Born in the 1800’s

I find stories of human longevity fascinating. The chapter on the oldest people in the Guinness Book of World Records kept me captivated as a child, reading it every year. The book is a tabloid freakshow now, not worth the paper it’s printed on. There are several websites devoted to celebrating the super-old, the super-centenarians: those who have lived to 110 or older. I have wondered how many verifiable cases there are today of people who were born in the 1800’s who are still living.

The answer is eight. Ten people are still alive who were born in 1900 (thus the end of the nineteenth century).

I have also wondered the age of the oldest “child” with a living parent. On one of these longevity websites is a report about the birthday celebration of a 110-year-old woman. Present at the party was the woman’s 90-year-old daughter. It is thus conceivable to have a living “child” into his or her mid-nineties, if the parent has lived to 115 or 114 as the example of the eight people above.

[Edit: I have never forgotten this question and believe that the answer was Harland Fairweather, who was 97 years and four days old at the time of his death. His mother, Violet Brown, outlived him and died at the age of 117 years and 189 days old.]

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