Can you help me read the cause of death from this death certificate?
January 4, 2015 1:42 PM   Subscribe

From rural Pennsylvania, 1918 if it helps. I am working on my family tree and am wondering what the cause of death is here, and I can't read it. Thanks!
posted by brbmaroon to Writing & Language (13 answers total)
Exhaustion [presumably secondary to] chronic mania
posted by katemonster at 1:43 PM on January 4, 2015 [11 favorites]

"exhaustion"...something written over something, but last word could be dementia.
posted by vrakatar at 1:44 PM on January 4, 2015

The first three fragments in the finer script seem to be the word "Exhaustion".
posted by dayintoday at 1:44 PM on January 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

Oh, maybe that's "Mania" written overtop of "Dementia" as the last word?
posted by dayintoday at 1:45 PM on January 4, 2015

The overwritten phrase looks like "senile dementia". You can see the S at the start, and the dot of the i, then "le"at the end.
posted by Lorc at 1:51 PM on January 4, 2015 [4 favorites]

Agreeing it looks like "Exhaustion chronic mania" on top, with perhaps "Senile dementia" below.
posted by bleep at 1:59 PM on January 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

Interesting - I have a relative who died about that time and the cause was cancer & exhaustion - seems like writing exhaustion was a trend right then.
posted by cda at 2:01 PM on January 4, 2015

Interesting -- it looks like three different pens. Exhaustion, Senile Dementia and [Chronic?] Mania are different. The dark Mania one seems to match the time above the closest.
posted by sageleaf at 2:10 PM on January 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

Yes, agreeing with this: it looks like "Exhaustion" "Chronic mania" on top, with probably "Senile" and definitely "dementia" below. It also looks like 3 different pens as sageleaf says.
posted by gudrun at 2:13 PM on January 4, 2015

To me, the handwriting for "senile dementia" looks the same as the handwriting for "exhaustion". The 9 in the time was overwritten as well. My vote is two writers, and someone tried to rub out "dementia".
posted by yeahlikethat at 4:04 PM on January 4, 2015

Actually on second look, that might explain why the "mania" is so blotchy compared to the nice sharp "9 A" in the time, someone roughed up the surface of the paper with an ink eraser.

Whether any of this is relevant, I have no idea...
posted by yeahlikethat at 4:11 PM on January 4, 2015

I agree that the cause is "Exhaustion Chronic Mania." In my experience doing family history research, this is just a more polite way of saying, "this person was old and senile." This would be consistent with the "senile dementia" notation as well.
posted by That's Numberwang! at 6:52 PM on January 4, 2015

Thanks everyone! I just wasn't seeing it.
posted by brbmaroon at 6:25 AM on January 5, 2015

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