52 Ancestors Week 40: Oldest

+19 votes

Time for the next 52 Ancestors challenge...

52 Photos and 52 Ancestors sharing bacgesPlease share with us a profile of an ancestor or relative who matches this week's theme:


Share below.

You don't need to share every week to participate, but those who do will earn badges. If this is your first time participating and you don't have the participation badge, or if you pass a milestone (13 shared profiles in 13 weeks, 26 in 26, or 52 in 52) let us know here. For more about the challenge, click here.

in The Tree House by Eowyn Walker G2G Astronaut (2.2m points)
My grandmother was Sallie B. Daugherty born in Waco, Kentucky in 1875 and died in 1961 in Richmond, Kentucky. I have been able to tract the Daugherty family back to King Eochaidh Muigmhead O'Dochartaigh who was bornn in Meath, Ireland in 309 A.D and died in 365. His wife was Queen Carienu Mongfind and was born in Saxon, England in 340. I challenge anyone to find an older direct ancestor. Posted by John T. Cook

Beniangehean Criomthan born 75 65th great great aunt

41 Answers

+17 votes
Best answer
This came up once before on G2G, but I think I have the oldest Grandfather of Wikitree members.

He was born about 1842 and about 57 when my father was born. My father was 49 when I was born.

Can anyone beat 1842?
by Richard Devlin G2G6 Pilot (491k points)
selected by Summer Seely
I think you might win! At least a couple of my great-grandfather's children by his second marriage are still alive, but even if they joined Wikitree, they couldn't beat you. Their grandpa (my great-great-grandfather) was born in 1847, so your grandpa would still be older!

I do have unusually old grandparents for my generation. I'm one of the older Millennials, and most of my peers have grandparents born in the 1920s-40s. But I'm the youngest child of a youngest child, so three of my grandparents were born between 1902-1905, with the fourth being born in 1918.
That's pretty impressive. My grandmother's grandfather was born in 1843!  (Although, I'm about 20 years younger than you, so that accounts for about one generation right there). On my dad's side, my grandfather was born 1898, so even accounting for the 20 years difference, it's still no competition.
My father's (who is still living) grandfather was born in 1833. He was 63 when my father's father was born, and then he was 35 when my father was born in 1931.
I was close My Grandfather was born 1849 and my Father was 66 when I was born.

My ggggggg-grandfather David Edie born 1682 -  died about 1754 traced him back to Scotland How ever my grandfather Francis O Watson was born  1854, and my father was born 1885

+13 votes

I still remember my grandmother's Aunty Tina (married her father's younger brother). She was older than my grandmother by 8 years and she out lived by grandmother by another 7 years. 

Not bad when you take into account my grandmother lived for 93 years herself. 

Aunty Tina lived to 108. 


by Rosalie Neve G2G6 Pilot (168k points)
+12 votes
I find it interesting looking at the differences in ages of my great-grandparents. Most were born in the 1910s, a few in the 1920s, and then there's my great-grandfather Erich Artur Otto von Hippel who was by far my oldest great grandparent, born in 1901 (his wife, my great-grandmother, was born in 1920 - quite the age gap!)

The next oldest great-grandparent was on my paternal side - Elsie May Mimms, who was born in 1913 and ironically lived to be the oldest out of all of them, dying at 106 (Erich lived to be the second-oldest, dying in his 90s). Elsie May's first husband, Albert Sidney Dowding, was quite a bit younger (born in 1921) and also lived to be the youngest out of all of them, dying at only 69 years old (I believe his death to be sudden, and potentially linked to a family background of heart problems despite the fact he himself had no history).

On another note, many (but not all) of my ancestors were the first-born children (it has to be purely coincidental, but still a very interesting coincidence). Funnily enough, neither of my parents are the eldest (my dad is a middle child and my mum is the youngest child) but both my grandfathers were eldest children (neither of my grandmothers were though) and from there many (but not all) of my great-grandparents were eldest children (and from there the cycle of "many, but not all were the eldest" continues for each generation).

