52 Ancestors,
in 52 Weeks

Week 11:
Large Family

George Lafary, 1830-1880 and Catherine Landon, 1844-1920

My great-great grandparents, George Lafary and Catherine Landon, had a relatively small family, three of their six children survived to adulthood [1]. However, they both came from large families where nearly all the children survived to marry and have children. Both George and Catherine had eight siblings. In both their cases they were somewhere in the middle of the birth order, and both had father’s who were in their 50’s at the time of their births. I recently had the opportunity to observe a 60+ years old father with his infant child, not his first, and it got me thinking of these two ancestors with ‘older’ fathers and large families.

My 3rd great grandfathers, the father’s of George Lafary and Catherine Landon, both married first when in their 20’s, both served in the War of 1812, both were early settlers of Brown County, Ohio and both had five children before being widowed. In the early 1800’s it was a matter of practicality to marry again, a helpmate and a mother for young children was a necessity. In both cases, these men married women a good deal their juniors, 29 and 20 years difference, respectively.

“Older” Fathers

George’s father, John Lafary, was 59 years old when George was born 1830 [2] and Catherine’s father, George W. Landon, was 54 years old when she was born in 1844 [3]. John Lafary had all nine of his children from his second marriage survive to adulthood, this seems surprising for a poor farmer in the first half of the 19th century, and he was 69 when the youngest was born. Perhaps experience was a benefit, he knew how to care for young children when his 22 years old wife bore their first child in 1822. As a result, he may have been more of a helpmate to her than a younger, first-time father. Similarly, George Landon had seven of nine children from his second marriage survive to adulthood, which seems above average for the time and place, he was 65 when his youngest was born. Additionally, most of these offspring, of both men, had long lives by the standard of the day [4], many lived to over 70 years of age and some to over 80.

Current Data

I’ve read several articles about the impact of the age of a father on their offspring.[5] It’s important to note the articles are based on research done in the past 10 years and these births in my family date back 150 to 200 years ago. The downside of having an older father is the possibility of chromosomal abnormalities with the risk increasing with the age of the father. It appears this risk is tied to DNA damage in the father from environmental factors like exposure to chemicals and toxins and also health issues such as diabetes and alcoholism. These issues seem to me to be more relevant in our modern world than the first half of the 19th century. The articles also report on benefits for children with father’s over 40 and beyond. The financial security, knowledge and social standing of older father’s in our modern world results in children, particularly boys, who do well in STEM subjects, focus on their interests and are socially secure. This in turn results in an improved socioeconomic status for the child. Something similar may have been true 175 years ago.

Reviewing my great-great grandparents and their siblings I mostly find farmers, with just a couple of exceptions who were skilled tradesmen, and of course the women did not pursue careers. I cannot claim any obvious socioeconomic benefit to my ancestors with older fathers, but it may be their skill and knowledge of farming made them better providers than younger fathers. The older father’s may have benefited, too. Both John Lafary and George Landon lived longer than the average man at the time, 79 and 72 respectively. Having a large family made for having many farm laborers, both families farmed about 60 acres, typically rye, corn and oats.[6]

I’ll never know if there was a direct benefit to having an older father in the mid-19th century, but there is an obvious benefit to me… I exist! And, by my estimation, so do another approximately 6000 people living today, give or take. A large family, indeed.

SOURCES:

1. Entry for Kate Lafary, Year: 1880; Census Place: Jackson, Hamilton, Indiana; Roll: 281; Family History Film: 1254281; Page: 320C; Enumeration District: 35; Image: 0288. https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/6742/4240592-00290?pid=26559784

2. Entries for John and George Lee Ferry, Year: 1850; Census Place: Johnson, Ripley, Indiana; Roll: M432_169; Page: 240A; Image: 109. https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/8054/4192474_00110?pid=2289859

3. Entries for George and Catherine Landow, Year: 1850; Census Place: Pike, Brown, Ohio; Roll: M432_662; Page: 374B; Image: 206. https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/8054/4191053-00206/13255649

4. https://ourworldindata.org/life-expectancy

5. https://www.nbcnews.com/better/health/5-advantages-being-older-parent-ncna775581
https://www.aarp.org/home-family/friends-family/info-2017/older-dads-sons-smarter-fd.html
https://www.cnn.com/2017/02/13/health/older-dads-health-risks/index.html
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/25/well/family/the-risks-to-babies-of-older-fathers.html

6. Entry for George W. Landon, Selected U.S. Federal Census Non-Population Schedules, 1850-1880, Schedule Type: Agriculture, Census Year: 1850; Census Place: Pike, Brown, Ohio, Line: 21. https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/1276/32804_241757-00207/5730646

Frank Takeo Flucawa

Born Takeo Furukawa on 15 March 1883 in Tottori-Ken, Tokyo, Japan, little is documented of his early childhood. Family oral history stories say that the young Takeo experienced hunger, poverty and the loss of his family. Additionally, the stories tell of friendship, spiritual learning and scholarship.

