Saturday, 28 September 2013

Sepia Saturday – Don’t believe all you see

This week’s Sepia Saturday prompt is a photo from an insurance ad featuring a boy sick in bed.
I have a photo of my great grandmother Constance Edith GARRETT (first husband FITTS, nee TERRY) reclining and looking ill. She is attended by two of her daughters, probably Dorothy Louise FITTS born in 1895, and Thelma Millicent FITTS born in 1901.

But, she may not have been ill – she might have been pregnant, as she married her second husband, my great grandfather in 1905 and had children in 1906, 1908, 1910 and 1912.

Constance died in St Kilda, Victoria in February 1925 from acute pulmonary oedema and myocarditis. She was 53 years old and left her husband, and 8 children between the ages of 12 and 31. My grandfather was 16 years old. Constance’s first husband and father of the older four children had died (drowned) in 1902.

She had seen two sons go off to WWI and return. She only saw two of her children (sons) get married but did get to meet three grandchildren.

Interestingly, her death certificate only shows her marriage to her second husband and only lists the four children they had together.
I did know all eight of them, so do know that they exist and the record of death is incorrect – goes to show that death certificates are only as good as the person giving the information.

Myocarditis is inflammation and damage of the heart muscle.
Her son, my grandfather, John Raikes GARRETT died of myocardial infarction, aged 83.
Her father, Alfred TERRY, died of “disease of the heart” in 1881 at the age of 57.
Her mother, Emma Augusta TERRY nee HODGES died of cerebral haemorrhage and cardiac failure at the age of 77.

Can you see a pattern?
Luckily Mum, Constance’s granddaughter is healthy with no heart disease.
I am now the age Constance was when she died.


  1. Oh dear - she doesn't look well does she? And yes, you are so right about death certificates.

  2. That's a baby in her lap so maybe she was recovering from the birth and her family were looking after her.

    1. you're so right! I saw it when I enlarged it.

  3. Thanks, Little Nell, I clicked on photo to see the baby so I agree with you.
    Nobody looks very happy in this photo.

  4. I often compare my age to people in my family tree too. Then I'm always surprised that people were quite young although as a child I thought they were OLD.

  5. Could be a just-birthed baby? That would certainly account for the mother's tired expression - especially if the labor was long! I have a photograph of my daughter looking exhausted after 25 hours of labor. She isn't particularly fond of the picture, but I think, though she certainly looks tired, she also looks beautiful. But then, I'm her mom, so maybe I'm just a wee bit prejudiced? :))

  6. The baby does look like it could be new. Hope they all felt refreshed after the cups of tea.

  7. Thank you ladies, you know I'd never enlarged the photo enough to notice that there was a baby! It's one of the recent ones I've scanned from Mum's massive collection. I must go and have a closer look at all of them now.

  8. we hadn't seen the baby either and your grandfather never said anything about it

  9. Those girls don't look happy either.

    I recently had the discussion with someone about not believing what is written in certificates, especially if the person was trying to hide his past. I don't think I was believed though.

  10. You have made me realise that I have never seen a death certificate for anyone. I wonder how I've missed them all.
    I missed the baby too, distracted probably by the unhappy looks of the three subjects.

  11. A moving photograph in so many ways when you consider the background to it. .

  12. A sad, but lovely photo. I'm sure much cherished over the years.

  13. Sepians are so observant! I didn't see the baby until I read the comments and went back to have another look.

  14. Heart diseases are common in my family and you can imagine the pills, quadruple bypasses and pacemakers involved here. But since I've been told before that I am heartless, maybe I stand a chance to skip all of that!!

  15. The photo is so sweet with the daughters attending their mom. :)
    That same pattern of heart disease ran in my mom's family on her dad's side. My own brother died at age 54 and Mom was 56 when she died. One year before her death, she had a heart attack; she had us all go and get our cholesterol checked. My hubby and I changed our diet at that time.

  16. I didn't see the baby at first, even after it was pointed out.