Author Topic: People increasing their age as they approach 100!?  (Read 1377 times)

Offline cristeen

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Re: People increasing their age as they approach 100!?
« Reply #9 on: Monday 05 February 18 18:36 GMT (UK) »
My 3xG grandfather had a younger sister called Mary Gardner. She was baptised 19th September 1830. Census ages agree with a birth date close to her baptism ie
1841 11 years
1851 21 years
1861 31 years
1871 41 years
1881 51 years
1891 59 years
1901 67 years
1911 80 years
Then in 1927 a newspaper article celebrates her hundredth birthday, stating she was born 12th August 1827. She died a few years later on 16th August 1930, a newspaper article and burial record state her to be 103 years old.
I am convinced she gained those extra three years 'intentionally' :) Her older brother was baptised 20th April 1828, all her siblings were baptised about a month after birth.
Newson, Steavenson, Walker, Taylor, Dobson, Gardner, Clark, Wilson, Smith, Crossland, Goldfinch, Burnett, Hebdon, Peers, Strother, Askew, Bower, Beckwith, Patton, White, Turner, Nelson, Gilpin, Tomlinson, Thompson, Spedding, Wilkes, Carr, Butterfield, Ormandy, Wilkinson, Cocking, Glover, Pennington, Bowker, Kitching, Langhorn, Haworth, Kirkham.

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Offline melba_schmelba

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Re: People increasing their age as they approach 100!?
« Reply #10 on: Monday 05 February 18 18:56 GMT (UK) »
Wow, thanks for all the amazing replies :) :)! It seems a real mix of possible senility, and maybe hoping to reach that great milestone (much rarer back then than it is now), and adding a few years on ;D. Do we know when the letter from the Queen/King started? I have heard that is now going to stop as there are too many centenarians, perhaps they should change it to 110?!

My own example, I don't want to name in case I am unfairly besmirching him ::), but it is a similar story as mentioned in many posts here. He married at a fairly late age, and then was widowed about five years later, leaving him with two children, who I suspect were looked after by the wife's sisters. I think he moved to London to escape, and hid in as sombre place as you can imagine - in a road that runs through one of the newly built London grand cemeteries , where he was in 1841, aged 50 with two male servants, but I know 1841 ages aren't necessarily accurate. But 10 years later, he was still in the same place with one female servant, aged 60, correct birth place. But he then retired to the country, back to a village where his wife's family lived, but in 1861 he was now 77! That continues in 1871, aged 87, and in 1881, aged 97, but intriguely now says parish unknown, so had people tried to find his baptism, not been able to, and he now changed his story?! Or it could be senility? There is definitely a gap between his siblings when he says he was born of 5 years, which is otherwise unexplained, but his mother does seem to have died in 1790 so could she have died in childbirth and the father forgot or was too distraught to get him baptised?

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Offline goldie61

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Re: People increasing their age as they approach 100!?
« Reply #11 on: Monday 05 February 18 20:06 GMT (UK) »
I don't think it was always an intentional ploy to become 100 before you really were.
Remember before 1837 nobody had, or indeed needed, a 'birth certificate'. I think many people just were somewhat hazy about the actual number of the year they were born. It may have been 'the year of the great storm', or 'the year of the fiery comet'! and as the years went by, that year became a moveable feast. Their parents may have moved around a lot for work, and had many children, and remembering an exact date for them all, to tell them as they got older, became more and more difficult.
You were lucky if you could read and write, and even luckier if you had a family bible in which to record all the dates as they happened.
We are so used to filling in our birthdates now, I think we forget things were very different in the past.  :)
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Offline cristeen

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Re: People increasing their age as they approach 100!?
« Reply #12 on: Monday 05 February 18 20:21 GMT (UK) »
In the case of my Mary Gardner I don't think senility/ forgetfulness was the case. In the 1901 & 1911 census she was living with her daughter; she was apparently very active (for her age) and alert until about ten days before she died. I am fairly sure she, or her family, fancied being in the newspaper 😁
Newson, Steavenson, Walker, Taylor, Dobson, Gardner, Clark, Wilson, Smith, Crossland, Goldfinch, Burnett, Hebdon, Peers, Strother, Askew, Bower, Beckwith, Patton, White, Turner, Nelson, Gilpin, Tomlinson, Thompson, Spedding, Wilkes, Carr, Butterfield, Ormandy, Wilkinson, Cocking, Glover, Pennington, Bowker, Kitching, Langhorn, Haworth, Kirkham.

