Monday, July 14, 2008

Live Long And Prosper...

Well, I'm not sure about the prosper part, but based upon the longevity of my Ancestors, and barring any unforeseen accidents, I think I can expect to live a few more years ;-)

Of the 8626 relatives entered in my databases, 305 of them are Ancestors. I must admit that some of them haven't been "proven" sufficiently, yet. However, of those 305, a little more than half, 160, have birth and death dates (some don't have full dates, just years). Of those 160 Ancestors, the Average Lifespan is 71 years.

The following statistics for Age at Death are based on those 160 Ancestors for whom I have birth and death information.
  • Under 30 = 2 (1%)
  • 30-39 = 3 (2%)
  • 40-49 = 9 (5.5%)
  • 50-59 = 18 (11%)
  • 60-69 = 29 (18%)
  • 70-79 = 52 (32.5%)
  • 80-89 = 40 (25%)
  • 90-99 = 8 (5%)
As you can see, there are no centenarians amongst my Ancestors although several come close.
  • Great-Grandmother: Nancy Jane (Lavering) Shuder - - 99y 30d (03 Dec 1854 - 02 Jan 1954)
  • Grandfather: Rolland Victor Phend - - 97y 11m 30d (19 Jun 1893 - 18 Jun 1991)
  • 5th Great-Grandmother: Margaret (Ellis) Sisley - - 96y 2m (13 Dec 1773 - 13 Feb 1870)
The Amazing Alexanders
This line on my Dad's side of the family had a father and son who both lived into their 93rd year. I don't have a date of birth, or even a year, for my 4th Great-Grandfather William Alexander but I suspect he was in his late 20s or early 30s when he was killed on August 27, 1777 on the 2nd day of battle at "Landing Head of Elk" in Maryland. He was serving as a 1st Lieutenant of the 7th Battalion of the Maryland Regulars. I've often wondered whether William ever saw his youngest son or if he knew of his birth. I would like to think that he did since the battle in which he was killed was fought in Cecil County where his son William Washington Alexander was born on February 17, 1777.

While his father may have died young, William Washington Alexander was long-lived, dying at Marysville, Ohio on February 16, 1871 at the age of 93 years 11 months and 30 days. William Washington's first child, also named William (of course!), didn't live quite as long as his father but did spend 93 years 4 months and 18 days on this earth! William was born November 20, 1805 in Erie County, Pennsylvania and died April 7, 1899 in Kosciusko County, Indiana. William had 13 children by 3 wives, his last child was born in 1868 when William was 63 years old. So he gets the award for being the oldest ancestor who fathered a child. He also gets the award for being the ancestor who fathered the most children (three) after the age of 60!

When William was not quite 60 years old, his 10th child Amanda Mineva was born on September 25, 1860. Amanda was my great-grandmother. She passed away on June 2, 1950 at the age of 89 years 8 months and 8 days. Amanda's husband, Samuel Bray Wiseman, was 88 years 5 months and 24 days old when he passed away. Samuel's parents lived fairly long lives: his father was 79 when he died and his mother was 84. That longevity didn't get passed down to Sam and Amanda's children though. My grandfather Charles Wiseman died at age 56, his brother Smith died at 70, sister Goldie was 83 when she died, and little Ray was taken away by diphtheria when he was only 7 years old.
The Phenomenal Phends
And in Mom's lines there was also a father and son combination that lived into their 90s. Her father, Rolland Victor Phend died the day before his 98th birthday, and his father, Henry Phend, was 92 years 8 months and 3 days old when he passed away. His wife, Susie Yarian, was 84 when she died. Mom's mother, Hazlette Brubaker, was 82 when she died; her parents died when in their mid-70s.
Some Old Mothers
There is no easy way to find out how old a woman was when she gave birth to her last child other than looking at each person in the database. A quick look in the database for my mother's family turned up 10 Ancestors who gave birth after the age of 40. I was amazed, especially given the time period in which they lived. Although I didn't check my Dad's database, I'm pretty sure there are a couple women there that could be included as well. Following are a few words about several of these "over 40" child bearers.
Oldest when married. Susanna K├╝bli (1785-1856), 3rd Great-Grandmother, was 39 years old when she married Johannes B'hend (aka John Phend) in Switzerland. Five years later, at age 44, she gave birth to her only known child, Jacob Phend. She lived to be 71 years old.

Youngest when married. Sophia Hazlett (1794-1864), 4th Great-Grandmother, was 16 when she married James Dunfee. She would give birth to at least 10 children in the next 29 years, the last child was born when she was 45 years old.

A Sad Story. At age 24, Johanna Whitcomb (1674-1717) married Peter Joslin. They are my 8th Great-Grandparents. She would have 9 children but died from complications of childbirth at the age of 43. Peter would marry twice more but had no more children. He passed away in his 93rd year. Johanna was Peter's second wife. His first wife, Sarah Howe died July 18, 1692 along with their four children during an Indian attack on their farm in Lancaster, Massachusetts Bay Colony.

But, the Joslin men picked them well. Peter and Johanna's son John Joslin (1710-1789) married Lucy Wilder (1715- ?) when she was 17 years old. She would have 14 children in 24 years, giving birth to the last one at age 43. It is not known when Lucy died. John and Lucy's son Joseph Joslin (1743-1829) was married in 1763 to 22 year old Sarah Tarbell (1741-1810). She would give birth to 12 children in a 20 year period the last one being born when she was 45 years old. Sarah died in her 68th year. Joseph was 86 years old when he died.
Note: Written for the 52nd edition of the Carnival of Genealogy. I hope you've enjoyed this little journey through my family files.

1 comment:

Brian said...

Good post. I'm a sucker for statistics like that.