Edit: I just now realised a very strange pattern - nearly all (although there a few exceptions) of my male ancestors that I can think of were the eldest child, whilst perhaps all my female ancestors were middle or the youngest children (I can't think of a single female ancestor on my tree that was an eldest child... what an unusual coincidence).
by Living Dowding G2G6 Mach 3 (35.6k points)
edited by Living Dowding
+23 votes

This is a photo of my great great grandfather Seth Marvin I, who was considered the oldest voter in the United States in 1864.  He was 105 when he voted on 8 Nov 1864. It was in the middle of the Civil War, and he had ten grandsons in the Union Army. He deposited his vote for Lincoln and Johnson in Conneaut Township, Crawford Co., Pennsylvania on election day.  

by Alexis Nelson G2G6 Pilot (791k points)
Magnificent photo of your gg granddad Alexis 105 years and vote I am stunt thank you for sharing this wonderful photo
Thank you Susan for your sweet comment.
That would be my 3rd great grandfather!
Thank you Mitchell for your comment, and interest in family genealogy.
+16 votes

The oldest man I have found in my family research until now died at the age of 103 years in 1632. This is mentioned in the burial record of the parish Quickborn, Pinneberg, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany for his great-grandson in 1720.

In the last three rows is written:

"Der Älter-Vater, weyl. Hartig W. (Wagner) der im Horn auf Hans Freers Städte gewohnet, Anno 1632. Dieser Mann ist 103 Jahr alt geworden."

In english:

"The great-grandfather, the deceased Hartig W. (Wagner) who lived in Horn on Hans Freer's farm, died in 1632. This man turned 103 years old."

by Dieter Lewerenz G2G Astronaut (3.0m points)
+12 votes

 oldest ancestor that I am "connected" to is https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Ui_Eremoin-1

I cannot confirm that every connection is correct. or even if this person existed.

 However,  this is the oldest ancestor, that I am fairly confident about see https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Gayer-88

by anonymous G2G6 Mach 9 (94.8k points)
edited by anonymous
+12 votes

The oldest direct ancestor I have on my tree as this time of writing (Sept 2020) is John Hancock from Milverton, Somerset, England. He was born roughly around 1630 - which I think was the time of the English civil war...


by Robynne Lozier G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)
+18 votes

If we can accept collaterals, I think I have the oldest human as a distant uncle by marriage.  His name was Henry (or Hendrick) Francisco, born in France in 1686, and died in Whitehall NY in the early 1820s.  He is supposed to have been 136 or thereabouts when he died.   https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Francisco-46 

He was in the French and Indian War and the Revolution.  He entered service in the Revolution at age 91.  He applied and received a pension at age 134.   He was a legend in his lifetime, and there have been books written about him.  He was featured in Ripleys Believe it or Not.  And he has many descendants, some using the name Sisco.   

by Carolyn Adams G2G6 Mach 8 (87.6k points)
Certainly interesting if truth. There's definitely a lot of debate about that guy.
Some of his children also had great longevity.  There is a first person account taken by a doctor some years before his death that I have read, and that has credibility in my view.  Some numbers are off, but some of the historical facts are very interesting.  A soldier in England under Queen Anne, who died in 1714. Someone could write a dissertation on this.
+13 votes

On June 8, 1774, Pheba Cummings was born in Williamstown, Massachusetts Bay Colony, a remote outpost in the western wilderness, which had become a town only 9 years earlier.

On July 4, 1776, when Pheba was 2 years old, the Declaration of Independence was signed in Philadelphia, 271 miles away.

Sometime before 1803, Pheba married Benjamin Haley and moved to Pownal, Vermont, about 7 miles away. If she moved there before 1791, she would have also moved to another country, the Republic of Vermont.

In 1861, the Civil War began.  In 1865, her son Josiah Haley was wounded in the battle of Petersburg, Virginia, 534 miles away.