Offline iolaus

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Re: People increasing their age as they approach 100!?
« Reply #13 on: Monday 05 February 18 20:40 GMT (UK) »
My grandmother did it but I think it was due to her dementia - every time she slept she seemed to think it was a new day - so for her having had several naps she would have been getting on - to the point where the staff at nursing home she was in after breaking her neck rang my aunt to check her date of birth because she kept telling them she was 90 (I think she was 83 at the time - died when she was 85)

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Re: People increasing their age as they approach 100!?
« Reply #14 on: Monday 05 February 18 20:55 GMT (UK) »
My Great x3-Grandmother Jane Gabriel shows in the 1851 Census in Ruabon Denbighshire as born in Llangwm Meirionethshire in 1765.Her death in 1859 in the Rhosymedre Parish Registers shows her as 100 years old.

Regards
William Russell Jones.
Jones, Griffiths. Stephens, Parry, Gabriel, Conway, Hughes, Evans, Roberts, Lea, Hanmer. Peake, Edwards. Newnes, Davies. Thomas. "Blythin".
All North Wales.
Conway, Durber, Cartlidge, Lovatt, Bebington. Brindley, Sankey, Brunt. Dean. Clewes. Rhodes. Mountford,Walker,Bache, "Gibbons"Hood. Taylor
All Stoke-on-Trent.
Francis - Nantwich Cheshire.
Dennell - Cheshire/Staffordshire.
Talbot-Shropshire
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Offline mijath

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Re: People increasing their age as they approach 100!?
« Reply #15 on: Monday 05 February 18 22:45 GMT (UK) »
Further back in time (1600s and 1700s), I'm always sceptical of extreme old age noted in parish registers. I think in an age where most people were illiterate and innumerate, and when there were no  bureaucratic reasons to recall your date of birth, it would be much easier to lose track of age.

I imagine some elderly people estimated their age based on other dates - a monarch's death for example, or born a certain number of years after a sibling. Of course if family members were the ones estimating an elderly/deceased relative's age, that creates further opportunity for inaccuracy.

I want to find out whether my 102-year-old ancestor who died in 1820 was really 102.
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Offline melba_schmelba

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Re: People increasing their age as they approach 100!?
« Reply #16 on: Monday 05 February 18 23:25 GMT (UK) »
I don't think it was always an intentional ploy to become 100 before you really were.
Remember before 1837 nobody had, or indeed needed, a 'birth certificate'. I think many people just were somewhat hazy about the actual number of the year they were born. It may have been 'the year of the great storm', or 'the year of the fiery comet'! and as the years went by, that year became a moveable feast. Their parents may have moved around a lot for work, and had many children, and remembering an exact date for them all, to tell them as they got older, became more and more difficult.
You were lucky if you could read and write, and even luckier if you had a family bible in which to record all the dates as they happened.
We are so used to filling in our birthdates now, I think we forget things were very different in the past.  :)
Yes I think that's a good point. Most people were far too poor, stressed and probably ill to worry about birthdays! Probably when the census came in that might have been the first thing that actually encouraged people to learn when exactly they had been born, and where.

In my ancestor's case, I think it may have been true. What I didn't consider is that a lonely widower in his 40s and 50s may well for vanity's sake reduce his age by 5 or so years, even if it was just to impress the housekeeper! But then the pendulum switches later when great age might be seen as a quality worth having  :).

I actually went back to newspaper reports of his death and they do say his age was authenticated. He still had a brother who lived in the same town of his birth who was of some repute so it seems a bit of a stretch he would dare fibbing about it. It is just a bit of a mystery why his, and only his baptism is missing out of his siblings. It did occur to me someone may have cut it out of the register as proof, but I can't see any such damage on the registers on findmypast.

Offline Billyblue

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Re: People increasing their age as they approach 100!?
« Reply #17 on: Tuesday 06 February 18 11:28 GMT (UK) »
After my Dad turned 95, he started telling people he was "nearly 100"
And he made it there, dying aged 101 and 4 months. 
And, thankfully, with all his marbles  :P  :P :P

He wasn't very impressed with the scrappy little card signed by the Gov-General, on this 100th, saying 'Her Majesty the Queen asked me to wish you happy 100th Birthday' [something along those lines anyway].  It certainly wasn't signed by the Queen!  And the GG didn't identify who he was - only clue was that it had a Govt House crest on it  :(  :(

The letter from the Prime Minister was much more 'presentable'.
Dawn M
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