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Showing posts with label primoprematurity. Show all posts
Showing posts with label primoprematurity. Show all posts

Saturday, February 24, 2007

There's No Shame in Showing Up Early

On an episode of the BBC Wales family history show Coming Home, Petula Clark learns that her birth was "premature."

Jenny Newman tells the performer her parents were married in May 1932, only six months before she was born.

"That is nice, I like the idea of that - I was their love child!" says the singer. [Link]

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Something Doesn't Add Up

Sometimes it pays to look at old evidence with fresh eyes.

I was looking over the family record of my great-great-grandfather Lemuel Dunham this afternoon, and noticed something odd. On Oct. 3, 1825, Lemuel married Molly (Bisbee) Bryant—a young widow who had borne an illegitimate child at age 17. On Mar. 26, 1826, Lemuel and Molly's first child was born.

I have read these dates thousands of times in the past, but only today did I notice that my ancestors had rolled in the hay prior to taking their vows.

Primoprematurity is nothing new in my family: three of my four sets of great-grandparents had children less than nine months after marrying. My paternal grandmother's father married twice, and on both occasions there was a bun in the oven. But this is the first proof of premarital conception in my Dunham line—proof I can't wait to spring on my father.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Genealogist Discovers New Hereditary Disorder

A Genealogue Exclusive [What's That?]
Lucille Porter is no geneticist. She is just a self-taught genealogist who stumbled upon a previously undetected genetic ailment in her own family.

"I was tracing my father's lines," Porter explains from her home in suburban Philadelphia. "The dates recorded in the family Bible didn't add up. It seemed that all the first-born children in the family were born two or three months premature."

Dubbed "primoprematurity" by scientists at the University of Pennsylvania, the disease has since been detected in every region of the country, in families of every social class. What makes Lucille Porter's family remarkable is that the disorder revealed itself in every generation.

"I've traced it back as far as 1749," says Porter, "when my ancestor Calista Porter gave birth to a son just six months after marrying her husband Zachariah. Poor woman. She had no way of knowing what their coupling would produce."

The disorder appears to have been especially prevalent among 19th-century domestic servants and farm laborers, and flourishes even today. Porter suspects that unreported cases of primoprematurity abound.

"Look at Gwyneth Paltrow. She was married in December of 2003, and gave birth to her daughter Apple in May 2004. Can there be any other explanation?"

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