Infant Loss in Genealogy and the Family Tree

As a family historian, I get to see a lot of infant loss.

Safrona Short, Infant Loss
Safrona Short, 24 Sep 1859


Infant loss is found in different ways.  First, there are the cemetery and sitings.  Walking, physically or digitally, through a cemetery will reveal marked graves, often without a given name.  When the marker say ‘baby boy’ or ‘baby girl’ with a surname, you know that the parents and siblings had a spoken or unspoken name for the small coffin at the graveside.  After these, you see the stones for children that died, sometimes within days, or up into their teens.  I will not comment on when infant loss becomes something else; the definition is up to others.

Relatives and friends

After I walk the physical world of cemeteries and the cyber world of databases, I’m faced with flesh and blood relatives.  Hushed conversations of couples losing a child, sometimes given to me by the mother, relating something that happened years ago.  Knowing my interest in all things family, people will relate third party stories.  Most of these losses are semi-private.  There is a physical marker on a patch of ground, but it isn’t always part of the annual cemetery visit habits of some families.

Hopefully, the child is near other, older family members, part of an extended family group in the earth.  Often, child loss occurs with young families, and the child is laid in a section of the cemetery reserved for those without deep roots and family plots in the area.  This is often the case in North Dakota, with it’s recent history of immigrant settlement.

Infant Loss and the Family Tree

Infant loss can become lost in genealogy and the family trees.  If the historian finds evidence, he then has to decide when to include it in the history.  For events two or more generations back, the information can be included without the possibility of causing problems with living relatives.  When the infant was a cousin, nephew, or neice, you have to rely on family to determine whether to publish the information.



Short / Connoran family in Winterset, Madison, Iowa


There is a great index to the Madison County cemeteries;


An email from September 2014:

Mr. Poppke:
I have been asked to reply to your email about the two gravestones of H.L. Short and Jane Connoran Short.
Attached is a map of the Winterset Cemetery.  The stones requested are in Section P.  In that section you will find a white gazebo.  From there, go back to the east to the last row and that will be your row 1.
The Short stones are in row 9 stones 31 & 32.  The row was read from North – South.
I am still working on this section to make sure I have the rows and stones in the correct order, so I hope you can find them.  There are several Shorts in this area along with Jane’s Connoran family.
I hope this helps.  If you have any questions, feel free to email me directly.
Pat Hochstetler


Here is a PDF map of the cemetery;


Cemeteries Short Family

Cemeteries – Short Family
For anyone interested in cemeteries and has a GPS, the rest can just delete:
White Earth, ND
Lavella Augustus and Eliza Whittemore
(entrance to cemetery)
Note that White Earth is 3 to 3.5 hours north of Dickinson, ND (without delays) on some of the heaviest traveled oil field roads in the state.
Bismarck, ND
Dr. AA and Blanche Whittemore
grave site, will visit during reunion
Medora, ND
Don & Edith (Whittemore) Short graves
grave site
Don Short’s parents in Dickinson
(Not a Whittemore)