Thursday, 8 November 2018

The Oldest

This week I'm diverging a little from the usual pattern of telling just one individual ancestor's story in a post.  After looking at the prompt for Week 31 of the '52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge', I decided to do something a little different.

The prompt is 'Oldest'.  As I was checking off the list of ancestors on the Great Great Grandparents page tab of this blog the other day, something jumped out at me.  Of the sixteen maternal and paternal great great grandparents in my family tree, (all born in the early 1800s) three-quarters of them made into their 60s, 70s and 80s.  That struck me as a rather remarkable feat and perhaps a little out-of-the-ordinary for that generation!

I thought I'd look into just what was the average life expectancy of men and women living in the period between 1800 and 1910.  In Ireland it appeared that for both men and women the average life expectancy was around 50.

As the majority of those great great grandparents migrated to Australia however, I then looked into the average life expectancy in the 'colonies' during the same period.  Research indicated that the life expectancy for men in Australia was around 50 years of age.  The life expectancy for women in Australia during the same period was however around 55 years of age.

5 of my great great grandparents lived into their 80s.
2 lived into their 70s.
Another 5 lived into their 60s.
2 others made it to their 50s, and sadly 2 more only made it to their 40s.

Those that survived into their 80s included:

John O'Donnell / Daniel  82 

Michael Farrell  81

Eleanor Hickey  80

Mary Ann Farley  80

Sarah McCann  80   (information from descendants indicate Sarah lived into her 80s, and whilst I have found a census record from 1901 for Sarah, aged 80, I have yet to find a record of her death)

How amazing is that!!!  All had the distinction of being born in Ireland.  Two of them, John O'Donnell (Daniel) and Sarah Muckian (nee McCann) lived out their long lives in Ireland, whilst the remaining three migrated to Australia in the 1800s.

The great great grandparents who survived into their 70s included:

Eliza Exton  77

Susan Downey  77

Those that survived into their 60s included:

Adolphus Hukins  69

James Burke  67 

Patrick Muckian  67

Caroline Penelope Browning  64

William Connor / Connors  62

Then there was a group that only survived to their 50s or 40s:

Catherine Crotty  59

Catherine Joy  54

Henry Johnson Brown  48

Patrick Cusack  47

I'm joining Amy Johnson Crow's 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks project / challenge.

The prompt for Week 31 is 'Oldest'.

You can join by blogging or posting on social media with the tag #52ancestors.

Check out this FB page:  Amy Johnson Crow


  1. It is interesting to compare ages with average life span and your family seem to be on the longevity end. Fancy the one in Ireland living to be the oldest, in their conditions.
    A good different blog

    1. Thanks Flissie. I thought it was fascinating that that particular generation in my family tree had mostly quite long life spans.

  2. I have included your blog in INTERESTING BLOGS in FRIDAY FOSSICKING at

    Thank you, Chris


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