Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Medical Terminology

Genealogy tip for today: old medical terminology


Our English language is always changing – from the influence of other languages, to new information and better understanding. This is true in the medical field just as in any other discipline. Today I thought we would look at some of the terms that have been used in times past. This list is just a sampling. You will find the link to the page where I found this at the end of the list. I will also include other places where you can find these terms. They will help you, especially with older death certificates that use terms for cause of death that we are not familiar with today. These terms are sometimes found in military records and in other places as well.

Ablepsy - Blindness
Ague - Malarial Fever
American plague - Yellow fever
Anasarca - Generalized massive edema
Aphonia - Laryngitis
Aphtha - The infant disease "thrush"
Apoplexy - Paralysis due to stroke
Asphycsia/Asphicsia - Cyanotic and lack of oxygen
Atrophy - Wasting away or diminishing in size.

Bad Blood - Syphilis
Bilious fever - Typhoid, malaria, hepatitis or elevated temperature and bile emesis
Biliousness - Jaundice associated with liver disease
Black plague or death - Bubonic plague
Black fever - Acute infection with high temperature and dark red skin lesions and high mortality rate
Black pox - Black Small pox
Black vomit - Vomiting old black blood due to ulcers or yellow fever
Blackwater fever - Dark urine associated with high temperature
Bladder in throat - Diphtheria (Seen on death certificates)
Blood poisoning - Bacterial infection; septicemia
Bloody flux - Bloody stools
Bloody sweat - Sweating sickness
Bone shave - Sciatica
Brain fever - Meningitis
Breakbone - Dengue fever
Bright's disease - Chronic inflammatory disease of kidneys
Bronze John - Yellow fever
Bule - Boil, tumor or swelling

Cyndi’s List (wonderful site)


There are other websites as well that you can search. Just use the keywords ‘old medical terms,’ and you will find even more sites that what is listed here. Some things for which to watch are foreign websites. For example, websites in Britain will have ‘uk’ in their URL. These countries may have interesting information, but won’t necessarily be pertinent to even old terminology used in our documentation in the States.


Today in History              

1263 At Largs, King Alexander III of Scotland repels an amphibious invasion by King Haakon IV of Norway.

1535 Having landed in Quebec a month ago, Jacques Cartier reaches a town, which he names Montreal.

1862 An Army under Union General Joseph Hooker arrives in Bridgeport, Alabama to support the Union forces at Chattanooga. Chattanooga's Lookout Mountain provides a dramatic setting for the Civil War's battle above the clouds. 

1870 The papal states vote in favor of union with Italy. The capital is moved from Florence to Rome. 

1871 Morman leader Brigham Young, 70, is arrested for polygamy. He was later convicted, but the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the conviction. 

1879 A dual alliance is formed between Austria and Germany, in which the two countries agree to come to the other's aid in the event of aggression. 

1909 Orville Wright sets an altitude record, flying at 1,600 feet. This exceeded Hubert Latham's previous record of 508 feet. 

1931 Aerial circus star Clyde Pangborn and playboy Hugh Herndon, Jr. set off to complete the first nonstop flight across the Pacific Ocean from Misawa City, Japan. 

1941 The German army launches Operation Typhoon, the drive towards Moscow. 

1950 The comic strip Peanuts, by Charles M. Schultz, makes its first appearance in newspapers. 

1959 The groundbreaking TV series The Twilight Zone, hosted by Rod Sterling, premiers on CBS. 

1964 Scientists announce findings that smoking can cause cancer.                                                                                        

1967  Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American Supreme Court justice, is sworn in. Marshall had previously been the solicitor general, the head of the legal staff of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and a leading American civil rights lawyer. 

1970 A plane carrying the Wichita State University football team, staff, and supporters crashes in Colorado; 31 of the 40 people aboard die. 

1980 Congressional Representative Mike Myers is expelled from the US House for taking a bribe in the Abscam scandal, the first member to be expelled since 1861. 

1990 Flight 8301 of China's Xiamen Airlines is hijacked and crashed into Baiyun International Airport, hitting two other aircraft and killing 128 people. 

2001 NATO backs US military strikes in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks. 

Birthdays today

<---1847  Paul von Hindenburg, German Field Marshall during World War I and second president of the Weimar Republic. 

1869 Mahatma Mohandas Gandhi, political leader of India and pioneer of nonviolent activism. 

1871 Cordell Hull, Secretary of State for President Franklin Roosevelt. 

<---1879 Wallace Stevens, poet. 

