Ancestral Marital Longevity

“Inspired” by my post on the jubilarian McSherry couple, I decided to look at the marital longevity of my ancestors. Rather than confuse myself (and you) with a plethora of ancestors, I confined myself to those who came to Australia, although in the case of Duncan and Annie McCorkindale, she and their children emigrated after his death.

Marital longevity tableI’ve also put asterisks against those who were pre-Separation pioneers in Queensland. Each and every one lived in Queensland though Stephen Melvin defected to New South Wales after Emily’s death where he set up another business and married twice more, making his tally four marriages.

What this exercise has told me is just how much is dependent on our individual longevity gene. I have a suspicion one couple were living apart, but only inferential “evidence” and I strongly suspect one had gone walkabout after arriving in Australia. Either that or he is buried somewhere remote and hasn’t made the death indexes. Also, only one divorce, but having read the documents I am amazed the brothers didn’t take the husband out and give him a thrashing. My other half and I are already in the top half of the league table….fingers crossed we pass a few of those ahead of us.

What this exercise has confirmed for me is that I need to do some serious work on my family history program, so perhaps this is the time to change programs. Makes me tired just thinking about it, as the gedcom hasn’t been very compatible in the past.

Have you ever explored your family’s marital longevity?



17 thoughts on “Ancestral Marital Longevity

  1. Hi Pauleen, an excellent dimension to pursue. I did look at age of first marriage and how many children but need to explore length of marriage. I know I have several couples who died within a fortnight of each other after quite long marriages. Regards Anne

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    1. That’s interesting Anne…I only have one set who died close together, George and Julia Kunkel, both due to specific health reasons though no doubt grief played a role. I haven’t specifically looked at age of first marriage though the report I printed for,this included that info.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Pauleen, which program are you using to get the statistical reports?

        My mother-in-law’s parents died on 19 August and 11 September of the same year. It was a busy month for my parents-in-law as my father-in-law’s father died on 9 September but that was unrelated as he did not know his daughter-in-law’s family.

        My paternal grandmother’s parents died on 27 February and 8 March of the same year. His parents, my 2*great grandparents, died a few months apart, 17 August and 1 December of the same year.

        I forget if there are others. There are of course plenty of other couples where the survivor lived on.



      2. hi Anne, I’ve been using Relatively Yours and finally remembered how to get this data, after I’d done some crunching the hard way. I suppose the death of one half of the couple could have precipitated health issues with the other. I’m sure my great-grandmother’s death from puerperal fever would have been an additional shock to her husband’s weak heart, leading to his death six weeks later. It would be interesting to have some data on how long the surviving person lived after the death of a spouse and what their respective ages were at the time. Sorry about my delayed reply – distracted by preparing my Congress papers. Pauleen

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    2. I used to use Relatively Yours – great program. I can’t get it to load on my new computer šŸ˜¦ I still have the disks but I think it is no longer supported. As well as the statistics, I thought it was the best program for handling events, and events is what is key in our family history – I really liked the way you associated people with events and could associate people who were no on your tree also.


      1. I agree entirely Anne – I think it was an excellent program with more flexiblity than others and responsive to the more unusual family relationships. And yes, those associated people especially. I’ve had it for yonks but I think it’s perhaps time to swap horses and think it will be to Family Historian. I’ve downloaded RY on my Win 8 Laptop with no problems. You can download it from the site with your rego number. Cheers Pauleen


  2. Interesting thought Pauleen. If I look back at my Grandfather’s family. He died aged 66 years in 1974 and was the last of his brothers to die. He had five sisters – one died of a heart disease age 35 years, one died aged 83. The last three sisters were all into their 90’s. Their mother (Annie Prudence) born in 1879 died aged 92 and her mother (Caroline) born in 1844 died aged 91 years in 1935. Caroline’s mother (Prudence) was born in 1817 and died aged 37 years.

    By coincidence, forty years after the death of her father in 1974 my Mum passed away aged 66 the same as her Dad. I am now suitably inspired to look closer at this not just at the longevity aspect but also the coincidences.


    1. It’s weird how the genetics works isn’t it, with some dying young and others reaching old ages. I’ve got my head in the sand about the ones who died in their 60s…it’s not going to happen to me…I hope šŸ™‚ Coincidences are interesting aren’t they?


      1. It is strangly interesting and I know that I need to get pass 66! I would say it is just coincidence, but……

        In terms of marriage – my Great Great Grandparents, (Caroline and Henry) who I mentioned above were married for 65 years. Henry died in 1929 and Caroline in 1935. I have a picture that was taken on their 60th wedding anniversary which was taken by my Great Aunt who was their Grand daughter. My Great Aunt could recall the picture being taken and described what they were wearing, the location and the weather!

        Caroline’s daughter Annie and her husband Charles (my Great Grandmother) were married 45 years with Charles passing away in 1943 and Annie in 1972.

        Whereas on my husband’s side there are lots of divorces. In fact Stuart is the produce of his parents second marriage (they were both married to other people previously). All his siblings are divorced and we are the only ones to still be rolling!

        So is it a case of luck, a case of divorce being easy now, although we have the divorce record of his Great Grandmother & father in 1922, or is there something else at play.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Wise choices, stubbornness, commitment are possibilities. I can beat your divorce record with one circa 1913….he needed divorcing. I can imagine your great aunt remembering the detail -it would have been a big event. All they’ll remember for us is that it’s bound to be hot weather šŸ˜‰


  3. When asked, I usually say I come a line of long livers, however I re-looked martial longevity and found that I only remembered the exceptions, the rest passed away in their 70s unless there was an exceptional circumstance e g accident or TB


  4. Hi Pauleen, I always love a few statistics. It is interesting to look at our ancestors in different ways. I have some families groups with only a few children. It would be interested to know the reason eg separate bedrooms, partial separated (I have census records without and then with the husband again 10 years later), family fertility genes, or some children died early but I have not found the records yet.


    1. Nothing like a bit of number crunching Fran šŸ™‚ Some must surely have resorted to separate rooms but that’s still not going to avoid those large families necessarily – unless you’re royal. The other thing you might consider is the Rh negative factor which played a much bigger role in our ancestor’s lives. If you find one or two children then no more it’s certainly worth considering. I had a genealogy friend, older than me, who worked on the team that identified the Rh- factor and my aunt lost several “blue babies” so I’m guessing it came from my maternal side.


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