52 Ancestors Week 31 - Oldest

+12 votes

AJC - How are you going to interpret "oldest"? The oldest child in one of your ancestral families? The oldest photo you have? The oldest document you've ever found? The oldest ancestor you ever met? (For me that would be my great-grandmother Clara (Mason) Young.)

in The Tree House by Robynne Lozier G2G Astronaut (1.1m points)
This appears to be a repeat topic... I still maintain: "Who has outlived Methusala?"

17 Answers

+13 votes
I'm going to have to repeat myself here.

The oldest document - for which I have a copy of - is an 1824 Removal Order from England which was enacted under the Poor Laws Act. This document forced my ancestor John Burrow and his wife and 5 young children to leave their home in Somerset, England and move to the county of Devon to live - permanently.

You can see and read the Removal Order on John's Profile.


John's profile


The Oldest Document - dated 1824
by Robynne Lozier G2G Astronaut (1.1m points)
+14 votes

Not exactly an ancestor, but the oldest relative I met was my great aunt Linda who made it to 102. She was married to my paternal grandmother's brother. She was also a "cousin" of the family so great aunt by marriage but also a "cousin" by blood. She knew all the family secrets but wouldn't talk about genealogy with anyone.

by Doug McCallum G2G6 Pilot (462k points)
+11 votes
For some reason I thought these were posted on Mondays. I was refreshing g2g waiting for the newest 52 Ancestors post. You got me hooked, Robynne!!!

Let's see.....

I am the second oldest grandchild of https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Hamel-730 and https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Felker-440

My mother is the oldest of six.

The oldest documents I ever found were banns from the 1800s in Gesualdo.

The oldest photo I have is one a cousin showed me of my great-great-grandmother, Georgianna, circa 1891 wearing a corset. It's funny because up until that point we only had a pic of her taking in the 1950s and that was when she was a lot older, obviously. She was 15 when that picture was taken in 1891. It had her and her future husband, Joseph, rocking that late 19th century look. They got married in 1895.

The oldest ancestor I ever met were my great-aunt Nicole on my dad's side and my grandma Olympia's older sisters, I believe. I'd have to get back to you on that one.Olympia was the youngest. I met her sisters.

My mom has met her great-grandparents, Joseph Laplante and Georgianna Ross. My grandfather most likely took the pics that are on the profiles now.

I think that's about it.
by Chris Ferraiolo G2G6 Pilot (590k points)
These are usually posted on Mondays Chris, but if Amy doesnt send them on Mondays then I have to wait until she does send them.

Was yesterday a holiday in the USA? I wouldn't know.

Maybe she was just busy!!
Nope. Monday was not a holiday. Unless getting roasted by the day globe counts as one. =)
+13 votes

I can't remember if each week has to relate to a unique profile or not, so I'll have to come up with a few different ones

The oldest document that I actually have in my possession is the original parchment discharge document of William Frederick Phillpott from 1898, but I have already done that one in week -8 "Heirloom"

The oldest photographs I have in my possession are not actually related to me, but are a collection of family photographs in an album given to Mary Elizabeth (Lily) Monington from her sister and brother Nellie and Harold on her birthday on the 26th July 1880 - I rescued it from ebay with the intention of passing it on to family but am now about to create Wikitree profiles for the family - so don't think this it will technically count!

The oldest photo I have of my own family is that of Florence Mary May Phillpott taken in the early 1900s

by Michelle Wilkes G2G6 Pilot (145k points)
edited by Michelle Wilkes
The idea is to TRY and have a different ancestor each week, but it's not always possible.
+12 votes
The oldest ancestor I've met would be my great-grandmother who was born in 1886. The oldest family photo I have a copy of is a photograph of my 4th great-grandmother from circa the 1860's or so (who is also a persistent brick wall), taken in the studio of Mathew Brady (my 4th great-uncle by marriage): https://www.wikitree.com/photo.php/c/c9/Unknown-243175.jpg . Oldest documents would be wills and inquisitions post mortem from the 1500's and early 1600's - transcribing 17th century handwriting is something of an adventure; here's an example, the will of Edmund Smith, 1617: https://www.wikitree.com/photo.php/9/94/Smith-68478-2.jpg
by C Handy G2G6 Pilot (189k points)
+12 votes
The oldest piece of memorabilia that I own of an ancestor was my great-great-grandfather's watch-he worked on the railroad in Ohio and all the workers were given a gold watch at the end of the 19th-beginning of the 20th century.  It doesn't work anymore, but it's a real treasure for the family.
by K. Anonymous G2G6 Pilot (137k points)
+11 votes
Oldest item of memorabilia: my g-g-grandfather’s (William A. Lawing) Bible published in 1820 with a list of children and a few grandchildren who died young.

Relative I personally met who’s birthdate goes back the farthest: g-aunt Bettie Rose Underwood Johnson, b. 1882.

Oldest I ever felt? Yesterday, when I got through mowing my back two acres after waiting two weeks for the rain to quit and also the mower repair man to arrive. Usually takes about 1 1/2 hours. Took 3 1/4 hours yesterday. Deaf and shaken to pieces!
by Pip Sheppard G2G Astronaut (2.5m points)
+11 votes

I'm going to interpret this as 'oldest child'. Aside from my father and myself, who were the eldest of our siblings, the next ancestor who was the oldest is my great-grandmother, Rachel (Winebrenner) Stoner, whom I have not yet used in this challenge.

