What should I do with people who died young with no issue

+13 votes
If a parent has a child that died young, as so many did, should I just note it in the bio section of the parents? Is there an age at which I should give them their own profile, no matter if they have don't have children? I don't want to make profiles that go nowhere, but I don't want to ignore these people either.

If this belongs somewhere else, I apologize.
in Policy and Style by Joan Lisanti G2G4 (4.2k points)
retagged by Ellen Smith
I was just ready to ask the same question.  THANK YOU for having the heart to consider these little kids - who can be on findagrave, etc. Much appreciated.

15 Answers

+26 votes

I believe those children still had a great influence in their family.   One more heart break for the parents.  Shows the true hardship these families went through.  Too often the mother died at or near the same time.

I create profiles for the children and add  {{Died Young}} to their biography.
by Peggy McReynolds G2G6 Pilot (448k points)
I did not know about the {{Died Young}} template.  Thanks Peggy.  I agree with you and the impact that those lives had on their families and so I make a profile when I am able.
I create profiles for ever person, no matter how short their life. I have one uncle, Jackie Sheppard, who died the day he was born. He’s got a profile.

I agree with Peggy. Those children had an impact in the family. My dad told the story about how horrible Jackie’s death was for him.
That was great timing. I just found a family today that had 13 kids - 7 of them died young and 6 survived to adulthood. This sticker would be perfect for them.

I just tried the {{Died Young}} sticker on a profile and it looks great.  It inserts a small image of a tombstone and then the person's name and died young.  It is helpful to know that this line stops here.  You can also mark that the person had no children.

It was Kevin Conroy  (Conry-251) who told me about the   {{Died Young}} sticker.   Not sure where he discovered it,  but I've been using it often.
See https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Template:Died_Young for information about using the sticker.
+15 votes
I would create a profile for the child. They were an important event in the life of the family. I don't see any need to categorise them.
by Lynda Crackett G2G6 Pilot (633k points)
It's a graphic  "sticker" that appears on their biography..... I don't think it actually puts them in a category because there's no active link.
+13 votes
Some people create profiles for them, others don't.

Either way is probably fine, however... creating profiles can help with the research by filling in otherwise missing gaps.
by Dennis Wheeler G2G6 Pilot (539k points)
+11 votes


There's no rule regarding what you must do in this situation.  There's no expectation or requirement to create a profile for any relative.  Do what you want and have time to do.  Noting them in the parent's profile is perfectly acceptable.  It's not showing any disrespect by not creating a profile.  I know it's a shocking thought, but some people have a life outside of genealogy and have to decide how they'll use their time.  

by Kerry Larson G2G6 Pilot (188k points)
+19 votes
I think that genealogy is about life.  That includes all of it.  A death of a child is significant in the life of the parents, siblings, and community.  Who cares if the person did not live to have children?  Neither did I, and I'm 70 years old.
by Robin Anderson G2G6 Mach 4 (40.6k points)
+20 votes
Here's another reason why you should absolutely go ahead and create that profile.  I created one a few years ago for an infant who died on the day of birth, mainly because I found a record of it in a Family Search data base.  Not long afterward I got an e-mail from a descendant in the same family line saying "How did you come up with that -- we never knew about that baby!"  The descendant turned out to be a distant cousin, and she provided me with additional family data and photos I didn't have.  So there is potential "cousin bait" value in those profiles.

