Plotting the Direct Longevity of Your Ancestors

The following is a great idea to add your your family history, the longevity of your ancestors. Basically, an analysis to get a feel for the overall pattern of lifespan in a family going back two or three or more generations.

Begin with your parents, if still living, then start with your four grandparents. You have to know when they were born and the death date to figure their age. You can create a simple bar graph with a name for each grandparent and mark the bar out the number of years they lived.

Once you have 2 to 3 generations laid out, you can see patterns. In this case the grandparents, 2 generations back, you see a pattern of them living into their 50s only, where the 3rd generation- great grandparents lived into their late 70s and into their 80s and beyond for the most part. 

Example: the generation and age at death


father – 72

mother -79


grandmother – 51

grandfather – 59

grandmother – 49

grandfather – 54

Great Grandparents

great grandmother – 79

great grandfather – 51

great grandmother – 94

great grandfather – 72

great grandmother – 81

great grandfather – 83

great grandmother – 70

great grandfather – 78

Do a bit of research to figure the general years of birth for those with low longevity and see what the average life span for that generation. For those born from 1890 to 1900 the average life span was 46 for males and 48 for females. Trying to figure for those born earlier can be harder to locate.

Just an interesting aspect to add to your family history, the longevity of your ancestors by generations.

Photos: Margaret Ann Harvey Neve born 1792 and died 1903 – age 110; Jeanne Louise Calment born 1875 and died 1997 – age 122; and John Shell born 1822 died 1922- age 100 (claimed he was older).

Related FamilyTree Blogs:

Figuring birth years

Genetics a factor for mother of a first born

An Ancestor’s Cause of Death

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