Have you ever taken a close look at your direct line ancestors who had the longest lives and those who died youngest? Even though scientists today tell us that the life span of the average United States resident has improved significantly through the years, it is important to remember that little word AVERAGE.
I decided to look at my direct paternal and maternal ancestors to determine the five who lived the most years and the five who died at the youngest ages plus their causes of death, if reported.
Top Five Longest Lived Ancestors
- Joseph Eveleth, (maternal line) whose baptism was recorded in Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts on 26 March 1643, with his age noted as one year and nine months, so born about June 1641. He died on 1 December 1745 at the reported age of 105. (He was actually “only” 104 years and about six months!) No cause of death was reported, but I imagine “old age” would be a good guess!
- Sarah Moriah Crouse Coleman (maternal line) who was born 7 May 1833 and died on 18 October 1930, aged 97 years, 5 months and 11 days. Cause of death was chronic myocarditis and arteriosclerosis.
- Hazel Ethel Coleman (maternal line) was born 7 February 1901 and died on 21 April 1995 at the age of 94 years, 2 months and 14 days. Cause of death was congestive heart failure.
- Anna Murcko Scerbak (paternal line) was born 23 May 1872 and died 28 June 1967, aged 95 years, 1 month and 5 days. Cause of death was arteriosclerosis.
- Julia Scerbak Sabo (paternal line) was born 17 August 1893 and died on 28 May 1985, aged 91 years, 9 months and 11 days. Cause of death was congestive heart failure.
Hazel Adams and Julia Sabo, my grandmothers, both died peacefully in their sleep at night. I hope I got their genes! However, I have very few ancestors who lived into their 90s.
Now for the +5 who, unfortunately, passed away at young ages:
- Oliver Shepley (maternal line) was born 18 January 1734/35 and died on 11 August 1757, aged 22 years, 6 months and 24 days.
- Mary Lakin Shepley (maternal line) was born 26 April 1734 and died on 6 August 1757, aged 23 years, 3 months and 11 days.
This couple lived in Pepperell, Massachusetts, which had been hit by a general pestilence two summers in a row. Oliver and Mary, married and the parents of one child, my 5X great grandmother Sibil Shepley Scripture, died within a few days of each other.
3. Daniel Astle (maternal line) born c1783 (no earlier as he was the son of a Loyalist who was in Quebec in 1784. Daniel was reported born in Quebec by his daughter.) and died before November 1817, when the probate of his estate was published in the newspaper. Thus, Daniel was no more than 34 years old. Cause of death is unknown.
4. George Kucharik (aka Sabo) (paternal line) was born 24 May 1893 and died on 27 November 1936, aged 43 years, 6 months and 3 days. Cause of death was tuberculosis.
5. Jonathan Shepley (maternal line) was born 1 September 1700 and died 4 November 1744, aged 44 years, 2 months and 3 days. Cause of death not known.
I also have a couple of other ancestors who died at age 45, one in an attack by Indians in 1694 and one who died of a strep infection in 1922 – just before the discovery of penicillin.
For the most part, though, I have just the handful of ancestors who lived into their 90s – and only Joseph Eveleth who passed the century milestone and I have an equally small number of ancestors who died before the age of 50.
I guess that means my ancestral lifespans were pretty much average, just like a bell curve!