When we read in the news that a person has turned 110, we as supercentenarian researchers are naturally thrilled. But there is a need to have a critical mind from the very start because many supercentenarian claims turn out to be false, especially the older the person claims to be.

The reasons for age exaggeration are many; a person can exaggerate their age from a very young age as a result of having married young or having become a parent early, there are also examples of a person exaggerating their age to both get into service, but also to avoid it (Wilmoth & Lundström, 1996; Poulain, 2010). Some people claim to be older in order to start collecting their pension early and others exaggerate their ages later in life in order to be noted by their community and media as especially long-lived individuals. Age exaggeration can also come in the form of identity theft, wherein a person assumes the identity of a parent or older sibling for various reasons (Wilmoth & Lundström, 1996).

It must also be noted that age exaggeration can be accidental, such as a person being mistaken for someone else, which can result in a person being attributed a much longer lifespan than they have actually lived. One example of this is the case of Pierre Joubert (1701? – 1814) where a father and son with the same name were mistaken for one another, resulting in this duo being recognized as the only “validated” supercentenarian for quite some time (Charbonneau, 1990; Desjardins, 1999).

From time to time there will also be examples of age deflation, where a person claims to be younger than they actually are. These cases are often not discovered since few of them actually live to be supercentenarians. One such example is that of Emma Isbell (1859-1969), who claimed to have been born in October of 1860 and died in December 1969, allegedly aged 109. However, she was listed in the 1860 United States Census as being eight months old as of June 1, 1860, meaning that it wasn’t possible for her to have been born in October of that year. Thus, in all likelihood she was actually a supercentenarian, something which was also supported by other early-life documentation.

William Thoms, the pioneer of age validation. Photo courtesy of: The Victorian Web

Age validation of exceptional longevity really originated with William Thoms and his rules for age validation (Thoms, 1873). Over the next century and a half many researchers have attempted to find the “golden rule” for age validation, with many different criteria being proposed (Poulain, 2010; Skytthe & Jeune, 1995; Rosenwaike & Stone, 2003). These criteria have been utilized and adapted for various purposes, with a supercentenarian claim being categorized as having various degrees of validation depending on how thorough their documentation is.

At the most basic level there exists proof that this person exists or existed and claimed to be a supercentenarian. This proof can come in various forms, such as a newspaper report, an obituary or a death record (Skytthe & Jeune, 1995). The next level is reached when there exists some sort of documentation supporting the age claim. Generally, the earlier a document is issued, the better the reliability of it actually supporting the correct age of the person. However, one document is not sufficient if a supercentenarian should be considered to be a validated supercentenarian. For most supercentenarians that are validated by organizations specializing in age validation there exist several documents that are in accordance with the person being a supercentenarian (Jeune & Poulain, 2021).

Some records, however, can be unreliable, especially documents issued when a person was older or when the person themselves wasn’t the respondent. Census records are generally such records that can be used to validate a person’s age with a lower degree of certainty, but they have been proven to be very unreliable, especially for claimants from the United States, where an age can fluctuate by several years from census to census. In order to achieve a higher standard of validation, birth or baptismal records are needed since they will generally contain an actual date of birth, something which is unfortunately lacking in almost all censuses or marriage records.

Still, it shouldn’t be considered sufficient that there are potential document matches for a person that is or was an alleged supercentenarian. Without doing a proper background check it is still possible for inaccurate attributions of identity to occur: especially mistaking a person for their earlier-born sibling is something that has occurred more than once for supercentenarian researchers.

Such is the case of Shigechiyo Izumi (1865? – 1986), who for a long time was recognized as the oldest man of all time (Matsuzaki, 1987; Glenday, 2010). Research later indicated that his extreme age was caused by his name given to him as a necronym for a sibling that had been born 15 years before him, thus making him only 105 years old at the time of his death.

