Friday, February 3, 2017

Bronwyn Mary Davies

Bronwyn is the name of my auntie who died at one month old. Born in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) I had previously heard little bits about her but knew very little. Uncle Glyn, Auntie Wendy and Dad all told me she was born with Down Syndrome and died of Pneumonia. This was only a couple of years before Dad was born.

On January 24th I discovered that FamilySearch has a copy of the microfilm for the complete death records of Zimbabwe from 1904 to 1976. I decided to dig into them and see if I could discover a death certificate for Bronwyn. At the time I only knew her name as Bronwyn Davies. Glyn thought she died in 1954 but he couldn't recall a funeral. I was unable to check immediately with Glyn's brother Wendy who was older when Bronwyn died and might be able to recall the year of her death more definitively. So I started the search at volume 1 of 1954 and fortunately discovered Bronwyn in volume 2, nearly 300 records later.

Here's what it says:
Christian Name: Bronwyn Mary Davies
Sex: Female
Usual Place Of Residence: 4 Taylor Avenue, Morningside, Umtali
Age: 1 month
Birthplace: Southern Rhodesia
Race: European
Whether Single/married/divorced or widowed: Single
Occupation: Nil
Date of death: Eleventh of August 1954
Place of death: 4 Taylor Avenue, Morningside, Umtali
Intended place of burial: Umtali Cemetery 
Cause of Death: Dehydration, Hyperpynexia, pylorostenosis and mongol
Duration of last illness: (3 weeks and 4 weeks.)
Name and place of residence of medical practitioner: Dr. R. Levitt, Umtali

Original Signature: Davies
Qualification: Father
When Registered: 12-8-54
Number of entry: 275/54

A few notes about the cause of death. Dehydration I think we are all familiar with. Hyperpynexia is used to describe a high fever, usually about 106 degrees.  Pylorostenosis apparently has to do with the the inability of the pylox valve in the stomach to open and pass food off to the duodenum. Mongol is a word they used to use to describe Down Syndrome.

The current practice of doctors is to list the cause of death first, then the contributing causes and then any underlying cause, condition or disease. I do not know if that was the practice in the 1950's but if so then in this case it would be death by dehydration, with high fever and Pylorostenosis causing the dehydration, with Down Syndrome being an underlying factor. 

Since the date of registration is written in British format, it is the 12th day of August 1954 that the doctor was notified. 

It has always been believed she died of Pneumonia with the underlying issue of Down Syndrome. I don't know if that would fit with what is recorded here or not. Back then many people ascribed respiratory problems to Pneumonia, whether that was the technical medical truth or not. 

1 comment:

  1. It really is something that records from around the world (literally) are appearing online. Glad you were able to find this record for your family's history.