1890 Julius Henry 'Groucho' Marx, comedian, one of the five Marx brothers (the others being Chico, Harpo, Zeppo and Gummo). 

1900 William A. 'Bud' Abbot, comedian, the straight man to Lou Costello. 

1901 Roy Campbell, poet (The Flaming Terrapin). 

1904 Graham Greene, novelist (The Power and The Glory, The Heart of the Matter). --->

1907 Alexander R. Todd, Baron Todd, Scottish biochemist who won Nobel Prize for Chemistry (1957) for his work on nucleotides, nucleosides, and nucleotide coenzymes.  

1933 John Bertrand Gurdon, English developmental biologist who shared Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine (2012) for the discovery that mature cells can be converted to stem cells. 

1937 Johnnie Cochran, high-profile African American lawyer whose many famous clients included O.J. Simpson and Michael Jackson.

1938 Rex Reed, actor and film critic; co-hosted the At the Movies TV show. 

1945 Don McLean, singer, songwriter guitarist, best known for "American Pie," his tribute to Buddy Holly and early rock 'n' roll. 

1945 Martin Hellman, cryptologist, co-inventor of public key cryptography. --->

1949 Annie Leibovitz, photographer whose subjects include John Lennon and the Rolling Stones. 

1951 Sting (Gordon M.T. Sumner), singer, songwriter, musician, actor; lead singer and bass player for the band The Police before launching a successful solo career. 

1970 Kelly Ripa, actress, producer, co-host of Live! with Kelly and Michael TV talk show.




noun: A feeling of anger, resentment, indignation, etc.  

Of unknown origin. Earliest documented use: 1380.  

This word is often used in the term "in high dudgeon" as in "He went off in high dudgeon" meaning "He left in great anger and indignation."


"Nancy Pearl: In high dudgeon, one of my fellow committee members loudly announced that I would burn in hell forever for my actions!"
Awards Season and Carnegie Longlist; Publishers Weekly (New York); Mar 10, 2013.

"Phil Porble had every right to express his dudgeon at being yanked from his august position."
Charlotte MacLeod; The Corpse in Oozak's Pond; Mysterious Press; 1987.

When I despair, I remember that all through history, the way of truth and love has always won. There have been murderers and tyrants, and for a time they can seem invincible. But in the end they always fall. Think of it, always. -Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1869-1948)



Today’s Recipe

Treats, No Tricks!



    • 2 tablespoons red food coloring
    • 30 blanched almonds
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
    • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
    • 5 tablespoons granulated sugar
    • 1 pinch salt
    • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour


1.   Heat oven to 350°. Line two baking sheets with Silpats (French nonstick baking mats) or parchment paper, and set aside.

2.   Place food coloring in a shallow bowl. Crack each whole almond into halves. Toss them into the bowl with the food coloring and stir them until the color is evenly distributed. Leave them in the bowl and stir them every so often until the color is as dark as you like.

3.   Separate 1 egg. Set aside the white. In a small bowl, whisk together yolk, remaining egg, and vanilla. Set aside.

4.   In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine butter, confectioners' sugar, granulated sugar, and salt. Beat on medium speed until well combined. Add egg mixture, and beat until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the flour, and mix on low speed just until incorporated. Wrap the dough in plastic, and chill until firm, 20 to 30 minutes.

5.   Divide the dough in half. Work with one piece at a time, keeping remaining dough covered with plastic wrap and chilled. Divide the first half into fifteen pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece back and forth with palms into finger shapes, 3 to 4 inches long. Pinch dough in two places to form knuckles. Score each knuckle lightly with the back of a small knife. Transfer fingers to prepare baking sheets. Repeat with remaining dough.

6.   When all fingers are formed, brush lightly with egg white. Position almond nails; push into dough to attach.



Winging it!
My own version may be simpler. Buy some pie dough, (you might want to buy more than one), thaw, cut into wide strips. Take hotdogs and cut lengthways into four pieces. Maybe cut the lengths in half. Roll up one piece of hotdog in a strip of pie dough. Sprinkle with green colored sugar, squeeze one end and put an almond half on that end for a finger nail. Stuff a slivered almond in the other end, into the hotdog. Bake 10-12 minutes or till done but not brown, at 350 degrees. Now, I haven’t tried this – so if you’re comfortable with ambiguous recipes, you might give this a try. Send me a picture if you make these and with your permission, I’ll post them on here. I just may have to try this myself!




Now You Know!