Bills of Mortality records are the topic of Tuesday’s Tip and a new-to-me record group.
Containing the weekly mortality statistics for London, Bills of Mortality were compiled by parish clerks. Before the nineteenth century, Bills of Mortality were the main source of death statistics. The earliest known bill dates from November 1532, but the records mostly date to the period when they were used to track deaths from the epidemics, particularly The Great Plague of London. In 1570, baptisms were added and 1629 the cause of death was added. They were published through 1836, when civil registration supplanted these records.
Infant and child mortality rates were so numerous, according to historian Lynda Payne at Children and Youth in History, that they were listed according to age bracket, rather than disease. “Chrisomes” were infants younger than a month old; “teeth” were babies not yet through with teething.
The Bills of Mortality are listed by parish and by cause of […]