David L. Osborne: His Indianapolis Homes

My great grandfather, David Louis Osborne, lived at over 20 addresses around Indianapolis between 1876 and 1942. I thought it would be interesting to see all the old buildings and homes where he lived in my hometown of Indianapolis.

The Marriage of David and Jennie Osborne

My great grandfather, David Louis Osborne (1848-1942), was a widower with two young sons in 1886 when he married Jennie Warbington (1857-1918) in Minneapolis on the 27th of May. I decided it was time to put sources to the story.

Do You See A Resemblance?

While working on a family photo project I decided it would be fun to compare side-by-side my father and his parents, at similar ages, to try and discover a family resemblance.

Probate of Jesse King 1868

Jesse King was born in Ohio (probably in the vicinity of Chillicothe) in 1805, he was a son of Philip King and Mary Leah Wright, both of Pennsylvania. Philip King was a farmer, he married Leah Wright in 1801 in Somerset, PA, they had six children, of whom Jesse was the third.

Letter from Sarah Tucker Lafary

A handwritten letter from Sarah Tucker Lafary to the then president of the United States, Grover Cleveland. It was her last appeal for a War of 1812 pension, sadly the pension was denied. The letter gives a glimpse of a woman who had no formal education, a poor farmers wife, then widow, mother of nine, she probably just wanted some independence through an income of her own.

Sarah Smith: Challenge

52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week 2: Challenge
So much about genealogy research is a challenge, perhaps the most common challenge is the ‘brick wall,’ meet Sarah Smith. 18?? – 1846

Laferre to LaFara: Unusual Name

52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week 3: Unusual Name
The surnames in my tree are typical of common western European names. However, the name that is unusual among these names is MY surname: LaFara.

Luella Pressell: Surprise!

52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week 6: Surprise!
Just when you think you know everything about an ancestor, surprise! I thought I knew most everything about my paternal great grandfather David L. Osborne, 1848-1942.

Rumple Family Photo 1895

52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week 8: Family Photo
For all of us who are procrastinating about labeling photos I have one thing to say, “Be considerate of the genealogist of the future!” My maternal grandmother was very good about labeling old family photos, and there is one in particular I found very informative.

Conrad Rumple: Bachelor Uncle

52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week 10: Bachelor Uncle
My uncles are the marrying kind, sometimes more than once!
I had to go back four generations for a bachelor uncle, my great-great-great uncle Conrad Rumple, 1833-1911.
Conrad was an older brother to my great-great grandfather on my matrilineal line, William Rumple, 1839-1912.

In The Paper

52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week 13: In The Paper
It’s fun to find articles in the paper mentioning one of my relatives. Mostly they are birth, marriage, divorce and death events. But, it’s the oddball articles in the papers I like the most.

Genealogy Brick Walls

52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week 14: Brick Wall
We all have a brick wall, that one ancestor who defies all research. I decided I would work at my brick walls by generation, I broke through the last of my 3rd great grandparent brick walls, now I am working on 4th great grandparents.

Catherine Landon: Out of Place

52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week 16: Out of Place
I realized I did not have a date of death for my great, great grandmother, Catherine Landon Lafary. A fresh search uncovered the date and much more. Out of place, but once discovered, everything fell into place.

Immigrant Ancestors, Fresh Start

52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week1: Fresh Start.
The varied reasons my European ancestors immigrated to North America for a fresh start.

William and Uva Lafara: Favorite Photo

I have many favorite photos among my collection of family artifacts. Currently, my favorite photo is of two little children from 1916 who were a complete mystery to me until last spring.

Close to Home

My grandparents. Earl and Pearl, met at church, close to home, in 1914,

So Far Away

My great-uncle Frank immigrated to the United States from Japan in 1905 to further his education, so far away

Same Name

I get excited when I discover an ancestor with the same name as a friend, or co-worker, or neighbor. Maybe we are related!

Favorite Discovery

My favorite discovery is finding the common ancestors shared by my parents. Don’t be alarmed, the common ancestors are 10 generations removed.