Friday, June 23, 2017

Ancestors' Ages at Parenthood

Father's Day got me wondering how old my parents were when I was born.

The answer was 25.

Mid-twenties seemed to me like a pretty average age to become parents. But then I started wondering about each of my direct ancestors. How old were their parents when they were born?

When I crunched the numbers, I examined all of my direct ancestors back to my second great-grandparents. I'm able to do this because I know all 32 of my third great-grandparents, and can in turn calculate their ages when their child - my ancestor - was born.

Ancestors' parents' age when they were born. Paternal age is first.

Average Parent Age
An analysis of the data reveals that when my direct ancestors were born, the average age of the fathers was 31.26 years and the mothers was 26.71 years.

I was surprised that the average age of the fathers slipped beyond the mid-twenties into the thirties. Of course, for the record, this is an analysis of only their age at the time my direct ancestor was born and not the age at which they first became a father. That data would likely tell a different story.

Youngest Parent Age
The youngest father in my pedigree was 19 years old. That was my great-grandfather Robert O'Connor who became a dad in 1931.

The youngest mothers in my pedigree were 18 years old. The three-way tie included my grandmother Marilyn (Lumpkins) Upton, my second great-grandmother Maria (La Rocca) Ruoti, and my third great-grandmother Martha (Bowen) Upton (in that order when months are accounted for). I think 18 is young by today's standards, but I was surprised I didn't have any younger mothers in the more distant generations.

Oldest Parent Age
The oldest father in my pedigree was 52 years old. That was my great-grandfather James Upton. He was 52 when he had my grandfather, but that wasn't his last child. He had a daughter when he was 69 years old! So I have plenty of time to become a parent.

The oldest mother in my pedigree was 40 years old. That was my third great-grandmother Anna (Dornon) Benedick who gave birth to her last child nearly three months after her 40th birthday.

Age Is Just A Number
Aside from James Upton, there weren't any wild outliers in the data. Certainly nothing along the lines of President John Tyler, tenth president of the United States who was born in 1790, whose grandson is still alive today.

How about your ancestors? How old were their parents when they were born?

(You can download my template at this hyperlink. It's a PowerPoint file, which you can save as a jpg file.).