Newspaper coverage of Shigechiyo Izumi’s purported 120th birthday. Photo courtesy of: Newspapers.com

For some supercentenarians a validation with the highest degree of certainty will not be possible. In many areas birth registration was not compulsory when they were born, leading to them not having any birth record. And family bibles, if they existed in the first place, have sometimes been lost. Therefore, there is a need for age validation to also accommodate for these instances. If the documentation is in accordance with the person being a supercentenarian, they should be recognized as such, but it should be noted that the validation was approved with a lower degree of certainty.

To achieve a very high-level of validation, a full family reconstruction is necessary (Skytthe & Jeune, 1995; Poulain, 2010). When performing a family reconstruction, each family member that can be considered relevant is investigated in order to rule out identity-theft, accidental mix-ups, and other potential scenarios that could result in the person not actually being a supercentenarian. Each member is therefore researched, and their vital information is noted in order to paint a complete picture of a supercentenarian claimant’s biography. Often this information can be extracted from the claimant (Poulain, 2010) or their relatives. In other cases, this information can be traced from vital documents such as a death file.

The need for a claim to be objectively reviewed by more than just one researcher to eliminate bias has been addressed in various ways. LongeviQuest, for example, has a Global Validation Commission consisting of researchers that review the research that is presented to them and analyze a claim by how well it adheres to the validation standards that have been postulated by the organization.

To show how age validation works in practice, it should be noted that some countries have better documentation than others. The Nordic countries especially are among the best in the world with their system based in church records and a personal identity number that allows for a person and their family members to be traced throughout their life. This will usually easily rule out wrongful claims.

Carl Mattsson, Swedish supercentenarian, the day he became the oldest Swedish man ever. Photo taken 18 July 2019 by Helena Erlandsson.

One such example of a very high-level validated supercentenarian is Carl Mattsson (1908 – 2019) of Sweden who possesses over 30 documents supporting him being a supercentenarian. Still, even in a country such as Sweden issues can exist in ascertaining how old a person actually is. Mattsson claimed to have been born on March 7, 1908, something which is supported by all documents except for his earliest document, a christening record which states that he was born on March 9, 1908. This discrepancy is, however, minor and doesn’t change the fact that he was a supercentenarian. A full family reconstruction could be performed and confirmed his identity (Appendix 1).

In conclusion, age validation of supercentenarians can take many forms and can vary from being very unreliable to having a high standard of validation, which is something that all researchers should strive to achieve in order for their data to be as accurate as possible.



Charbonneau, H. (1990) La Rubrique du P.R.D.H.: Pierre Joubert a-t-il vécu 113 ans? Mémoires de la Société généalogique canadienne-française, 41, 45–48.

Desjardins, B. (1999). Validation of extreme longevity cases in the past: The French-Canadian experience. In Jeune, B. & Vaupel, J. W. (Eds.), Validation of exceptional longevity, Odense Monographs on Population Aging. Odense: Odense University Press.

Jeune, B., & Poulain, M. (2021). The First Supercentenarians in History, and Recent 115 + −Year-Old Supercentenarians. An Introduction to the Following Chapters. In H. Maier, J. Vaupel, & B. Jeune (Eds.). Exceptional Lifespans. Springer. Demographic Research Monographs. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-49970-9_14

Matsuzaki, T. (1987). Characteristic of centenarians. In Transactions of the General Assembly of the Japan Medical Congress.

Poulain, M. (2010). On the age validation of supercentenarians. In Maier, H., Jeune, B., Robine, J-M., & Vaupel, J. W. (Eds.). Supercentenarians. Springer. Demographic Research Monographs. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-11520-2_1

Rosenwaike, I., & Stone, L. F. (2003). Verification of the Ages of Supercentenarians in the United States: Results of a Matching Study. Demography, 40(4), 727–739. https://doi.org/10.2307/1515205

Skytthe, A., & Jeune, B. (1995). Danish centenarians after 1800. In Jeune, B., & Vaupel J.W. (Eds.), Exceptional longevity: From prehistory to the present, Odense Monographs on Population Aging. Odense: Odense University Press.

Thoms, W. J. (1873). Human longevity, its facts and its fictions. John Murray, London.

