Spanish Flu Stories

Rural cemetery, headstones and trees

AncestorNews readers’ contributions to stories and reports of ancestors who perished during the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic

Read my original post on the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic.

My mom, when six years of age, was exposed to and contracted the 1918 Spanish Influenza at the time that pandemic killed so many people around the world. A brother of one of her father’s – a brother who fought in WWI – brought it to mom and her dad; her dad’s flu was of less intensity to that of my mom’s. Mom’s developed to such that she fell into a deep sleep/coma ??? where she could hear her mom and paternal grandma planning her funeral!   Penny von Haden

My great grandparent both died with the flu epidemic in 1918.  Nadine Dominguez

The flu epidemic of 1918 was especially tragic for my mother’s family. Her father, Peter Glanz, died 11/13/1918 at age 42. My mother was born 4 days later and her mother was left a widow with 6 other children aged 1-15. This was especially tragic as they had only been in the U.S. since December 1911!

My grandparents were Germans from Russia who arrived with no parents or siblings in MI. The oldest son had to go to work immediately to support the family and the younger children were removed from the home until my grandmother could secure work doing cleaning and laundry. This horrific event was a catalyst that helped form their strong work ethic and and faith and left my grandmother as a beacon of light for the entire family.  Carol George

I had two sisters I believe they were Rachel Harrison and Helena Harrison. I don’t know too much about them as my mother never talked about them. My brothers and sisters were older and they told me a little of what they knew. One of the sisters was 22months old and the other was around six month’s old. My parents were Flossie Haddie (Raner) and Benjamin Frank Harrison.  Marie Hoadley

I worked for at 90+ year old man years ago. He lost a sister, aunt, her baby to it. His wife lost her mother. Patsy Clymer

My great Aunt lost her 11 month old son. Suzie Laughlin

Both my maternal grandmother’s parents. JoCarol Hamilton

My great grandfather and my grandfather’s baby brother. Letha-Ann Cooper

My great granddad Alfred Bagnall got the flu and died on 12 November 1918, just as the bands outside were playing. Apparently, his last words were’ Now the bands are playing I can go knowing the war really is over’. My grandmother, his daughter, always cried when she heard a brass band after that. Nita Pearson

My great grandfather and gg grandmother died from the flu in 1918. Terresa Decker Kane

Aunt and Uncle both died as infants.  Provan Mill

My grandmother, Louise Albers Niehaus, and her 8 month old son were victims of this tragedy.  She was 25 years old when she died on 25 Feb 1919 and her son died three days later.  They were buried together.  She left three small children.  Both death certificates give broncho pneumonia as the cause of death.  I wish I could have known her.  She was fondly remembered by her family. Nancy Hurley

My great grandmother died in 1918 in NYC of what we were told was a goiter. Timing wise I’m not so sure… I was also she was caring for her father in law and he ran her ragged and wore her out…. that one sounds more plausible if you throw in the flu. Becky Holmberg

I got the death certificate for my great-grandmother. Madison County, Alabama ‘sez’ Spanish flu as Cause on 03 Jul 1918. (100 years ago) Patsy Crawford

My great grandfather Meyer Gold died in February of 1920. Believe it or not the Spanish Flu was still active at that late date. Ross Weintraub

I have been thinking about writing an article on the 100th anniversary of the 1918 flu. Actually my uncle John Boland, age 24 (not great uncle) was a victim of the disease. I thought I would use his picture (still looking for it) in the piece. He was quite a handsome dude. John was the oldest of four children. My mother was his sister and often spoke about how devastated the family was when he died. Helen Breen

I receive several requests a day for assistance with genealogy research. If you would like to receive research pricing information please contact me using the Contact link at the top of the page. I look forward to working with you.

Don't forget to pick up your free Cheatsheet for Saving Family Stories

Save Your Family Stories - 10 Easy Steps

*by downloading this free PDF you're confirming that you also wish to receive my free genealogy newsletter


  1. My great grandmother, May Danforth died at age 47 on 3 Oct 1918 of pneumonia following the flu. On October 2nd Boston had recorded 202 deaths due to the Spanish Flu. She had been a waitress so she was exposed to the general public.My grandmother was unable to travel from Boston to Maine for her mother’s funeral due to the threat of Spanish Flu and having a three month old son. My grandfather was away fighting the war in France.

  2. It is fascinating to me to find snippets about the Spanish ‘Flu pandemic of 1918. I always heard stories that my mother’s side of the family had been flu victims in some cases, but, it turns out, that was not so. However, I recently tracked down details on a great uncle of mine named Harry A. D. Burgess. I found from a WWI draft card, and then a death certificate, that Harry died Sept. 25, 1918, in Brockton, Massachusetts, of pneumonia following influenza. Harry had been recently elected to local political office, which he never was to live to hold. I have only 1 photo of Harry, wearing a merchant marine uniform proudly on the front porch of the family home. His death certificate identifies him as a seaman, however, he worked in the family grocery store before the war broke out. Harry fell ill on Sept. 18 and was dead just days later. No one else in the household, as far as I know, was affected by the pandemic. I’ve never found any funeral or death notices but there are a ton of death certificates around the same time in Brockton.

    1. Hi Linda,
      I find the whole Spanish flu pandemic absolutely fascinating. I wonder how many genealogy researchers think to look at this as a cause of death in 1917-1920-ish? The havoc this caused is really unbelievable. Nancy

Leave a Reply

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

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.