Couples dying in the same year

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PianosiDiFano
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Couples dying in the same year

Post by PianosiDiFano »

My father's family come from the Fano and Cartoceto area of Marche, and I frequently have documents searched in the archives there, I have successfully uncovered about 75% of my tree back about 5 generations, however I have noticed a very unusual trend. Of my third Great grandparents on my father's side, 5 of the couples (out of the 6 I have info on) showed the pattern of dying at about the same time as their respective spouses. Couple 1, Rondinas, died in 1890 and 1891. The Peroni's both died in January 1891, The Baldellis died in 1880 and 1883, the Perlinis both died in 1899, and the Vagninis died in 1910 and 1911. Further strange is the Baldelli example, wherein both the husband and the wife died just under 3 years apart (indicating they probably did not die of the same cause,) but both died before the age of 60. I have found numerous other cases of this happening in my research on the Fano area. I have found that this seems to be particularly common in Italy, but I have seen it only a few times in my North American research.
Has anyone else encountered this, and if so, does anyone have an explanation as to why this seems to have been so common, particularly in between 1850 and 1920?
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rp76226
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Re: Couples dying in the same year

Post by rp76226 »

The average lifespan in the 1800s was 45 years old.
rlw254
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Re: Couples dying in the same year

Post by rlw254 »

While the overall average lifespan may have been somewhere in the neighborhood of 45, these numbers commonly quoted are often skewed low due to high rates of infant mortality. I just queried a spreadsheet I made for the village of Grottolella and it appears that, provided an individual lived at least 16 years, the average life expectancy in this town was about 60 from the period of 1809-1945. If you include those under the age of 16 that died in the same timeframe, the average drops to 34 years of age. The numbers are very similar in the neighboring village of Montefredane, at 59 (16 and older) and 31 (all deaths).

Instead, I would suggest that you will frequently see spouses dying close in time to each other due to common causes such as disease within a household, or poor geriatric care and quality of life towards the end of an already approaching early life expectancy. Perhaps even the occasional bout of grief.

Both sets of my Italian great-grandparents also died within 1 year of each other, FYI.
Apricena, Caltanissetta, Grottolella, Mazzarino, Montefredane, Salerno, San Severo, Vasto
PianosiDiFano
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Re: Couples dying in the same year

Post by PianosiDiFano »

Thank you! I had figured it was likely due to disease, but I wanted to know if other people had encountered this trend, so it seems I am not the only one!
I find the most frequent death ages at that time to have been mid 50's and early 70's, but perhaps that is just a speculative observation. It makes sense that it would average to around 60
I would imagine that likely the effects of disease are magnified by the conditions people lived in (especially around times of grief,) so I think you are likely correct in your summation of the trend.

Thanks again
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