I have always been fascinated with genealogy although I go long stretches of time without updates. It's like a great big puzzle with pieces missing (or buried in a pile with the wrong pieces). Like any challenge pattern recognition helps you piece together what you don't know from what you can reliably trust.
One particular pattern that was rather disturbing is that the men in my family have a history of perishing in their early 50s. Or so I thought that is, I have spent years and years under the belief that several generations before me all met their maker at either 50 or 51 and this holds true with my father and grandfather.
My dad survived to the ripe old age of 51 before suffering a massive heart attack in his kitchen. He was a fan of smoking and drinking and regularly referenced his loose and wild youth but was active and seemed strong as an ox up till the very end.
My grandfather Warren passed two months after his 50th birthday. He suffered a lot of health issues both mental and physical as a result of his service in WWII. He left this plane of existence with a 12 year old son (my father) just like my dad left a 12 year old daughter (my sister). A rather disturbing pattern.
My great grandfather Dave (yeah we aren't very original) was explained to me as a rough around the edges old farmer. My dad and grandmother told me that he too died at the relatively young age of 50 and I took that as the gospel truth most of my life. Once I began to piece together the tree though I encountered a David Hickman (although his headstone says "Dave") that was confirmed by Marriage and Birth Certificates to be my kin. He was born in 1868 and survived to 1948 meaning he beat this supposed "curse" by 3 decades! Further proof that you shouldn't take family lore as fact.