I'm having trouble deciphering the cause of death below, which is from an 1870s Canadian death record. The terms used are a good part of the problem. There seem to be a fair number of lists of obsolete terms that might have been used, and I've consulted half a dozen and not found the first two words, but I haven't seen any lists that are anywhere near comprehensive.

Cause of death

The first two words are at issue. (The rest I believe reads as "with Congestion of the brain".) The first letter seems to be "S" from comparing to the text of "Staples" and "September". I might believe the second word was meant to be "Bilious" but that's fairly iffy.

Any ideas on the words, or on where an extensive list of archaic medical terminology can be found?

For comparison, here are two full entries that seem to be in the same handwriting:

two entries

  • 2
    Not enough for an answer, but I think S might be Severe. Severe B_ with Congestion of the brain.
    – shoover
    Commented Jul 31, 2020 at 4:58

1 Answer 1


Severe Biliary "Biliary tract infection is a common cause of bacteraemia and is associated with high morbidity and mortality." https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2750926/

  • I don't think this is correct. There is no i between the B and l, and it's a checkmark, not a y at the end (see the next entry with a checkmark above consumption).
    – Harry V.
    Commented Aug 1, 2020 at 14:48

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