FOLLIS Family Life Spans
We often read how our life expectancy is increasing
from 47 years at the beginning of the 1900's to the mid 70 year range today. As a result people incorrectly assume all
people were dying at a younger age than today. The numbers show just the opposite. Aside from the occasional
tragedy, our family history shows a life span of the mid 70 years has been the norm for at least six
generations back in time to the late 1700's. Right in line with the Bible from Psalms 90:10:
"The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength
labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away". A score is twenty years.
Modern medicine is beginning to support the Bible passage in Genesis 6:3:
"And the LORD said, My Spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and
twenty years." Few causes of death can be found beyond the past 100 years. My family is typical in suffering with cancer and all
of the common diseases of their time. We are close to a time where cancer is no longer a death sentence
rather something we are learning to live with. Unfortunately, it comes too late for my father and his brothers who lost their battles
with cancer or my mother's brother's with heart problems.
I have analyzed six generations of my known ancestors and their ages at death. My sixth great-grandparents were born in the
1775-1800 era. At this level we have 126 ancestors. I have ages for 67% or 84 of my 126
ancestors. 27 of those ancestors are in Germany and have not been researched, so 84% or 84 of 99 known ancestor's ages in the
- Of 34 paternal ancestors 1 was in their 20's, 1 in their 30's, 4 in their 40's, 5 in their 50's, 4 in their 60's, 10 were over
70, 7 over 80 and 2 over 90 years of age at death. Average age was 67 years, 6 months and 14 days. If it is assumed everyone under
60 died from something preventable with todays medicine then the remaining average becomes 79 years 6 months 11 days. 15 were under
70 years of age and 19 over 70 years of age.
- Of 50 maternal ancestors 2 were in their 20's, 1 in their 30's, 4 in their 40's, 8 in their 50's, 4 in their 60's, 19 were over
70, 8 over 80 and 3 over 90 years of age at death. Average age was 68 years, 5 month and 14 days. If it is assumed everyone under
60 died from something preventable with todays medicine then the remaining average becomes 76 years 4 months 12 days. 19 were under
70 years of age and 30 over 70 years of age.
- The total family has 3 in their 20's, 2 in their 30's, 8 in their 40's, 13 in their 50's, 8 in their 60's, 29 over 70, 15 over
80, and 5 over 90 years of age at death. Average age of all known ancestor is 77 years 5 months and 12 days. 34 ancestors under
70 years of age and 49 over 70 years of age.
- It appears the generations at the end of the Nineteenth Century show a decline in life span perhaps as a result of communicable
diseases such as tuberculosis and typhoid or increased heart attacks while high fat diets continued as manual labor was eased by
tractors and saw mills with engines and motors in automobiles and factories.
- Both paternal and maternal families had a fourth great-grandparent live over 90 years of age, born in the 1700's and died in
early to mid 1800's.
- My oldest known ancestor is Simon ESSIG who was over 97 years of age at death.
At least one distant cousin has lived to 105 years of age passing away in 1996!
- For my 7 paternal aunts and uncles minus the one uncle who died under mysterious circumstances
the average age is 76 years 3 months and 14 days so far with two still living. For my 14 maternal aunts and uncles the average age
is 79 years 4 months and 13 days with 8 still living.
- My oldest living paternal relative turned 90 in 2005 and maternal relative turned 94 in 2005 so the trend continues!
- I know of one paternal relative, Ethel KELKER MILLER that lived to 105 and passed away in 1996.
By August 2007 the U.S. Life Expectancy had slipped to
number 42 in the world at 78 years of age, due to factors such as rising obesity, lack of health care due lack of insurance or
rising costs since we have the most modern and expensive health care in the world with unequal access depending on your race.