Most people are aware that hereditary impacts longevity. One question I get asked in a number of roundabout ways by family members is “Will I live a long life?”
Data – I have data!
Manipulating a Gedcom is a pain in the derriere, but Mac Family Tree does some simple reports so what can I see from that?
My family tree is quite broad. For each of my ancestors, I like to identify their siblings and their siblings’ partners and children in order to get as full a view as possible of their lives. My family goes back 10 generations and contains over 1100 people – small by some people’s I know. But quite a lot of work none the less! Most of the people in my tree date from post-1837, as that is when the Registration Act required everyone to register births, marriages and deaths, and this data is easily available online along with subsequent censuses.
Maybe this is a bit too raw. Not all of those people are related to me, never mind direct ancestors.
OK, so I’ll prune out all the spouses of cousins, and their parents, siblings, nephews and nieces that I have. That leaves me with how many people? Just over 900. And how good is the quality of the data I have? Not as good as I thought. One branch of the family, that I thought I had covered is no more than a series of name placeholders really. Drat.
Let me go and sort them out!
Oooh – what’s that I’ve found? A man that married his wife’s sister when his first wife died? No – leave it alone, you are getting distracted……
So, How are we doing for Longevity?
As an analysis it is crude but my conclusion is – not badly, but not brilliantly. The curve peaks at 70/75 for both men and women, and there is not a centenarian in sight! Women do quite well at getting into their 90’s though…..
You can see that sad spike at the beginning showing just how many children died under the age of 5 before the days of modern medicine. What doesn’t show in this view, is that longevity has steadily increased in my family over the C20.
OK then family, you’ll probably make your 3 score years and 10 but after that, your genetics aren’t much help.
Maybe this means I should squander my pension on travel and fine living, but in the meantime, I’m just off down to the gym……