08 August 2008

Seattle: Epidemics and family history

Stephanie Weiner's program at the Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree in June focused on epidemics and plagues impacting the worldwide Jewish community, including the 1918 flu pandemic. It seems the Seattle Public Health organization is also in on this act. According to this blog entry, local comic artist and art teacher David Lasky was hired to produce a comic about the possibility of an upcoming flu pandemic. It was in comic form for non-English speakers to understand the message
When Lasky took the job, he wasn't aware it would hit close to home.
"My great-grandmother died in the 1918 flu pandemic," he said. "It was a connection to my past and gave me a much better understanding about what happened to her."
Lasky said he wasn't aware, and so many other people aren't aware, that half a million Americans died of the flu in 1918.
"Doing this comic I realized I wasn't alone," he said. "This affected thousands of families in this county."
It has been translated into 12 languages and will be distributed at schools throughout Washington, as well as local King County health offices.


  1. Thanks Schelly for showing me something I didn't know about my own city.

    You are welcome to take up residence here anytime. Personally, I'd love it.


  2. Thanks for the mention! My great-grandparents came from a town in Belarus called Nesvizh.