Sunday, January 14, 2018


I decided to make a chart showing the birth and death dates for my ancestors going back as far as I could. The winner in the longevity contest was Jane Love Hays, my 4th great-grandmother. Mind you, I have neither birth or death documents proving this. I have only the following: some biographical information posted on Find a Grave; a Hays family history written by my great-grandfather's brother (Jane Love's great- grandson); applications from three descendants wishing to become members of the Sons of the American Republic.

One part of the SAR application form requires the applicant to trace their lineage back to their Revolutionary hero by providing the names and birth and death dates of the intervening ancestors. I suspect that SAR applicants are prone to engaging in the same copy-cat documentation that is found on and other online family trees. One SAR wannabe latches on to some piece of information that another one has written, uses it in his own application, and there you go.

The first two descendants I found who were seeking SAR membership claimed that Jane Love was born in 1712 and died in 1806, making her 94 years old at the time of her death.

I'd always been puzzled by this birth date for Jane. If 1712 was indeed the year she was born, that means that she was 12 when she married. Did they do that back then? I suppose it's possible, but I always suspected that there was an error in there somewhere.

Then I found the third SAR applicant who did not run with the herd. He named the much more reasonable year of birth as 1702, making Jane a 22-year-old bride. Of course that means she would have died at the age of 104. So which is more likely—that Jane was a bride at the age of twelve or that she lived to be a hundred and four years old? For the purposes of this longevity assignment, it doesn't matter. To the best of my knowledge, the closest runner-up only reached the age of 89. So either way—94 or 104—Jane Love Hays wins hands down.  Love conquers all.

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