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seele01
04-07-10, 01:18
I was poking around the HisKi database for fun; searching every parish at once and putting in progressively older and older ages as the only search perimeter. I am really suprised in what I am finding. For example -

Buried: 18.6.1738
Name: Britha Pehrsdr. Pajari
Age: 128y 2m 1w 3d

Are these extreme ages possibly accurate? Or are they just estimations and guesswork of parish recorders and relatives of the people recorded?

Now the majority of the entries for people age 100+ are just a year of age not a specific year/month/day of birth. It is easy to assume someone just guessing that grandpa was 115 years old, and telling the parish recorder that. But there are a few people that DO have very specific ages at death, like the example cited above. Could it be that Britha Pehrsdotter remembered that she was born the 8 April 1610? ...Or did the parish scribe just guess she was 128 years old and for fun write down two months, one week, and 3 days old in addition to the 128 years?

The oldest person listed on HisKi (I think)?

Place: Keuruu
Died: 9.10.1841
Buried: 12.10.1841
Name: Isaac Ananias
Cause: drunkn. (drowning)
Age: 145 Years, 4 Months, 21 Days old

Could this record be a record-reading error, and Isaac was really just 45? If the record is real...then he is 19 years older than the oldest verified living human being, Jeanne Calment of France (who died at age 126 I think).

And just to be clear...I really dont think any of these ages could possibly be real...with medicine and hygiene back then...I just dont think even the hearty people of Finland could live past 110 or 120 (which is what the HisKi database seems to be suggesting!).

Later!

Rob

eeva.hakkinen
04-07-10, 10:12
yes, these ages are pure guesswork. There are a few things that should be kept in mind when you judge this info:
- often there was no factual info to base the estimate on and even when there was a birth record in the history books, the parish scribe (which often seems to have been the vicar himself) more often than not did not check it so that the age has still been given 10-20 years off
- even in early 1800s common people had no idea about their age, which is evidenced by many court records, so when the priest asked how old the deceased was, he might have been given the answer "real old" or "at least 100".
- the biological aging process worked the same as it does now, though the environmental factors kept the average age much lower.

So there may have been some lucky persons who lived to ripe old age, even by nowadays' standards, but fewer than now, because the odds were against it. Those months and days are often invented, as well, you can check that if both birth and burial records are in the archives. So you shold never ever give a person's birth year by subtracting the age from the death year. I have seen this done in a serious genealogical study without comments, when the old matron's age was given 86 years while her youngest son was 20 years old. It makes you suspicious about the overall quality of the research.

I tried to check if there was any comparision material in SFHS digital archive, but the server seems to be down.

eeva.hakkinen
04-07-10, 22:04
The oldest person listed on HisKi (I think)?

Place: Keuruu
Died: 9.10.1841
Buried: 12.10.1841
Name: Isaac Ananias
Cause: drunkn. (drowning)
Age: 145 Years, 4 Months, 21 Days old

Could this record be a record-reading error, and Isaac was really just 45? If the record is real...then he is 19 years older than the oldest verified living human being, Jeanne Calment of France (who died at age 126 I think).

Rob

The record mentioned is here:
http://www.sukuhistoria.fi/sshy/sivut/jasenille/paikat.php?bid=4774&pnum=24
and it very clearly says "Abram Ericson Lieltos s[on] Isaac Ananias" and gives 14 years etc. for his age, so the age in Hiski must be a typo.

The oldest verified age in my database is 93 or 94, if I remember correctly. There are almost 100 000 persons in the database, but of course many of them are missing either the christening or the burial record.