Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Lifespans of my 2nd Great Grandparents

Randy Seaver, who writes the well known Genea-Musings blog, always comes up with something fun for us to do in his Saturday Night Genealogy Fun posts.  My problem is, I don’t always have the time to participate on a Saturday.  I really liked the theme for this past Saturday, so I’m going to write about it today.

Directly from Randy’s blog, here is our assignment:

1)  We each have 16 great-great grandparents.  How did their birth and death years vary?  How long were their lifespans? 

2)  For this week, please list your 16 great-great grandparents, their birth year, their death year, and their lifespan in years.  You can do it in plain text, in a table or spreadsheet, or in a graph of some sort.

Here is my list.

From my paternal side:

John C. Gould (1833-after 1911), at least 78 years
Sarah M. Hart (1835-1911), 75 years
Horace Henry Thorp (1836-1907), 71 years
Catherine Dorsey (about 1842-1898), about 56 years
William Lindsay (1830-1898), 68 years
Mary Wallace (abt 1832-1895), about 63 years
John Fitzcharles (abt 1833-1893), about 60 years
Elizabeth “Betty” McGovern (abt 1818-1866), about 48 years

From my maternal side.  Note:  I don’t have all eight of my maternal 2nd great grandparents identified yet.

James Gillen Hunter (1832-1884), 52 years
Susan Caroline Boggs (1842-1913), 70 years
Charles Milne (abt 1822-1877), about 55 years
Margaret Ritchie (1820-1902), 81 years
Joseph Gillespie (1837-1908), 71 years
Susan Burgess (1841-1933), 91 years

The average lifespan on my paternal side is 64.9 years.  The men averaged 69.2 years.   The women averaged 60.5 years.

The average lifespan on my maternal side is 70 years.  The men averaged 59.3 years. The women averaged 80.6 years.

It would seem that it’s better to be woman in my family, especially on my maternal side.  It is well known on my mother’s side of the family, that the women live long lives.

The 2nd great grandparent who lived the longest was Susan Burgess at 91 years.  Here’s a photo of Susan Burgess at about age 70.

BURGESS_SusanGillespie_headshot circa early 1900s.jpg

The 2nd great grandparent who died the youngest was Elizabeth “Betty” McGovern who lived in Scotland.  She was only 48 when she died.  I don’t have a photo of her.

I'm curious about my husband's side of the family now, so I'll have to check the lifespan for his 2nd great grandparents too.

Thanks for the idea Randy.

Here are some other Saturday Night Genealogy Fun posts that I’ve participated in:

SATURDAY DAY FUN! Golden Wedding Anniveraries

SATURDAY NIGHT FUN! What's Your Number? Counting Ancestors 

Happy hunting,
Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2010-2016   Diane Gould Hall


  1. This is so interesting. Do you know what they all died from, especially those who died relatively young? I need to go through and do this. (Keeping my fingers crossed you got the long genes!)

    1. Michelle - Thanks for the great questions. Once you asked I went into my tree and found all their death causes. Majority of them died of some sort of heart issue. Was that a common cause of death for doctor's to use back in the early days? I think maybe so. But, since heart disease still causes so many deaths in our current times, I suspect it was only worse back then.
      Thanks for your comment.

  2. A genealogist's favorite word: yet. Good luck with the unidentified couple of maternal 2nd great-grandparents. ~ Cathy

    1. Thanks Cathy. We are eternal optimists aren't we? Those brick walls have stood now for 13+ years. I hope I live long enough to solve them and do some research on the, as yet, unknown family lines.


I look forward to reading your comments. If you have any connection to the people mentioned in this blog, please let me know. I write about mine and my husband's ancestors and would welcome new information or meeting a new cousin or two. Thanks for visiting and come back soon.