In 1870, her son James Haley was living in Susanville, California, 2830 miles away.

In 1874, her great-grandson Dece Vander Bogart (my grandfather) was born.   I like to imagine that her granddaughter Elizabeth brought him the 24 miles from Stephentown, New York for a visit.

On July 4, 1876, perhaps Pheba sat on  her porch to watch fireworks as the United States celebrated its Centennial.

On July 5, 1878 (one day after Independence Day) Pheba, aged 104 years and 27 days, died in Pownal, only 7 miles from where she had been born.  The United States, which had not even existed when she was born, now contained 38 states and extended to the Pacific Ocean.

by Joyce Vander Bogart G2G6 Pilot (194k points)
edited by Joyce Vander Bogart
+12 votes
The oldest person in the family that i have found died at 105, and my paternal grandmother died at age 97 two days before christmas in 1999.
by Jennifer Robins G2G6 Pilot (220k points)
+12 votes

Great question. This could be the earliest ancestor I've found or the one who lived longest. Since I suspicious of many genealogies linking to Charlemagne and Alexander the Great, I thought longevity to be the most appropriate answer here. So I did some searching of my genealogy database.

I found the following:

  • 23 ancestors who lived to age 90
  • 8 ancestors who lived to age 95
  • 4 ancestors who lived to be 100 or older

In the centenarian group, 3 had birth and death dates which have some reasonable source. All of them lived a long time ago, so accuracy of dates isn't 100%.

I concluded that my verifiably-oldest ancestor is:

Betty's dates are recorded on her tombstone and in a family Bible. Beyond that, her date of birth is hard to verify, but is consistent with early census records. Her husband was born about the same year, or a little before, but she outlived him by 50 years. He died in 1776 and Betty is listed as a Patriot by the NSSAR for her contributions during the Revolutionary War.

For all those reasons, I salute her as my ancestor who lived to be the oldest. Well done, Elizabeth.

by Bill Vincent G2G6 Pilot (166k points)
edited by Bill Vincent
A nice long life.
+8 votes

James McCourt is thought to have arrived in the U.S. as a stowaway, and his profile lacks a birth record. An 1850 census in Braxton County, Virginia records his age as 107. He died six (or eight years?) later.

James McCourt, Find A Grave

by C Ryder G2G6 Mach 8 (85.5k points)
+10 votes

Oldest. For this challenge, I looked at all of my great-great-grandparents on WikiTree. And the oldest (earliest born) of them was Robert G. Parker , born in 1834. He and his wife Martha Harrell Parker , born in 1837, were almost a generation older than most of my other 2x greats; of the 16, 7 were born in the 1860's, 2 in the 50's and 5 in the 40's. (And yes, I picked the 2x greats because they can all fit onto one tree for easy comparison! But also, because I am still missing a few of my 3x greats and have less solid information on them).

Their families came to Knox County, Indiana when it was still pretty much wilderness, and Robert and Martha had 8 or 9 children. My great-grandfather was their 2nd youngest child. Robert Parker was listed as a doctor on at least one census record; but he seems to have done a fair amount of farming, too. I'm working up the courage to edit his profile, which I'm not the manager of, but it's intimidating with a lot of Ancestry data and formatting I don't understand. I would like to find out if he served in the Civil War, which is not clear from the limited research I've done. Find a Grave has a great picture of him with impressive mustaches.

The tradeoff for being the earliest born: Robert Parker died in 1895, whereas all my other 2x greats lived to see the 20th century.

by Katherine Chapman G2G6 Mach 6 (61.3k points)
+11 votes

Incidentally if I am talking about the ancestor with the longest life that is not living, it is one I know very little about. I am referring to August Friederika Caroline (Post) Kroll. She was born around 1854 in Pomerania, Prussia and died 1 Aug 1943 (location unknown), making her 89 years old at death. Curiously, if we are talking about my longest lived ancestor period, it would be my living paternal grandmother, who is currently 92 and surviving this pandemic (knock on wood).

