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Digital Subscriptions > Family Tree > Family Tree August 2018 > The great influenza pandemic of 1918

The great influenza pandemic of 1918

As though years of world war weren’t enough, the closing months of the conflict saw a devastating infection sweep the globe. With almost quarter of a million deaths in Britain alone, and millions of deaths worldwide, the great influenza pandemic had a dramatic effect on many of our ancestors and their families. Keith Gregson reports
With a world in turmoil, people living in close proximity in the trenches, and others on the move, the influenza spread quickly and it was hard to follow the advice to ‘avoid crowds’. The graph shows the death toll of those in the cities of New York, London, Paris and Berlin


1 Do not breathe through the mouth but through the nose

2 Use soap and water for washing the inside of the nose night and morning; gargle with clean water.

3 After forcing yourself to sneeze night and morning, take deep inspirations

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What did your ancestors do for a job? Were they an apprentice? Did they take the King’s Shilling? Or work down the mine? What were the opportunities available to them, and what were the very real hazards of the work they did all day? This issue we’re exploring those employment records that can help you find out more about your ancestors’ work in times gone by. Discovering the history of your ancestors’ employment will give you invaluable insights into the lives they led. What they earned, and how they earned it, will shed light on their income and lifestyle, the communities they lived in, and the roof over their heads. Investigate their work; understand their lives… We have all the info you need to help you do this.