The 1918 flu pandemic (the H1N1 strain) that lasted between January 1918 and December 1920 infected 500 million people and killed up to 100 million. Unlike normal influenza, the 1918 strain generally affected healthy, younger people. This was due to their stronger immune systems overreacting. People would often contract pneumonia and die due to suffocation from their own secretions. It is interesting to note that the 1918 flu pandemic caused more deaths than the whole of World War One. It is thought to have originated at Camp Funston in Kansas, America in March 1918. Due to the infected troops living in close proximity to each other and because they travelled around the world, the deadly flu virus soon spread.

Fred Rowbottom

Fred Rowbottom - death certificate

Fred’s death certificate

My great grandfather, Fred Rowbottom, born in 1873 in Parkgate, Rotherham and husband of Frances Emily Brough, died from the 1918 flu virus. Fred caught it and his doctor told him to stay in his house, but he decided that the pub might make him feel better. He went out on a very cold night, contracted pneumonia and subsequently died. Fred is the son of Albert Rowbottom and Charlotte Yates

I know that at least 4 other members of my family tree died from this deadly virus. Below are a couple of newspaper articles regarding two families in my tree that suffered. The first regards the death of my great great granduncle who was called William Henry Remmington and the second is regarding my first cousin, thrice removed (Bernard Vincent Early (son of Priscilla Walker Berry and Jesse Early)) and his family.

Remmington. W. H.

Remmington. W. H.

William H. Remmington




Transport Driver W. Remington (1/5 York and Lancaster Reg.), son of Mr. and Mrs. Remington, of 9, The Crofts, Rotherham, who is reported to have died of pneumonia, following influenza, in France on December 20th last, was one of the original members of the 1/5 Batt. York and Lancaster Regt. (the local Territorials) which left England in April, 1915. He was 23 years of age, and joined the Army on the outbreak of the war. At the time of his illness he was on the point of being demobilised in order to return to work at the Silverwood Colliery.

36 - Moorgate Cemetery, Rotherham (Early) - 28.08.05 (1)

Early grave


EARLY. – Bernard Vincent Early, aged 30, died at 6, Lister Street, on Thursday, Feb. 27, from influenza. Elizabeth Early, aged 31, wife of the above, who died on Friday, Feb 28. Cyril Early, aged 11 months, infant son of the above, died March 5.

The relatives of the above beg to thank the workmen of Messrs. Steel, Peech and Tozer Ltd. for their practical sympathy, the bearers who volunteered to carry the little family to the grave, and all friends for their expressions of grief in this sad event.

Eliza Ann Jacobs Versus Eliza Ann Jacobs


Mary Remmington holding daughter, Violet

Eliza Ann Jacobs, my second great grandmother, is the grandmother of my paternal grandmother, Violet Victoria Burton. Violet is the daughter of Mary Ann Remmington (daughter of Eliza Ann Jacobs)

I do not have the birth certificate for Eliza. However, I am in possession of a copy of her marriage certificate, death certificate and Census Returns which include her between 1871 and 1911 (with the exception of 1891).

I first found Eliza on the 1901 Census when she is living with her husband, James Remmington and four of their children (Mary, William, James and Roy) on Creek Road, March, Cambridgeshire. I have so far been unable to find Eliza and her family on the 1891 Census. But they can be found on the 1911 Census.


Creek Road

There was an Eliza Ann Jacobs born in the Chard registration district of Somerset during the October-November-December quarter of 1868 and there was also an Eliza Ann Jacobs born in the January-February-March quarter of 1871 in the North Witchford registration district of Cambridgeshire. Both had a father called William Jacobs and it is for this reason that some researchers have mixed the two up and merged them in error. We know that Eliza (wife of James Remmington) was born in Cambridgeshire from looking at the 1901 and 1911 Census Returns. My grandmother, Violet Burton who is still alive, also says that her grandmother, Eliza, was born in March, Cambridgeshire.

I believe that the 1871 North Witchford Eliza Ann Jacobs is the wife of James Remmington for the following reasons:-

– She is living on Creek Road, March, Cambridgeshire. March in Cambridgeshire comes under the North Witchford Registration district which would tie in with the 1871 birth registration entry.

– Boarding with Eliza and James on the 1901 Census is a 69 year old Robert Willmott. Robert is the second husband of Martha Hunter. Martha is Eliza’s grandmother but had died in 1894 hence why Robert is probably living with Eliza and family.

– Eliza married James Remmington in Saint John’s Church in March on 19th November 1888. There is a discrepancy in her age which is given as 19 when it should be 17. It is possible to surmise different reasons as to why her age was entered incorrectly. My personal theory is that Eliza and James did not want others to know the true difference in their ages.  The marriage was witnessed by Martha Newman. Martha Newman is the daughter of Caroline Head and Alexander Newman (married 1870). Caroline Head is the sister of Elizabeth Head who married William Jacobs. Eliza Ann Jacobs and Martha Newman are thus first cousins.

– Eliza’s age is given as 30 on the 1901 Census Return when she is married to James Remington. It is given as 40 on the 1911 Census Return. So, whilst there is a discrepancy on the marriage entry for Eliza, her age is consistently given on subsequent Census Returns as indicating an 1871 year of birth. Eliza always gives her county of birth as Cambridgeshire and not Somerset.

– Eliza’s death certificate states that she was 65 years old at age of death which would indicate a birth date of circa 1871.

Finally, it is important to note that whilst Eliza and James were living on Creek Road, March, I believe Eliza’s parents (William and Elizabeth) are living a short distance away on Nene Parade, March. Eliza is also with her parents on the 1871 and 1881 Census Returns (aged 3 months on the 1871 Census Return and 10 years on the 1881 Census Return) in March, Cambridgeshire.

Now, I will discuss the ‘other’ Eliza Ann Jacobs who some people believe married James Remmington.

As previously mentioned, the ‘other’ Eliza Ann Jacobs was born in 1868 and also has a father called William.

– I failed to find Eliza living with her family on the 1871, 1881 and 1891 Census Returns. However, she does appear on the 1901 Census where she is boarding in the home of a Frederick Hawker. Eliza’s birth place is given as Ilminster which comes under the registration district of Chard. Eliza appears to marry Frederick Hawker in 1902.

– On the 1911 Census, Eliza and Frederick are living in Ilminster and both state that they were born in Ilminster. Eliza declares her age as 42 which would tie with an 1868 birth date.

– There is a death of an Eliza A. Hawker in 1945 aged 76 in the registration district of Chard. This would tie in with a birth date 1868.

To conclude, I can find no evidence to suggest that the Eliza Ann Jacobs born in 1868 in Ilminster (Chard) went to March and married James Remington. The only similarity that the two people share (other than their names) is that they both have a father called William. But birth years, birth locations, Census Returns, marriage data and death data all point to the Eliza Ann Jacobs born in 1871 in the registration district of North Witchford as being the wife of James Remmington.