo, Mother, you never told me that!" 

This was one of those conversations.  Anyway, I found the baby's death certificate online.  It wasn't until last week when my mother asked that I even thought about where he was buried and if he had a gravestone.  Thanks to one of my favorite genealogy sites - FindaGrave - the answer was found incredibly quickly.  A very dedicated and prolific volunteer in that area of Michigan had already posted the memorial on the site.  After a call to the cemetery, I found out that it was indeed the correct baby and it did indeed have a headstone.  I then put a photo request on FindaGrave and before sundown, that same dedicated volunteer not only had posted a picture, but he also transferred the management of the memorial to me!  There certainly are some wonderfully kind people in the genealogy world.

The infant son of Luther Boardman and Bessie Carter Ranney (their first child) lived for five days in December 1907.  He is buried at Riverside Cemetery in Elsie, Michigan.  According to his death certificate, he died of "Icterus Neonatorum" or newborn jaundice.  We can only speculate why they did not name the baby.  Mom remembers her grandmother saying that they knew from the beginning something was wrong with the baby and it would not live long.  Perhaps not naming the baby was a way of not becoming too attached.

I am very impressed that he has a headstone.  As I mentioned, this was their first child, and couples typically do not have much money during the first years of their marriage.  I think it shows how much they loved and wanted to honor their baby.

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