Wilmoth, J. R., & Lundström, H. (1996). Extreme longevity in five countries: Presentation of trends with special attention to issues of data quality. European Journal of Population, 12, 63–93. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01797166



Appendix 1 – Family tree reconstruction of Carl Mattsson (1908-2019)

Rutger Mattsson (11.10.1877 – 26.11.1943)
Agda Elisabet Berndtsdotter (7.12.1877 – 7.9.1961) m. 25 Oct 1906
Bror Magnus (16.12.1906 – 7.6.1993)
Otto Ragnar (30.7.1909 – 18.10.1985)
Erik Valdemar (12.1.1912 – 24.11.2004)
Ingrid Maria Eriksson (9.4.1915 – 5.12.2007)
Sigrid Alfrida (12.10.1918 – 20.4.1919)
Sonja Juleida Margareta Behrendt (22.8.1907 – 20.4.1990) m. 12 Nov 1932, d. 7 Nov 1955
Ella Birgit Viola Andersson (21.10.1929 – 27.3.2010) m. 16 May 1964
Berit Irene (8.3.1939 – 23.3.1984)


LongeviQuest is pleased to announce the age validation of Shizuko Kiyuna of Japan at age 111. She was born in Chatan, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan on 10 June 1912. After graduating from school, she spent several years helping her parents cultivate sugar cane fields. She married at the age of 17 and had four children.

Kiyuna (second from the left) with her family in 1960, at the age of 48. (Source: Courtesy of the family)
Kiyuna (second from the left) with her family in 1960, at the age of 48.
(Source: Courtesy of the family)

While her husband was deployed to the Sino-Japanese War, Kiyuna remained in Okinawa. She patiently waited for his return while caring for their young children. She wrote a letter to her husband’s captain. Impressed by her letter, the captain took steps to enhance her husband’s standing within the military. Kiyuna’s family admired her strength and determination, recognizing her role in supporting her husband’s success behind the scenes during his military service. During World War II, her husband remained in Chatan Town as a civil servant. Even after the war, Kiyuna continued to support her husband in his role, managing household duties, raising their children, and maintaining a strong passion for farming. Her dedication to farming and her unwavering work ethic were so profound that she often found it difficult to take the time to attend parent-teacher conferences at her children’s schools.

Kiyuna opened a small general store called “Kiyuna Shōten” around 1957. She ran the store until she was 60 years old. After retiring, she built a house near the store. Kiyuna filled the front garden with orchids, azaleas, and other flowers while growing vegetables in the back garden. Even into her 90s, she continued to pursue various interests, including playing the Ryukyu koto and practicing calligraphy. Her calligraphy was praised for its beauty and featured on the cover of a history book about Shimoseido in Chatan Town. The book also acknowledged her establishment of Kiyuna Shōten as a significant part of the town’s history. Despite her age, Kiyuna maintained her appearance. She was always applying makeup, dressing elegantly, carrying a handbag, and walking to her son’s store every day. She instilled the importance of grooming in her granddaughters, gifting them with lipstick upon marriage or childbirth.

Kiyuna’s calligraphy on a history book about Shimoseido in Chatan Town

At the age of 98, Kiyuna moved into a nursing home due to a broken leg. She would return home for the Obon and New Year holidays until around the age of 103. Even at 106, she could still use her wheelchair independently and would make daily rounds to greet the other residents of the care home. At 111 years old, she has a healthy appetite and enjoys spending time with her fellow residents in the living room. In September 2020, she was reported as the 14th-oldest living person in Okinawa Prefecture.

On 4 July 2023, following the death of 114-year-old Ushi Makishi, she became the oldest living person in Chatan Town.

In September 2023, she was reported as the third-oldest living person in Okinawa Prefecture, behind an anonymous 114-year-old lady and Kikue Taira.

For more information, please view Shizuko Kiyuna’s Directory Profile here.

