In its new ad campaign, Genworth Financial is spotlighting the lives of 6 centenarians. According to the WSJ, this is a bold move. Conventional wisdom among marketing types is that Baby Boomers are turned off by reminders that they are getting old. I rather like it -- beats the alternative.
One good thing about old folks is that they have more history that can be checked out. Here's what the records show for the new advertising models.
One of ten children, Helen was born March 2, 1902 in King Co., Washington to Joseph Burcham, a farmer, and his wife Rosa Householder. Helen's twin sister Hazel died in 2001 at 99. Helen has been a widow for thirty years and is an avid genealogist. [1910 census]
Edward, who just celebrated his 101st birthday a few days ago, is the son of Howard Rondthaler, a Moravian bishop and president of Salem College in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and his wife Katherine Boring, the daughter of a Philadelphia pharmacist. Edward married Dorothy Reid in 1930; she died in 2002. [1910 census]
Around the time "Rosie" was 11 or 12, his family moved from Wakita, Oklahoma -- where he was born in 1905 -- to Barber Co., Kansas where his father continued to farm. By 1930, his parents had moved to Colorado and bought a hotel though Leonard no longer lived at home. By the time he enlisted in the army during WW II, Leonard was living in Arizona, where he still resides. [1910 census]
"Scotty," who will turn 101 next month, was born in Potter Co., Pennsylvania to an English stone mason. In 1920, his father was a jewelry store clerk still in Potter Co., but by 1930, he was working as a grocer in Portland, Oregon. This account differs slightly from the story told on the Boeing Frontiers Web site which says that Clayton moved with his family from Pennsylvania to Portland in 1911. In any case, Clayton was listed as an airplane pilot in Seattle, Boeing's home, in the 1930 census. [1920 census]
A retired doctor, Frank's wife, Bernice Deer Shearer, died in 1996 on her 92nd birthday. He was born in 1905, most likely in Saskatchewan, Canada. The first Canadian census he'll appear on is 1911, which will be released to the public in 2011 at which time Frank will be 106.
Is Roberta the Rovertia/Roverta Stoker who is 1 year, 1 month old in April, 1910 and living just outside Henderson, Texas? If so, her date of marriage is incorrect in this article; Roverta is still living at home in 1930. But the article has her husband's year of death wrong. Social Security records indicate he died in 1984, not 1980. More differences: The article states that 6 family members died in 1921. But Roverta's immediate family appears pretty healthy and intact in 1930. One last bit of confusion: Public record databases, not totally reliable, indicate that Roberta Smith of Indio, California was born March 13, 1909. If so, she would not be a centenarian for another couple of years. Check out the ad when it airs and see for yourself if she doesn't look a day over 97. [1930 census]
Note: Census images are available only if you have a subscription or free trial at Ancestry Ancestry.com