01 March 2016

Tuesday’s Tip: Create a Longevity Pedigree

Last week – Friday to be specific – David Allen Lambert tweeted a “new genealogy idea” called a Longevity Pedigree. It was one of those Ah Ha moments for me. I’ve been doing something similar but this visual put things in a different perspective for me.

Lambert, who tweets as @DLGenealogist, tweeted the following image:

I have always recorded birth and death year, as we all do, and since I use Family Tree Maker (FTM), the person’s age has always been calculated for me. Using his visual as a guide, I created a longevity pedigree for my family.

I also included the cause of death where known. In some cases, this visual also reminded me who I needed death certificates for yet.

In my example, Daddy and I are still living so the only information is just that. Daddy’s mother lived 83 years. She was (still is) a huge part of my life and of course I was there often near her death but I cannot recall the exact cause of death. This visual reminded me that I need to acquire a death certificate for her yet. Her obituary also did not mention a cause of death. On mom’s side, her paternal grandfather died at 91 years of age. Wow. Again, I can recall him well but I do not recall him being sick nor do I recall what he died of, so I will have to acquire his death certificate as well.

For my own record, I do go back and include information for everyone I gather. I think it is interesting often to see familial patterns. For example, my mom died at 69 and brother died a year later, also at 69. That may well be significant but one has to look at the bigger picture.  Does this mean that I should expect to die at 69? No. Absolutely not. Both my mom and my uncle smoked most of their adult lives. I never have and cannot breathe comfortably around people who do. Both did various jobs that may have had an adverse affect on their health. I have health issues they did not. Hence, always look at the bigger picture.

By considering the cause of death as well one should consider the time frame. For example, several family members had diabetes and in fact one even had it listed as the cause of death. Scientists have made such progress since then though. The bigger picture warns me to keep my diabetes under control and work to better my health.

A longevity pedigree offers helpful insight of family medical and genetic traits.


Tuesday’s Tip is a genealogical prompt of GeneaBloggers.

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2016
Locations listed are located in Pennsylvania (USA), unless otherwise noted in post.