Rachel was the daughter of Rev. Peter Winebrenner, a circuit riding preacher for the Christian Church in Noble county, Indiana. She was the firstborn of his children, born to his first wife, Mary Kitt. Mary died a few months after the birth of her third child, who only lived a few weeks. Rachel was a few months short of 5 years old when her mother died. She had a sister, Barbara, who was 3.

It was 4 years before her father remarried, and I can imagine that she had to take on a lot of household chores, and help care for her sister. Rachel and her sister remained very close. Whether her father took her and her sister along when he was out conducting services in other towns, or whether he hired a sitter, I don't know. I have copies of some of her father's diaries, but none from that far back.

After her father remarried, he had three more children, but Rachel clearly did not share the same bond with them that she did with Barbara. As she was nine when her father remarried, I imagine that she was charged with helping her stepmother take care of her step-siblings.

I believe it likely that Rachel's stepmother, Sarah (Weade) Winebrenner, practiced 'family planning', as she had only 3 well-spaced children. Rachel also had only 3 well-spaced children (and 2 more who died in infancy). Rachel's sister and half-siblings also had reasonable numbers of children. When I was in my twenties, my mother told me that before they invented "birth control" that her mother told her about douching with vinegar water "afterwards" to prevent pregnancy.

After marriage, Rachel and her husband moved away, to Kansas. Rachel came to visit at least once, after her first two children were old enough to leave, and spent much time visiting her sister. After Barbara's husband died, and Rachel and her husband were living in California, Barbara moved out to California, near where they lived. After Rachel died, her widowed husband roomed in Barbara's house, according to census records.


Above a a 4-generational photo of "Oldests", clockwise from left: Peter Winebrenner, his firstborn Rachel (Winebrenner) Stoner, her firstborn Ella (Stoner) Secrist, and her firstborn, Mae. Photo taken around 1900, probably in Kansas.

Below is a photo of Rachel, and her husband, soon after they were married. Probably around 1867, in Indiana.


by Alison Gardner G2G6 Mach 6 (70.0k points)
edited by Alison Gardner
+7 votes
I will do this this might be difficult one to do.
by Living Barnett G2G6 Pilot (470k points)
+8 votes

The oldest ancestor I have met is GrandDad Scranton, who was born in 1874. He did hitchhike from Florida to Central New York in the early 1960s, appearing at our door unannounced. Although undoubtedly not the oldest in my tree, his second wife Ottilia had her youngest surviving child at age 45; Mom said she lost a couple after they moved to New York around 1921.

My great grandfather Giles Burk was the oldest of 12 children. My husband's great grandfather Osson Perry Knight went off to fight in the Civil War at age 41 and married for the first time at age 51 to 18 year old Emma Jeter.

The oldest item I have are a few of the silver forks for my great grandmother Jane Whiting. Since they are engraved with her maiden name, they date from around 1850-1854.

Jane Whiting Forks - Engraving

 Jane  (Whiting) Sands

The oldest picture I have is the first from my aunt's album with an unknown couple and child. Based on family resemblance (eyes, cheeks, mouth, chin) this appears to be our great grandfather Robert Toepelt, his first wife Emma and possibly their daughter Ida. That would place the picture around 1855. The watch that the woman is wearing is different from the one I have that is also in a picture of my grandmother.

Robert A Toepelt

by Kay Knight G2G6 Pilot (487k points)
+8 votes

I was a little disappointed to learn that a letter that was supposed to have been written in the 1600's actually wasn't. The author was one of his descendants who wrote about him in the 1800s. People have been circulating this letter a lot, thinking that it was written by Major Simon Willard (https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Willard-10) . What didn't sit right with me was, in the letter, he wrote about his son's opposition to the Salem Witch Trials, which happened 20 years after he died!  After a lot of  (interesting) reading, I figured it out. Here's my blog post for the "Oldest" prompt - http://www.libbyonthelabel.ca/2018/08/52-ancestors-week-31-oldest.html#.W2TPlUJnsxQ.link

by Libby Park G2G6 Mach 1 (17.3k points)
+7 votes

Pheobe Emeline Yerkes was the oldest of Charles R and Margaret (Young) Yerkes nine children born between 1847 and 1870.  She never married and lived to be 82 years old being the second oldest age of her siblings.  Her sister Laura (Yerkes) Perry lived to be 84. 

Her grandfather Jonathan Yerkes had come with his children, including Emeline's father Charles, to what became Gaines Township, Genesee, Michigan from Romulus, New York in 1837 just a few months after Michigan became a state.  This made the family among the oldest settlers of that township.  

