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Old Age and Aged Deaths

by Kayleigh Seng, Jessica Otis
2022-07-18

The London Bills of Mortality were originally and primarily focused on deaths from plague, however they very quickly expanded to include other causes of death as well. From accidents and drownings to measles and smallpox, the printed bills included citywide summary statistics—rather than parish-by-parish breakdowns—for each week. While we can therefore learn a fair amount about causes of death throughout the city, very little information can be gleaned from the sixteenth- and seventeenth-century bills about the age at which people died.


The Parish Clerks' memento mori: Iconography of Death and trademark in The London Bills of Mortality, 1727-1752

by Hernán Adasme
2022-07-05

In the fourth week of 1727 the habitual readers of the Bills of Mortality noticed something different in the most recent bill. The bill printed on Thursday January 9th showcased a border of skulls and crossed-bones framing the death counts in both the verso and the recto.1 The artwork of the skull was fairly simple: a bike-seat-like cranium slightly bent to the right, with triangular nostrils, three ovals as eyes and mouth, and two crossed-bones at the bottom.


Strangled himself (being distracted): Messy Data and Suicides in the Bills of Mortality

by Emily Meyers
2022-06-20

Content Warning: This post contains subject matter that some may find sensitive or disturbing, be advised. If uncomfortable with this topic, you may support Death By Numbers in other posts. This blog post will be a bit different than a few of our previous posts. Now that we have discussed our project workflow, we are going to begin to discuss the content of the Bills themselves. One thing that we immediately noticed on beginning this project is that suicides are reported on the Bills in a variety of ways that lead to more questions than answers regarding the weekly suicide rate in London.


How We Get Things Done: The Transcription Workflow

by Megan Brett, Dan Howlett
2022-05-23

Figure 1. Bills of Mortality Workflow. Once items are added to DataScribe and the datasets are ready for transcription, the transcription workflow begins. The project owner can assign users one of two roles: reviewer or transcriber. Reviewers can edit all records and items, regardless of the item’s status. For Bills of Mortality, Reviewers include the staff members on the project and our Digital History Research Assistants. Transcribers can only edit records and items which are locked to them.