As Ancestor Statistics displays the average lifespan of my family to be 68, I know I should be living my relatively short life as best as possible.

by Steven Greenwood G2G6 Pilot (108k points)
edited by Steven Greenwood
68 isn't too bad assuming it accounts for earlier generations where average lifespan for everyone was generally shorter.

I can't seem to login to the WikiTree app, but I checked on Geneanet and mine comes out as 61 years old for males and 66 years old for females (63.5 average).

It does also depend on the branch, I suppose. One of my paternal great-grandmother's lived to 106, and while her branch has notoriously good longevity my dad's other branches are all notoriously bad for having poor longevity and young deaths. Longevity on my mum's side is a lot better, though, and I know I have more paternal ancestors than maternal ones recorded which could've swayed it.

Historically, child deaths were a lot more common (especially on my dad's side) which also probably swayed it.
+7 votes
My step great grandmother,Aloise (Havlova) Taborsy died at the age of 99,  I never met her in person as she lived in Czechoslovakia,but my grandfather sent and received letters from her, always written in Bohemian.
by David Hughey G2G Astronaut (1.6m points)
+8 votes

Helen Boag lived to be 102, she is one* of the oldest members of my family tree. Helen is my 6th Great Grand Aunt. She appears in many census', I wish her sister had records, I am not even sure where or when she died!

* I have another family member that is listed to be 110, but I don't have sources for her, so opted to do Helen

by Elizabeth W G2G6 Mach 2 (26.0k points)
+7 votes
My maternal grandfather was born in 1853. ( Fears-50) He remembered events about the Civil War in Georgia and related those to my mother which gave me clues when I began researching that family line. My mother was from his second marriage and I am the youngest grandchild.

I still have a living paternal aunt who was 102 in July and she has had Corona Virus and survived - she hardly had any symptoms. We are continually amazed!
by Virginia Fields G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)
+8 votes

The oldest ancestor for whom I can find documentation is Umpty G Grandfather Alexander Carswell.  He was purportedly born in Ireland (even though his surname is Scottish) about 1733 and married Isabella Brown of County Clare.  In November of 1772, Alexander and Isabella with their six children, the eldest not quite seventeen and the youngest only four, took passage on the ship Elizabeth in Belfast bound for the colonies. They arrived in Savannah, Georgia, in January of 1773. Alexander served in the American Revolution in the 3RD CO GA Battalion under Captain William McIntosh.

by Dorothy O'Hare G2G6 Mach 8 (85.5k points)
+8 votes

The family of Caroline and Wm. H. Ireland of Trenton, Ontario, was a pretty typical one for the 19th century: 8 children born over a span of 21 years. But, when the youngest is that much younger than the oldest, it can skew the age relationships in the succeeding generations in interesting ways.

Caroline and William's oldest child, Elizabeth, was born on Oct. 31 (Hallowe'en), 1868, got married on her 20th birthday (Hallowe'en, 1888), and had her first child, Violet, in 1890. But, when Violet was born, her Uncle Alfred (Elizabeth's youngest sibling) was just one year old! And the next youngest, Uncle Will, was not yet seven.

The generations got skewed even further when Will and his wife did not start their family until he was nearly forty. In consequence, their children were more than thirty years younger than their first cousin Violet.

by Richard Hill G2G6 Mach 8 (82.6k points)
+5 votes
Taking an in depth look at the oldest pic I have of my grandfather and how I got it: https://allroadhaverhill.blogspot.com/2020/09/52-ancestors-week-40-oldest.html
by Chris Ferraiolo G2G6 Pilot (711k points)

The story of how you got it is as interesting as the picture. When they posed for the picture, did they ever imagine that someone could take a picture of it with a phone!! and send it by e-mail? Though they must have thought, "this is an important occasion", put on their best clothes, and gone to a photographer? (I think it's a studio portrait, judging by the background.)

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