Without reading ahead, can you guess this age at death? Although this is from a Swedish parish register, the numbers are pretty clear. And you probably don't need this clue, but age at death in any record I've seen, is usually written in this format - years, months, days.
What's your guess?
I, too, thought it read 80 years, 4 months, and 6 days. I even transcribed it that way the first time. But it didn't add up.
According to this death record, Eric Mattsson (my 7th great-grandfather) died May 10, 1809. So I plugged this in to Legacy's date calculator (find it by going to View > Calendar) to verify his birth date:
and pressed the Calculate button:
If I've 1) interpreted and 2) calculated everything correctly, AND 3) if the person reporting the age was spot on, Eric would have been born on January 4, 1729. Of these three, the calculator probably has the best chance of being 100% accurate.
I'm so glad I took a closer look. Had I accepted this birth date, I would be looking from now until the end of my days for an Eric Mattsson with this birth date. It simply doesn't exist.
In prior research, I discovered that Eric was born 15 Sep 1729 - an 8 month and 11 day difference. My initial thoughts were 1) maybe there were two Eric Mattssons who died in 1809 and I should look for the other (mine was reported in the household records that he died this year) or 2) the age at death could easily be wrong. So I looked for another Eric Mattsson's death and didn't find one. I almost concluded that the person reporting his age just didn't know for sure.
I'm so glad I took a closer look.
You see, between the years (80 år) and the months (4 mån) was a Swedish word or words that I couldn't interpret. With my English-speaking eyes it looked like the month of January, but my cheat sheet at the FamilySearch Wiki had a different spelling for January. So I took it to the Swedish Genealogy Facebook group which I learned about from Kathy Meade's webinar, "Have Swedish Roots and Don't Know How to Get Started?" Last night I posted this question:
This morning I woke up to a response from one of the members of the group:
At first I could not figure out how she came up with 79 years, 7 months, and 24 days old. Then I copied and pasted her response into Google Translate.
"80 years as close as 4 months 6 days."
And then it hit me. This is saying that Eric was 4 months and 6 days away from his 80th birthday. While I've never seen an age at death reported this way before, it made sense. If I add 4 months and six days to the end of his death day, we get September 14 which is pretty close to the 15th.
Thanks to Facebook group member, Ingrid Björkudd, for teaching me something new today! Isn't genealogy great - a never-ending educational process. Also, thanks to the technology at ArkivDigital, Google Translate, FamilySearch Wiki, FamilyTreeWebinars, and even Legacy's date calculator for helping me put this together.