And while I do get Kerry's point, I think the descendants like that cousin (not to mention the mother who lived through a 9-month pregnancy and a childbirth) would tell you "Hey genealogist, if you're going to document our family, that one counts too, just as much as the others."
by Dennis Barton G2G6 Pilot (472k points)
+11 votes
Thank you all very much for your answers. I didn't think that there was a hard and fast rule, but I wanted to check before moving back another generation. I greatly appreciate all the insights you shared.
by Joan Lisanti G2G4 (4.2k points)
+14 votes
I include all children born to the family, and list the reason for their death.  The infant death rate is an important historical fact, especially nowadays when so many people argue against vaccinations.  When I went through the death records page by page looking for particular ancestor, I was stunned by how many times I came across sections where there was one entry of a small child after another, as an epidemic of particular childhood disease swept through.
by Lida Simon G2G1 (1.7k points)
I’ve seen this in cemeteries, Lida. Tow, three, four graves, all in a row, all dying within a few days of each other. Sometimes a parent buried there, too, with a close date. So terribly sad.
+10 votes
Another reason in addition to just documenting families is that each child can give insight into naming and other patterns in families. Leaving them out could prevent a future researcher, or yourself, from making an important connection and possibly solving a roadblock. It was due to a church recording the death of an infant that I found a great grandmother who died she months later The infant was named after the father who I didn't know had been in that location.
by Doug McCallum G2G6 Pilot (448k points)
+12 votes
If I have enough sources to create a profile, I create one.

Besides the other reasons given, it helps for disambiguation. For example, if William &  Jane Smith and George & Elizabeth Smith live in the same area and both had daughters Rebecca in 1849, but William and Jane's daughter died at age 3 while George and Elizabeth's survived into adulthood, a well-sourced profile for the Rebecca who died young makes it clear that an 1868 marriage license for Rebecca Smith and Andrew Jones can't be for William and Jane's daughter.
by Sharon Casteel G2G6 Pilot (128k points)
+12 votes
You can also indicate no children and no spouse. This helps people when they are looking for relatives to know not to link to this person as a spouse or child, just a little heads up. If they look st the dates the should know but sometimes there is another child with the same name and that is the one they want.
by Sue Hall G2G6 Pilot (150k points)
That's what I do. It shows up so nicely in the five-generation descendant view.
+4 votes
You all raise good points. I know quite well the frustration of seeing several people with the same name, right age, etc., and I'm yelling at the computer "which one of you had the six kids????".

For now, I'm going to split the difference. I am working through my GEDcompare, a task that I hope to finish before the next millenium rolls around, and so I am going to Profile all children of people in my direct line, issue or not. For the other children of the direct line people, I will profile them and note their children in the biography section, and keep all my notes, so that when I'm done with the GEDcompare, I can go back and give that second group of children their own Profiles (one of those not direct people had 11 children, and another one 17 with 3 wives, so it's not going to be a small job).. Perhaps someone else will Profile those children in the meantime.

In any event, the issueless offspring are not being ignored; they are just not Profiled yet. That is the best balancing act I have for now.
by Joan Lisanti G2G4 (4.2k points)
You might also categorize the parent profile that has the info on the children with [[Needs_Profiles_Created]]. If your info is in a == Research Notes == section, someone else can come along and create those children's profiles if you don't have time to do it. Still best to come back yourself, but there is a mechanism for the "Connectors" team to find them and help out.
+4 votes
There is also a Died Young sticker that can be added to these profiles.

I think it is double brackets around the words - Died Young

{{Died Young}}
by Robynne Lozier G2G Astronaut (1.0m points)
Info about using the sticker is at https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Template:Died_Young

As the creator of the sticker, I'm pleased to see that it's now used on over 4500 profiles, but I'm sure there are many more profiles that would benefit from its addition.
Thank you so much for this sticker Ellen.   Great idea.
+5 votes
The more important points have been covered but I wanted to add that I feel it's super important to add their profiles whenever you can so that the young or childless are not confused with anyone else within the family. This is especially important where you have repeating names in families and generations that may be confusing. Add to that, people uploading GEDcoms and such that might not have the best sourcing or be the most clear.
by Dina Grozev G2G6 Pilot (138k points)
+2 votes
Hi Joan,

I know this is an old question, but it is still open so I would just like to shine a little light on the Remember the Children project, information can be found here: https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Project:Remember_the_Children
by Antonia Reuvers G2G6 Mach 4 (44.7k points)

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