Diabetes - Genealogy

While working on my amateur genealogy today, I came across this 1928 death certificate for my 74 year old great-great-great uncle citing “Diabetes Mellitus” as his cause of death, with “Diabetic Gangrene” as a secondary cause. This is the first death certificate citing diabetes in my family that I’ve found. I was quite surprised by it given the year. I need to brush up on my diabetes history to have a better idea of what doctors knew about the disease at that time.


Here is a good place to start that @Richard157 shared.

Would be interesting to know when he was diagnosed, since insulin was in its infancy in the 1920’s.


That’s really interesting. Given that he was 74 and he died of gangrene I sort of wonder whether he was T2 rather than T1. But of course at that time, there was no distinction.


@Chris and @Richard157, thanks for the link to that video. Amazing story and history there.

@TiaG, I assume he was Type 2 like you said. If I find anything more, I will post it.

Thanks for recalling the video. I had not seen it for awhile.


It’s possible he was someone with LADA? hard to say but he died in 1928? so that’d be 5 years after the mass marketing of insulin. All diabetics were treated with Insulin until at least like the 40’s I think? Type 1 and 2 weren’t even distinctively diagnosed until 1936. From what I understand though, type 1 always has been known of first since people died of it faster.


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