Interesting children

Denis Ahern does a service to genealogists by transcribing interesting articles and announcements from old newspapers, which he posts in soc.genealogy.ireland and soc.genealogy.britain.

On 17 June 2003 he posted this exerpt from the Cork Examiner:


On Friday morning, at Prospect hill, Limerick, after a short illness, of diptheria, aged three years and even months, Emma Jane, fifth child of Mr. David George Boyd–the second interesting child who died within the last three weeks.

The Cork Examiner, 16 July 1862

The term “interesting child” seemed to be quite common in death announcements of the time, and there was some discussion of what the phrase meant, but the discussion was inconclusive.

What interests me is that a term that appears to have been in common use 150 years ago has dropped entirely from memory, and is incomprehensible to later generations.

What will make it more difficult to track down is the fact that the term was so well-known as to need no explanation. Its meaning was clearly self-evident to those who used it.

Perhaps someone with access to a library that has contemporary dictionaries could look it up to see if those dictionaries have it. Itherwise, I’m not sure how one could find it. Are there any social or linguistic historians who can suggest possible sources of information?

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