The life expectancies of our ancestors

My grandmother never told her age. Ever. When I was a kid, she made it into a game but would never give me enough hints to guess. She said she’d be dead by the time I was 21, but that she would leave a note for me which I could open on my 21st birthday letting me know how old she was.  (She didn’t need to – I was nearly 40 by the time she died!)  Obviously, my grandmother clearly thought she would die young, and as her own mother was only 61 when she passed away from a heart attack.  I can understand – my own mother was only 63 when she died, and now that I’ve reached the half-century mark myself, my own mortality is even more real.   So….I decided to do a simple pedigree chart showing  my ancestors’ ages at death:

death genogram

Of course, while I’m pleased to see those who enjoyed extended golden years, like most families, I also have my fair share of ancestors who went to the pearly gates in their 50s and 60s.  Analyzing this a bit further, the life expectancy of my grand parents, great grandparents and great-great grandparents looks like this:

excel of ancestors deaths

The ages of my ancestors at death, sorted by generation and by year of death.

The average life expectancy of my ancestors by generation is as follows:

  • Grandparents – 75.25
  • Great grandparents – 70.12
  • Great great grandparents – 68.25

As expected, most of my ancestors enjoyed longer lives as medicine progressed near the end of the 20th century.  So how does that compare to the average life expectancies for their generations?

Given the wide range of ages by generation, some of my ancestors fared much better than others.  Some died while they still had young children in the house, while others lived well past the ages of their contemporaries.

While statistics are fun, and a family’s medical history is interesting to study, one thing is certain – knowing we each have an “expiration date,” it’s important to spend our days being thankful for the time we do have here on earth with our present day families, and appreciating the sacrifices made by the ancestors who went before us.


MacBridge for RootsMagic – two thumbs up

rm

I’ve been a longstanding RootsMagic user.  Even after making the move to a Mac a year ago, I continued to use RootsMagic, a Windows-based program, by running it with Codeweaver’s CrossOver application.  It worked pretty well for the most part – except for one extremely annoying issue.  Despite setting up my default folders for my media files, RM didn’t remember the locations.  Consequently, each time I went to link to a picture or a document, I had to navigate to the correct folder on my hard drive.  It was a MAJOR inconvenience.  Aside from that, I really didn’t have any complaints.  So, when RootsMagic released the MacBridge program earlier this week, I wasn’t sure if it would be worth trying it out.  But I’m sure glad I did!  My folders are now retained in RootsMagic’s memory, and the program is operating as it should.

You can learn more about RootsMagic’s new release, MacBridge, here.

 


My grandmother’s parents, Ernest Simpson and Susan Stanwood

Ernest L. "Bob" Simpson

Ernest L. “Bob” Simpson

Susan (Stanwood) Clark and daughter Beatrice, about 1906

Susan (Stanwood) Clark and daughter Beatrice Clark, about 1906

In 1917, on a rainy night in Lakefield, Minnesota, my great grandfather, Ernest “Bob” Simpson, penned the poem below:

Continue reading


Charles M. and Julia C. (Veland) Uphouse

My great grandparents, Charles Madison Uphouse and Julia Christine Veland, have always been somewhat of a mystery. So few stories have been passed down about them, and so little is known of their lives. Here are some photos and documents recently sent to me by my wonderful aunt.

Charles M. Uphouse, in uniform

Charlie was born 4 March 1889 in Davenport, Thayer County, Nebraska.  The couple had one child, Charles W. Uphouse, who was killed in an automobile accident on his way to California in 1949.   Sometime after his marriage to Mary Belle, Charlie enlisted in  Company H, 5th Nebraska Infantry:

Charlie's military service in co. H, 5th Nebraska Infantry.

Charlie’s military service in co. H, 5th Nebraska Infantry.

Additional statement of service below:

Charles M. Uphouse Statement of Military Service

Charles M. Uphouse Statement of Military Service

 

Charlie Uphouse

Charlie Uphouse

About 1918 or 1919, probably in Minnesota, Charlie married Julia C. Veland.

Julia (Veland) Uphouse

Julia (Veland) Uphouse

Below is Julia’s wedding ring, which my mother gave to me.  I had it resized and wear often:

Julia's wedding ring

Julia’s wedding ring

The details of Julia and Charlie’s marriage were lost with those who have passed; however, we do know that while they separated, they never legally divorced.  According to Goldie (Simpson) Uphouse, wife of Julia and Charlie’s son, Harold, Charlie was a sweet, kind man of whom she was quite fond.

Charles M. Uphouse, funeral card

Charles M. Uphouse, funeral card

 


Finding family treasures – better than the lotto!

I received a box of pictures of and documents from my aunt on Thursday. It was like winning the lotto, but 1000% better.   My grandmother had given to me all of her family pictures and documents before she died, so I didn’t think there was much else left to find. WRONG! My aunt sent me photos of my grandfather, Harold T. Uphouse, as a child that I’d never seen. There were photos of my grandmother, Goldie (Simpson) Uphouse Edwards as a toddler. Pictures of Harold’s mother, Julia (Veland) Uphouse as a child and young woman. And pictures of Julia’s parents, grandparents, and one of her great grandparent. There were letters written in Norwegian that I need to have translated. I am beyond thrilled.

Julia (Veland) Uphouse

My great grandmother, Julia (Veland) Uphouse.