Emeline spent her childhood in Gaines Township and then her parents moved to Vernon Township, Shiawassee County just outside the village of Vernon around 1865.  It was actually a move of only a few miles and her parents had been members of the Vernon Baptist Church since 1845.  Her father was a long-time deacon in that church (probably the oldest) when he died in 1901 at age 82 which also was the oldest age of his siblings. Emeline herself was a member of the Vernon Baptist Church for over sixty years according to her obituary and certainly among the oldest if not the oldest member.  She was also listed as a member of the social group the “Old Girls” club of Vernon.  The Vernon Centennial book describes it in 1920 as persons representing the old families of sixty years ago (1860).

The 1870 Census is the only time Emeline has an occupation listed and it is teaching school.  How long she taught and where isn't known. 

Emeline continued to live with her parents and then her widowed mother at least through 1910.  Her mother died in 1913 at age 85 of “advanced senility” and Emeline would likely have been the one taking care of her. 

In 1920 she is living with her youngest brother Will and his wife, I believe they were living on the Yerkes family farm so Emeline stayed put on the old homestead where she had lived for so many years.  Her oldest brother, Cyrus then age 75, who was visiting died at the farm in the fall of 1924 when he was helping Will and fell from a load of hay to the barn floor injuring his spine and head.  Ironically, in 1910 Will's almost 4-year-old daughter had also died as a result of a fall in her case from the haymow.  Then Emeline fell at home in 1927 and injured her spine and eventually became paralyzed as a result according to her death certificate and obituary spending two years confined to bed until her death 14 February 1930. 

by Jill Perry G2G6 Mach 4 (42.0k points)

Oops!  Just realized I had already used Emeline as the "Maiden Aunt" back in Week 14.  How about making Cyrus Yerkes the focus person for the 52 Week challenge since he was the next oldest?  He certainly acted like the big brother in that he was witness to his sisters Alice and Mary's marriages.

Cyrus Yerkes is fine, Jill.
+7 votes


I am behind, but I am trying to catch up. 

For 52 Ancestors Week 31- Oldest, I went with one of the oldest possessions that I have.  That is a leather pouch from Andrew Ellis.

There were 21 documents inside this pouch when it came into my hands.

Andrew Ellis was born in July 31, 1838 in Ohio, and he died February 1, 1918 in my hometown, Momence, Illinois.  He is the father-in-law of a first cousin 2x removed of my husband.  I wrote about his father-in-law, Charles Hess, for week 34.

What was so remarkable about this pouch was the contents. I wish I could have downloaded copies of all of the items that were inside, but I just didn't know if I could download that many on his profile.

They included a picture of his wife. A letter dated 11/12/1894, a ledger, life insurance bill, receipts dated 3/2/1887, 3/3/1895, 6/6/1876, 8/10/1878, 5/12/1884, 12/15/1871, 10/20/1877, 2/25/1880, 2/26/1880, 4/30/1909 and 10/1/1884. Some of the receipts are deceiving because they look like checks. They are for a multitude of things, including insurance payments, tax bills, doctor bills, etc.

There was a note with a name, birth and death date and other miscellaneous information.  An envelope that was addressed to Andres.

A two page letter from his dad - it is cute, because his dad signed it - I am your father, Elias Ellis.

An IOU dated 4/15/1886. A livestock receipt dated 7/28/1869, a picture of a bunch of men in downtown Momence, Illinois, and a picture of his daughter Florence.

All of these documents are in great shape. You would think they came out of a time capsule. Even the pictures are in exceptional condition.

This is one of the items that I treasure most. I am so glad that it is dated and has his name on it.

Thanks for reading my story. 

by Cheryl Hess G2G Astronaut (1.7m points)
+7 votes

My oldest is the history of the oldest glass and crystal company in France and my family who were instrumental in the development of the industry.



https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Walter-3215  Peter Walter 8th great grandfather

his son Adam https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Walter-3149 7th great grandfather

his sons:  https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Walter-3021 Etienne  my 6th great grandfather

https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Walter-3418 Jean Nicholas 6th great uncle

https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Walter-3444 Jean Martin my 6th great grandfather

https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Burgun-8 my 7th great grandfather

by Laura Bozzay G2G6 Pilot (713k points)
+6 votes

Samuel Gill, my 5x-great-grandfather boasts a lot of "oldest" things for me - and he's a poster child for the rewards of collaborating in WikiTree! I found a copy of his marriage bond in his pension file; a cousin sent me a picture of a portrait of him that has been handed down in her family; and another cousin was thrilled to find his Land Grant - and I was thrilled she shared it! There are some older documents (and portraits) in my tree - thanks again because of the work of so many cousins collaborating in WikiTree - but the finds for Samuel are the oldest ones that I had a hand in posting.

by Liz Shifflett G2G6 Pilot (539k points)
+3 votes
Oops! Forgot this one.

Two second cousins 2x removed lived to be 99 - Winnie O Adams and Hopie Atkinson. Hopie lived in Georgia and was born in 1897 and died in 1996.  Winnie lived in Alabama, born 1889 and died 1988.
by Carolyn Martin G2G6 Pilot (236k points)
edited by Carolyn Martin
+2 votes

500px-Archer-3811.jpgMine is my uncle Charles Sapp mother's homestead in Jonesborough but I put on Mattie Emma Lou Archer profile and her profile is https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Archer-3811. It was taken in 1890. 

by Living Barnett G2G6 Pilot (470k points)

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