LongeviQuest is pleased to announce the age validation of Emma Galode of Canada at age 112. She was born in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada on 22 August 1882. At the age of 26, she got married, and the couple had 1 daughter. Galode spent most of her life in Hamilton, where she operated a variety store with her husband. They retired in 1948.

At the age of 107, Galode remained independent, even taking the bus on her own for grocery shopping. However, in August 1993, shortly before her 111th birthday, she moved into Hillsdale Manor nursing home in Oshawa, Ontario. Despite her advanced age, Galode continued to use a walker to move around the nursing home at the age of 112.

On her 110th birthday, holding a copy of her birth certificate. (Source: The Toronto Star)
On her 110th birthday, holding a copy of her birth certificate.
(Source: The Toronto Star)

Galode passed away of pneumonia at Whitby General Hospital in Whitby, Ontario, Canada, on 9 September 1994, at the age of 112 years, 18 days. At the time of death, she was the third-oldest living person in Canada behind Marie-Louise Meilleur and Mary Ann Rhodes.

LongeviQuest congratulates Emma Galode’s family on her posthumous recognition.

For more information, please view Galode’s Directory Profile here.

LongeviQuest is pleased to announce the age validation of Nobue Tanaka of Japan at age 110. She was born in Japan on 27 March 1912. In September 2021, she was reported as the oldest living person in Fukui Prefecture.

Nobue Tanaka passed away in Tsuruga City, Fukui Prefecture, Japan, on 17 February 2023, at the age of 110 years, 327 days.

LongeviQuest congratulates Nobue Tanaka’s family on her posthumous recognition.

For more information, please view Tanaka’s Directory Profile here.

LongeviQuest is pleased to announce the age validation of Fuyo Baba of Japan at age 111. She was born in  Japan on 10 January 1879. After graduating from a girl’s school in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, she married into a merchant family in Ishinomaki. The couple went on to have nine children.

At the age of 100.
At the age of 100.

On 18 October 1987, at the age of 108, she became the oldest living person in Miyagi Prefecture. As of 1990, she had 29 grandchildren, 48 great-grandchildren, and eight great-great-grandchildren.

Fuyo Baba passed away in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan, on 16 February 1990, at the age of 111 years. At the time of death, she was the second-oldest person ever recorded in Miyagi Prefecture, only after Tome Horigome (1857–1968). She was also the third-oldest living person in Japan, behind Waka Shirahama and Rin Aoyagi.

LongeviQuest congratulates Fuyo Baba’s family on her posthumous recognition.

For more information, please view Baba’s Directory Profile here.

LongeviQuest is pleased to announce the age validation of Mine Mutō of Japan at age 111. She was born in Osade Village, Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan on 14 December 1883. Mutō was a wife and a mother to 10 children. On 21 December 1989, following the death of 106-year-old Naka Kobayashi of Akeno village, Mutō became the oldest living person in Yamanashi Prefecture.

In September 1992, when she was 108 years old, the governor of Yamanashi Prefecture visited her to celebrate Respect for the Aged Day. She was in good health at the time of the visit, but she became bedridden the following year. In December 1993, she celebrated her 110th birthday, becoming the first (known) supercentenarian in Yamanashi Prefecture. Subsequently, she became the first person in the Prefecture to reach the age of 111.

Mutō passed away in Yamanashi City, Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan, on 2 March 1995, at the age of 111 years, 78 days.

Mutō remained the sole recorded supercentenarian in Yamanashi Prefecture for over 15 years following her passing. It was not until April 2010 that Masa Shimizu (1900–2011) became the second supercentenarian in the Prefecture. In January 2018, Natsu Kotsuka (1906–2018) surpassed Mutō’s final age, thereby becoming the new oldest person ever from Yamaguchi Prefecture.

LongeviQuest congratulates Mine Mutō’s family on her posthumous recognition.

For more information, please view Mutō’s Directory Profile here.

LongeviQuest is pleased to announce the age validation of Kie Taki of Japan at age 111. She was born in Akita Prefecture, Japan on 2 January 1904. Taki’s typical daily diet consisted of bread with honey or blueberry jam for breakfast. Followed by rice accompanied by pickled dried plums, sugar, or vinegar for both lunch and supper. These meals were complemented by side dishes of fresh vegetables, fried fish, and miso soup.