Elizabeth "Lizbett" (Gravdahl) Veland

My great-great grandmother, Elizabeth “Lizbett” (Gravdahl) Veland

John Veland

My great-great grandfather, John Veland

John and Elizabeth (Gravdahl) Veland

John and Elizabeth (Gravdahl) Veland

Haldor Gravdahl

My third great grandfather, Haldor Gravdahl

Gunhild (Laude) Gravdahl

My third great grandmother, Gunhild (Laude) Gravdahl

Front: Haldor, Gunhild, Elizabeth and Anna.  Back: Gabriel, Margret, Lars, Ole, Martha, Cecilia, and Harry.

Front: Haldor, Gunhild, Elizabeth and Anna.
Back: Gabriel, Margret, Lars, Ole, Martha, Cecilia, and Harry.

Johanna Elizabeth (______) Gravdahl

My fourth great grandmother, Johanna Elizabeth (Haldorsdatter) Gravdahl


The hunt for Days, and the importance of original records

I’m a homebody who prefers the company of my dogs and computer to travel. However, there is one thing that is sure to motivate me to hop on a plane, and that’s GENEALOGY! A week ago Thursday I flew to Maine to do some research on my Day family, and then met up with my husband in Boston the following Saturday. I had two goals for this trip:

1)   Find any additional documents that may list relationships for Cynthia Day’s parents, siblings, aunts and uncles; and

2)   Find the original church records that were used as the source of information for Aaron Day’s baptism, which was listed in the Vital Records of Ipswich, Massachusetts to the end of the Year 1849.

While I did find some early deeds, maps and other cool stuff, I bombed on goal #1. (I think I’ve pretty much gleaned all relevant records pertinent to Cynthia Day’s family and it’s time to start my proof argument for her parentage.)

All was not lost, however. I struck pay dirt big time on goal #2! Buried for several hours in the Ipswich, Massachusetts Archives, I was able to view the microfilmed church records for the First Church and the South Church. While not an original, these transcribed, hand-copied records are nearer to the original than the published vital records, which I highly suspected to be in error.

Below is the entry for Aaron Day’s baptism in the published Ipswich Vital Records. As you can see, it states he was the son of John and Eunice Day.

 

Aaron Day's baptism in the published Vital Records of Ipswich, Massachusetts

Aaron Day’s baptism in the published Vital Records of Ipswich, Massachusetts

This seemed highly unlikely. John Day and Eunice Burnum published marriage intentions on 5 May, 1722, more than 60 years before Aaron’s birth. The only John Day with a wife of childbearing age in Ipswich in 1793 when Aaron was baptized was married to his cousin, Sarah (Day) Day. Numerous other documents pointed to Sarah (Day) Day as Aaron’s mother, not Eunice. The transcribed, microfilmed church record is consistent with this – no mother was listed:

 

Microfilmed records from the South Church of Ipswich.

Microfilmed records from the South Church of Ipswich.

Where did the published Vital Records obtain the name of Eunice as Aaron’s mother? We will probably never know, but it seems likely that a tired transcriber simply added the mother’s name, having completed data entry for other children of the earlier couple. Unfortunately, as can be expected, multiple family trees published online and on paper erroneously list Aaron’s mother as the mysterious Eunice, wife of John Day. This exercise, however, underscores the importance of using original records, whenever possible.

After visiting the archives, my husband joined me in the hunt for Aaron’s maternal grandparents – Aaron Day and Sarah (Goodhue) Day. It was an overcast, rainy day, and the pictures turned out lovely. Cemeteries – some of my favorite places. Even more special when they contain an ancestor.  :-)

Headstone of Aaron Day who drowned in 1790.

Headstone of Aaron Day who drowned in 1790.

Highland Cemetery, the new section of the Old Burying Ground.

Highland Cemetery, the new section of the Old Burying Ground.

Old Burying Ground where Aaron Day and his wife Sarah (Goodhue) Day are buried

Old Burying Ground where Aaron Day and his wife Sarah (Goodhue) Day are buried


NGS – Day 1

Hot off the press and available today at NGS - the new Genealogy Standards, and Hairstyles 1840-1900.  I've been waiting for both!

Hot off the press and available today at NGS – the new Genealogy Standards, and Hairstyles 1840-1900. I’ve been waiting for both!

My husband and I arrived in Richmond yesterday.  While he was out perusing the old homestead of Thomas Jefferson today, I was like a kid in a candy store, indulging in one of the greatest genealogical conferences of all – NGS.  Wow!

This morning’s opening session began with a keynote address from Sandra Gioia Treadway of the Library of Virgina.  She described how libraries and archives must prepare to change with the times, and how the Library of Virginia plans to do just that.  If Treadway has her way, in a mere seven years’ time patrons will have a substantially different experience when visiting the library.  They will find themselves met by staff assisted by iPads and other technological devices, better able to help patrons find the materials they are searching for. It is an exciting era, that’s for sure.

The exhibit hall was quite packed with the usual vendors and service providers – FamilySearch, Ancestry, NEHGS, Find My Past, My Heritage and many more.  Lisa Louise Cooke,  Maurine Taylor (aka the Photo Detective) and Janet Hvorka with Family Chart Masters shared a booth and provided “out of the box” educational sessions.

Lectures I attended today included:

  • Problems and Pitfalls in a Reasonably Shallow Search, by Elissa Powell, CG, CGL
  • New Standards of Old: Guidelines for Effective Research and Family Histories, by Thomas Jones, CG, CGL, FASG, FUGA, FNGS
  • The Sociology of Cemeteries, by Helen Shaw, CG

Looking forward to another jam-packed day tomorrow, learning from the experts and the best in the field of genealogy!


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