I Age Not By Years, But By Stories


As some of you may be aware, I reached another of life’s milestones on Wednesday, January 5. To those who posted warm sentiments for a happy birthday, I only can say “thank you,” and express to you how much I always enjoy hearing from you. Moving forward, the ever-turning wheels in my head raised my curiosity meter. “I wondered just how many others in my family tree may have been born on the same month and day as I was; in what year were they born; how many generations back were they; and where geographically did their births occur, were any of them notables or have notable stories; and how old were they when they died.”

I had to dig deeper into my genealogical database to answer my questions. For starters, the tree that I have been building since 1980, includes nearly 14,000 people, 2,766 surnames, 3,223, marriages,
45 generations, and 7,523 places. Let’s apply the commonly used theory that each generation equals 25 years (from the birth of a parent to the birth of a child). Accordingly, my research would cover 1,125 years.

Next, look below at the statistics collected from my tree. The every-25-years generation theory doesn’t add up here. My tree’s earliest date of a person’s birth dates back to 157 CE and Queen Hastila Karana (Queen of the Franks), wife of King Hilderic. Using the most recent birth (my great-nephew Cayde Boling) in 2021, I find that my tree data cover about 19 centuries (1,864 years).

Table Of My Family Tree Contents:

Now, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty and identify my ancestors who were born in any year on January 5:

At first glance, I am shocked. Just 13 ancestors over a period of 150 years (1777-1926) were born on January 5. That computes to one person out of every 1,077 persons in my genealogical tree. Also, please note the majority of those ancestors were born in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Nine of these 13 ancestors were born within America’s first 13 colonies. This makes sense to me, as most of their families emigrated to America, and 61 percent of my DNA traces back to England and Northwestern Europe. Elizabeth Bailey’s birth in the 19th Century was, in fact, in Lancashire, England.

Third cousin, Anita Richardson Bibbins, was born in Minnesota one year before it became a state in 1858. Kentucky became a state in 1792. Newton Albert Franks and Mildred Louise Ford were born there in the 19th century. Justice Tucker Bolling died in Clay County, KY. He lived the longest of all the 13 ancestors. He passed when he was 90 years old. In comparison, Paul Brown, my 5th Great Uncle, lived only two and one-half months.

A few close family surnames stand out; e.g., Bolling, Taylor, and Ford. The Bolling and Taylor surnames come from my father’s side of my family; and, the surname Ford was my mother’s maiden name. All-in-all, and somewhat disappointing, I found no notable people or stories among those born the same day as me.

On the brighter side, a simple Google query put me among a great ensemble of 16 celebrities who also were born on January 5 between the years 1931 and 1993:

  • Actor Bradley Cooper is 47
  • Actor Brooklyn Sudano is 41
  • Talk show host/dancer-choreographer Carrie Ann Inaba is 54
  • Rock musician Chris Stein (Blondie) is 72.
  • Actor Clancy Brown is 63
  • Actor-director Diane Keaton is 76
  • Actor Franz Drameh is 29
  • Singer Iris Dement is 61
  • Actor January Jones is 44
  • Actor-comedian Jessica Chaffin is 48
  • Actor Ricky Paull Goldin is 57
  • Actor Robert Duvall is 91
  • Actor Shea Whigham is 53
  • Actor Ted Lange is 74
  • Rock musician Troy Van Leeuwen (Queens of the Stone Age) is 54
  • Actor Vinnie Jones is 57

As I looked on HistoryOrb.com at the very long list of other notable birthdays for January 5, I found these two:

  • Walter Mondale, 42nd Vice President of the United States, born in 1928
  •  Juan Carlos I, King of Spain (1975-2014), born in Rome, Italy in 1938

Most of us tell stories about ourselves. My stories define me. To know me well is to know my story—the experiences that have shaped me and the trials and turning points that have tested me. When I want someone to know me, I share stories of my childhood, my family, and its growth and development over time. So, while January 5 was a milestone birthday, for the most part, there was nothing much to write home about.

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