Little boy lost

A life cut short

There are only three entries in the database of his life story. There can only ever be three.

He was born at 5 p.m. on the 8th of November 1841 at his parent’s home at Kleine Sortillenstraße Nr. 5 in Bremen, Germany.1

He was baptized by Pastor Beckurts at St. Peter’s Cathedral in Bremen on 11 January 1842.2

And he died at 5 p.m. on the 18th of February 1842.3

He was Carl Georg Smidt, second son and fourth child of Carl Smidt and Catherine Marie Schöne, my third great grandparents. Carl was a harbor warehouse worker; his wife, called Marie, was the daughter of a stonecutter. They had married at St. Peter’s on the 18th of October 1835.4

Their first child was a son, Jacobus Johannes, born 14 June 1836 and baptized 31 July 1836.5 He would live and grow to be a man; he would marry in 18616 and, in 1864, father a daughter who became my great grandmother.7

Their second was a daughter, Anna Maria Elisabeth, who was born 1 April 1838 and baptized 3 June 18388 and who preceded her baby brother in death by only a month: she died 12 January 1842.9 Carl Georg was the third, and the last was Charles Georg, born 23 April 1843 and baptized 2 July of that year.10

There would be no others; Carl Smidt himself died 4 June 1844.11

We can never know what this little boy would have been like. Whether his disposition would have sunny or dour. Whether he would have been sturdy or frail. Whether curious or dull. We don’t know if he’d have been tall or short. If his eyes would have been blue or brown.

We can know that he never walked or ran — he wasn’t even old enough when he died to have learned to crawl. He never felt the warmth of spring or summer. Never saw the leaves on the trees.

We can hope that he was loved, deeply, all the short days of his life, and mourned deeply when he was lost to “Brustbeschwerde” — the same killing chest disease that had claimed his sister’s life the month before.

And we can remember him now, and his life cut short.

RIP Carl Georg Smidt.

Second great grand-uncle.

Little boy lost.


  1. Bremen Standesamt, Zivilstandsregister, Geburten (Bremen registry office, civil status registers, births), 1811-1875, Carl Georg Smidt, Geburten 1841, Reg. Nr. 1295 (8 Nov 1841), p. 635; FHL microfilm 1344159.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Ibid., Carl Georg Smidt, Todten (deaths) 1842, Reg. Nr. 206 (19 Feb 1842), p. 103; FHL microfilm 1344222.
  4. Ibid., Carl Smidt and Maria Catharina Schöne, Heiraten (marriages) 1835, p. 363; FHL microfilm 1344190.
  5. Ibid., Jacobus Johannes Smidt, Geburten (births) 1836, Reg. Nr. 741 (17 Jun 1836), p. 366; FHL microfilm 1344156.
  6. Ibid., Jacobus Johannes Smidt and Johanne Henrietta Hüneke, Heiraten (marriages) 1861, p. 458; FHL microfilm 1344201.
  7. Ibid., Juliane Margarethe Smidt, Geburten (births) 1864, Reg. Nr. 2367 (15 Nov 1864), p. 1177; FHL microfilm 1344173.
  8. Ibid., Anna Marie Elisabeth Smidt, Geburten (births) 1838, Reg. Nr. 455 (2 Apr 1838), p. 225; FHL microfilm 1344157.
  9. Ibid., Maria Catharina Schmid oder Smidt, Todten (deaths) 1842, Reg. Nr. 59 (14 Jan 1842), p. 30; FHL microfilm 1344222. Despite the name mismatch, the age and parents identified in the death record make it clear the same child was referenced here as in the 1838 birth record.
  10. Ibid., Charles Georg Smidt, Geburten (births) 1843, Reg. Nr. 536 (26 Apr 1843), p. 265; FHL microfilm 1344159.
  11. Ibid., Carl Schmidt (Smidt), Todten (deaths) 1844, Reg. Nr. 633 (5 Jun 1844), p. 316; FHL Film 1344223.
Print Friendly
This entry was posted in My family. Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Little boy lost

  1. Regina says:

    What a wonderful tribute. May he rest in peace.

    • Judy G. Russell says:

      It’s surely our obligation as family historians to remember those like Carl Georg, Regina. Thanks for the kind words.

  2. Tim Campbell says:

    Thank you, Judy. I have published a few reports of people (including adults) who left no descendants. It has bothered my to think that people have lived and died and there is no memorial; as if they never existed. I am fortunate in that I have three adult children who are interested in my research; to the point I have studied my ex-wife’s family to be able to give my children a broader picture of their pedigree.

    If we could only encourage every genealogist to right at least one report like this, and submit it to some journal or magazine, then we will have memorials to many of these lost lives.

    • Judy G. Russell says:

      A journal, a blog post, even an online tree, Tim. As long as those of us who can remember, do remember, we’ve done our jobs.

  3. Judy, your post made me remember all those who died too soon named and un-named. Like the two young children I found only because their names were on their mother’s tombstone. Born and died between census years I never would have known about them otherwise. Thanks!

  4. Touching post, Judy. Here’s a memorial report of one from my family:

    They want to be remembered.

  5. Jana Last says:

    Oh, that poor little sweet boy, and his sister too. How tragic. Thank you for this remembrance of them.

  6. Annick Harris says:

    My great-great-grand-father and his wife who were born in Alsace and moved to the Vosges when they opted to stay French in 1872 had 19 children in total (each were widowed and had 4 children each from their first marriages). Only 5 survived to have children of their own and most died before they were five. They are all in my tree. I even made sure to include the twins, a boy and a girl, who were “mort-nes”(still born). I found them in the archives and each had a birth/death certificate. They were born just 3 days after their parents married. I can only imagine that my g-g-grand mother was having a lot of troubles with her pregnancy and that they wanted those children to be “legitimes” not “naturels”. I wondered why SO MANY children didn’t survive, so I dug up more information about the life of those who worked in the textile industrie and found that their life was very difficult. Thanks to all those poor little children,I am learning about the lives of my ancestors and admiring them for their survival.
    I always enjoy reading your posts, but this one touched me more.

  7. Jeff says:

    Thanks for helping to remember those too young to tell their story or forgotten because of the passage of time. I’d like to tell you about a similar case in my family. I thought I had another, but I can’t find it right now. The case that I do have is a young (first cousin twice removed) toddler, Charles Harold Barnes. He was the first child of one of my great grandfather’s younger sisters. He was only a year and nine months old when he died. Not wanting to sound too impersonal, young Harold (as he was known on his tombstone) died rather quick. He died of Cholera Infantum. He got it and died two days later. He was well attended. He lived in the same village as his grandparents, two pairs of aunts and uncles and various other in-laws. What added some extra tension to the story was the signature of the attending physician. The attending physician? His mother’s brother-in-law. A slightly different twist to the old adage, “keeping it in the family.”

  8. Marilyn Arnold says:

    Thanks so much for sharing this very touching story of a tiny boy and his little sister. In my family stories, I do try to memorialize the little ones as well, since they can’t speak for themselves ….

    • Judy G. Russell says:

      It’s surely our job, isn’t it, Marilyn, to speak for those who can’t? And these little ones tug at your heartstrings,,,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>