Friday, 19 January 2018

#52Ancestors - Week 3 - Longevity

Nancy Hazel Hutton
The prompt for week 3 is LONGEVITY. There are several ways that you can look at longevity in family history research. Longevity could be how long you have been researching a particular person or family. It could also be looking at how long ancestors have lived which is the angle I propose to take. Longevity in this case largely depends on the period in which ancestors lived as well as the conditions in which they lived.

Genes can be a contributing factor with members of some families living longer than others born at the same time.

Rosemary Lord with her aunt, Eleonora Hutton (mid 1940s)
One of my grandmothers, Nancy Hazel Hutton (1899-1997) and her sister, Eleonora Ruby Hutton (1892-1990) both lived to be 98.

In this case the longevity genes appear to have come from their father's line. Their father, George Hutton (1850-1936), was 86 when he died. Their grandfather, William Forbes Hutton (1816-1896) lived to be 80 while their great grandparents, Thomas Hutton (1772-1856) and Janet Robertson (1780-1862) lived to be 84 and 82 which would have been considered to be old age at that time in the UK. George Hutton came to Australia when 19 while William Forbes Hutton came to Australia after serving in the army in India.

Longevity can also be linked to a person's health and life style. With twelve convicts in the family I am interested in how the convict members of the family fared in their new environment. 

Mary Hyde

One of my convict ancestors, Mary Hyde (1779-1864) lived to be 85 which in the mid 19th century would be considered a good age. 

Below is a table of the longevity of my twelve convicts:

As can be seen two of the convicts died in their mid 50s, five died in their 60s, two in their 70s and three in their 80s.

I do not have details of the parents for all of the convicts but Simeon Lord's father, also Simeon Lord (1744-1787), died when he was 43 while his wife, Ann Fielden (1745-1786) died at 41.We would consider this young but it was around the average age of adult deaths in the UK at that time.  

However Kezia Brown's father, Aaron Brown (1749-1840) was an exception. He was 91 when he died while his wife, Mary Farley (1745-1804) died when she was 59. 

William Robert's parents, John Roberts (1717-1792) who died at 75 and Jane Lugg (1727-1804) who died at 66, also lived longer lives than would be expected at that time in England. 

Perhaps life was healthier in Worcestershire and Cornwall than in Yorkshire where Simeon's parents lived.

I suspect that when looking at the ages that my convicts died you could argue that they appear to have lived a healthier lifestyle and perhaps eventually had better food (though the first years in the colony would have been extremely difficult) than family who stayed behind in England. When time permits, I want to spend time investigating what happened to family members, including brothers and sisters, who remained in England and Scotland if information is available. It may then be possible to make a reliable comparison. 

A project for later this year.

1 comment:

  1. Well they do say Australia was built on the labor of convicts. I have one who's not directly connected, he's my gggrandmothers first husband, however my husbands great grandfather was a convict, here in WA, so that's a very close ancestor for a time that seems so long ago. Great work on all your research.