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Had some of our ancestors lived longer?


Loyal Member
Staff member

Have you ever wondered what would have happened if some of your ancestors who died before the age of 50 or 60 had lived longer than they did?

My 3xgreat grandmother Mary Ann Roberts died of 3 sudden and aggressive infections on the 14th November 1886 aged 46 at 25 Evelyn Buildings, Holborn, London. She had been living in London since 1864 with hubby Thomas, my 3xgreat grandfather. Thomas died in 1889.

I wonder what would have happened in Mary had lived though? I will paint an imaginary scenario. She'd mourn the death of her husband in 1889 and probably carry on living at Evelyn Buildings.

1891 census 25 Evelyn Buildings, Dorrington Street, Holborn, London

Mary Ann Roberts, Head, aged 51, Widow, Laundress, born Sussex, Slaugham.
Elizabeth Roberts, Daughter, aged 22, Single, Tailoress, born London Bow.
Harriet A Roberts, Daughter aged 14, Servant born London, Lambeth.

In 1893 Mary moves to Islington to be nearer her married daughters Kate Coombs, Minnie Anstey and her son Frederick Roberts, who is also married.

In 1899 aged 59, she moves to 3 Prebend Place, St Pancras, just two doors down from her daughter Kate Coombs.

1901 census 3 Prebend Place, Prebend Street, Camden Town, London.

Mary Ann Roberts, Head, aged 61, Widow, Charwoman, born Sussex.

She is admitted to the St Pancras Workhouse due to ill health in August 1904 and spends two years in the infirmary and dies there aged 66 on the 14th November 1906 of exhaustion and senile decay.

Death cert "14th November 1886, St Pancras Infirmary, Mary Ann Roberts, Female, aged 66, Widow of Thomas Roberts a soap boiler, Senile Decay, Exhaustion Certified by J H Lewis MB, Informant is Kate Coombs, Daughter, In attendance, Registered 16th November 1906".

That is an idea of what would have happened had she lived beyond 1886 when dying aged 46.

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