Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Little Carl Martin Gillberg's Cause of Death

Some time ago, I shared a Wednesday's Child post in which I remembered little Carl Martin Gillberg. He was my Grandma Ingrid's only brother. You can read that post by clicking HERE.

At the time I wrote my Wednesday's Child post, I didn't know why Carl Martin died. He was only one year and two months old when he passed away in Sweden on January 23, 1906.

Just to refresh your memory, Carl Martin was the only son born to my paternal great-grandparents,
Carl Albert Gillberg and Hilda Maria Carlsson.

Thanks to Linda, author of the
Cousin Linda blog, I now know what took the life of little Carl Martin Gillberg.

Linda surprised me with an email letting me know that she had found a Death Book listing Carl Martin Gillberg. She also found Carl's parents and siblings in a House Examine/Parish Book. These documents were from Sweden and she found them on the Swedish website
Arkivdigital. I don't have a subscription to that website, so I am thrilled and so thankful that Linda supplied me with these valuable documents. Thank you Linda!

Here is the page from the 
Death Book1 where Carl Martin Gillberg is listed.

Gillberg, Carl Martin - Death Record in Eskilstuna, Sweden

Here's the cropped portion of the book above showing Carl Martin Gillberg's entry.

Gillberg, Carl Martin - Death Record in Eskilstuna, Sweden - Cropped

Because I don't speak or read Swedish, I asked Linda if she could help me out with the column headings in this book. She graciously sent me another email with the column heading translations.

Here's the information contained in this book about Carl's death. Linda, thank you again for your help with this translation.

  • Carl's Death Year and Month – January 1906
  • Carl's Death Day – 23
  • Carl's Sex – Male
  • Carl's Name – Carl Martin Gillberg
  • Carl's Parents – Carl Albert Gillberg and Hilda Maria Carlsson
  • Carl's Birthdate – November 12,  1904
  • Carl is listed on Page 1965 in the House Examine/Parish Book
  • Carl's Cause of Death – Rickets
  • Carl was buried on January 28, 1906

Poor little Carl Martin. He died from Rickets.  So, just what is Rickets?

Wikipedia states that,
"The primary cause of rickets is a vitamin D deficiency.[8] Vitamin D is required for proper calcium absorption from the gut. Sunlight, especially ultraviolet light, lets human skin cells convert vitamin D from an inactive to active state. In the absence of vitamin D, dietary calcium is not properly absorbed, resulting in hypocalcaemia, leading to skeletal and dental deformities and neuromuscular symptoms, e.g. hyperexcitability."
MedicineNet.com states the following about Rickets:
Rickets is a disorder caused by a deficiency of vitamin D, calcium, or phosphate. Rickets leads to softening and weakening of the bones and is seen most commonly in children 6-24 months of age. There are several subtypes of rickets, including hypophosphatemic rickets (vitamin-D-resistant rickets), renal or kidney rickets (renal osteodystrophy), and most commonly, nutritional rickets (caused by dietary deficiency of vitamin D, calcium, or phosphate). Classic nutritional rickets is also medically termed osteomalacia.
I wonder what type of Rickets little Carl Martin had. It's interesting that the article in MedicineNet.com said that Rickets is most commonly seen in children aged 6-24 months of age. Carl Martin died when he was 14 months old. Whichever kind he had, his death must have been devastating to his parents and siblings.

I will share page 1965 of the Household Examination/Parish Book, that was referred to in Carl's entry in this Death Book, in a future post. Page 1965, which Linda shared with me, shows Carl listed with his family.

Thanks for reading!


© 2013 Copyright by Jana Last

1 ArkivDigital Online, Eskilstuna Kloster och Fors F:4 (1903-1913) Bild 520 / sid 44 (AID: v163140.b520.s44, NAD: SE/ULA/10226)


  1. A mystery solved. I had someone comment on my blog, too, with the cause of death for an ancestor I didn't know about it. Glad you were able to put little Carl to "bed".

    1. Hi Debi,

      The genealogy community is so generous! I'm so grateful to Linda for her help. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. What a fantastic discovery, Jana! I've been wondering about little Carl too. I'm so grateful to your friend Linda in helping you discover the answer to this family mystery.

    1. Hi Cindy,

      I'm also so grateful for Linda's help. It was so sweet of her to supply me with these documents and with the translations. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. How devastating for Carl's parents! I'm thinking about Vitamin D and sunlight. Don't we get Vitamin D from sunlight or am I confusing something I only partially remember? Since Sweden is so far north doesn't it get less light during half the year, and could the lack of sunlight contributed to little Carl's death. I guess I'm just thinking out loud here. How wonderful that someone offered you help. And isn't it sad that the book is called a "Death Book?" I don't know what else they'd call it but just the name makes me sad.

    1. Hi Nancy,

      Yes, our bodies do produce Vitamin D from exposure to sunlight. It is an interesting thought about Sweden's northern latitude helping to contribute to little Carl's death. It's hard to say though if that was what caused it or not. And yes, Death Book is such a sad title. I looked at Google Translate and Dod means Death and Bok means Book in Swedish, so putting them together equals Death Book. :( So sad!

  4. I didn't realize rickets could lead to death -- I always thought it just caused bowed legs. But if little Carl had rickets associated with the kidneys, there was surely no hope.

    1. Hi Wendy,

      I'm not sure I realized Rickets could cause death either. Isn't it amazing what we learn as we do our family history? Thank you for stopping by!

  5. Hooray for Linda! Hooray for making collaborative Genealogy work. So glad you were able to find more information about little Carl. I have my own 'little Carl' who died of pneumonia at the age of 3. So sad for the family.

    1. Hi Devon,

      Aww! Isn't it so sad when we find these little ones who died so young? And yes, I'm so thankful for Linda's help! Thanks for stopping by!

  6. Hi Jana, I am happy I could help :) :)
    Have a great weekend!

    1. Hi Linda,

      I really do appreciate your help! Thanks again!




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