I have been researching a family with the same surname as one of my own lines but who turned out not to be connected. Despite this, I am hoping to discover what may have caused 5 of their 11 children to be described as 'idiot' or 'idiotic' in various US censuses. In all, the family had 11 children, 4 who died in infancy, one who died aged 9 of 'congestion of the brain, 5 who lived longer but were described as 'idiotic' and one who married and appeared to have no health problems. I couldn't help but wonder if there was some genetic issue at work that caused so many of the children to have problems. I have more information on the family here: http://lintywhite.com/tunewilliame.html
If there is anyone with some medical knowledge who may like to offer an opinion I would be very grateful.