Sunday, March 28, 2010

Crunching Morbid Statistics

Its easy to fall into the mindset of looking at my tree in terms of just names and dates the further back I go and more removed I am from those ancestors, though I try not to.  One thing that usually snaps me out of it is to crunch some of the more interesting statistics about them, like the post I did on the mothers in my tree.

Recently I was looking over some ancestors and I started to notice another interesting trend I wanted to pursue further.  Awhile back I mused over whether my great-great-grandparents, George Washington Wellons and Mary Anna Webb found each or at least bonded over the fact that each had lost a parent at an early age (both lost their mothers before they were thirteen).  That came to mind while looking over a portion of my tree and seeing that there were actually quite a few couples who had a parent die during their youth or early adulthood.  I started combing my tree and came up with the following couples in total (there are probably more that I don't know of, I am also excluding non-direct line couples):

George Stokes and Charlotte Shepstone
George lost his father when he was around 21, Charlotte was an orphan by about the age of ten.

George Washington Wellons and Mary Anna Webb
George lost his mother at 12, Mary Anna lost her mother as an infant.

Heman Doyle Shinn and Emma Sophia Tock
Heman lost his father at 13, Emma lost her mother at two.

John Scott and Ruth Hilton
John lost his mother a week after his ninth birthday, Ruth lost her mother when she was two.

Jacob Coles Mott and Mary Green Smith
Jacob lost his father at ten, Mary lost her father around 15.

Amos Hilton and Mary Lee
Amos lost his father around the age of two, Mary lost her father five days after her 16th birthday.

That's six couples and I didn't even look further back than 1700 and I have parts of my tree with major holes in them where I also could probably find one or two more couples.  The interesting part is that the ancestors who lost a parent young were more likely to marry someone else who had also lost a parent young than not.  I don't know if this speaks more to the mortality rate pre-1900 or of something else.  I certainly think those couples must have found comfort in each other through their shared early sorrow and I wonder if it was something that helped bring them together.

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