New world record!

This afternoon James Valentine on ABC Sydney Local Radio (702 AM) continued his phone-in collection of world record holders. Claimants this afternoon included a man who forgets that he’s wearing the wrong glasses up to three times per night and has to go back upstairs to retrieve them, and a high score on a game that I’ve already forgotten the name of.

Last week a lady rang in to say that her grandfather was born in 1833, thus claiming the record for the longest span between a living person and the birth of a grandparent. She won without any contest.

That record stood until this afternoon, when another lady, who turns 77 in December, claimed a grandfather born in 1803.

1803!!! It doesn’t seem possible, and yet there it is.

Her grandfather, born in 1803 somewhere in what is now Northern Ireland, fathered her father when he was 58 years old. This gives an approximate year of 1861.

Her father then fathered her when he was 73 years old, presumably in 1934. Work it out. Does it add up? No, it doesn’t exactly, because if she’s 77 she should have been born in 1931, not 1934, but it’s close enough.

So the record stands at 1803. Such a long span of history these three people have seen between them.

My four grandparents were born between 1897 and 1901 and had their children at a more usual age. My mother, who is still alive, has four grandparents who were born between 1867 and 1875, with the men older by just a few years than the women. So she wouldn’t have a hope of winning a medal in this event!

I guess it has to do with the age discrepancy between the parents because, let’s face it, 73-year-old women don’t have children, and very few 58-year-old women manage it. If men marry much younger women who then have children then this sort of range is possible. Pablo Picasso, born in 1881, famously fathered his youngest child, Paloma, when he was 67 or 68. (Source: Wikipedia).

What’s your record?

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