As a devout Christian, she attended church every Sunday to sing hymns with fellow worshippers. Her exceptional memory enabled her to memorize over fifty hymns by heart.  In 2006, at the age of 102, NHK Banzai, a series celebrating the achievements of Japanese centenarians, reported that Taki had possessed the same Bible for fifteen years. For fifteen years, this well-worn Bible, marked with red pen notations, served as a repository of passages that deeply touched her or words she wished to remember daily.


In January 2004, on her 100th birthday. (Source: Toyama Shimbun)
Kie Taki’s 100th birthday.
(Source: Toyama Shimbun)

In 2004, on her 100th birthday, Taki received a special visit from the mayor at her home. She was presented with commemorative gifts. Upon being congratulated on her remarkable milestone, she humbly remarked, “I was sickly as a child, so even I’m surprised I lived to be 100.” Additionally, she received a congratulatory letter from the governor of Toyama Prefecture. When asked about the secret to her longevity, she attributed it to three simple practices: reading the newspaper, conversing with the trees in her garden, and living a tranquil life.

On 25 January 2015, following the death of 111-year-old Sue Hirano, she became the oldest living person in Toyama Prefecture.

Kie Taki passed away in Imizu City, Toyama Prefecture, Japan, on 16 August 2015. Following her passing, she was succeeded as the Prefecture’s oldest living resident by Tsuya Hayashi.

LongeviQuest congratulates Kie Taki’s family on her posthumous recognition.

For more information, please view Taki’s Directory Profile here.

LongeviQuest is pleased to announce the age validation of Sabina Zieg of the United States at age 112. She was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States on 12 November 1872 to German immigrants. She was reported to be less than 5 feet tall. She was a member of Glenshaw Presbyterian Church since 1930 and a member of the ladies auxiliary of Undercliff Volunteer Fire Co.

Zieg worked part-time in the housekeeping department of Glenshaw Presbyterian Church before moving into a nursing home. At the age of 102, when asked about her ambition, she said she wanted to live to be 103. On her 108th birthday, she was interviewed on the television show “Good Morning, America.” When asked about the secret to her longevity, she said, “Well, I eat jelly-bread sandwiches. Smucker’s makes the best.”

On her 110th birthday in 1982. (Source: The Pittsburgh Press)
On her 110th birthday in 1982.
(Source: The Pittsburgh Press)

On 30 April 1984, at the age of 111 years, 170 days, she surpassed the final age of Martha Brown (1858–1969), becoming the oldest person to ever live in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. She subsequently became the first person in the state to reach the age of 112. She held the title until her own final age was surpassed by Florence Knapp on 30 October 1985.

Zieg passed away of natural causes in the Presbyterian Home in Oakmont, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, USA, on 1 December 1984. She was survived by two grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Following her death, she was succeeded as Pennsylvania’s oldest living person by Ida Turner.

LongeviQuest congratulates Sabina Zieg’s family on her posthumous recognition.

For more information, please view Zieg’s Directory Profile here.

LongeviQuest is pleased to announce the age validation of Fannie Barney of the United States at age 110. She was born in South Pass, Wyoming, United States on 29 July 1873. Barney’s parents were born in South Holland, Netherlands, and immigrated to the United States in 1868, bringing along their five children. The family’s original surname was Duijndam, but it was later changed to Dundom upon settling in the USA. Barney attended schools in Washington and Montana.

On 25 December 1890, Barney got married in Fergus County, Montana. She was a homemaker, and the family moved around frequently, eventually settling in California for 50 years. At 103, she moved to Grand Junction, Colorado, to be with her daughter. Barney was a member of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

As a young woman. (Source: Gerontology Wiki)
As a young woman.
(Source: Gerontology Wiki)

Barney passed away at Beverly Manor Nursing Home in Grand Junction, Colorado, USA, on 4 August 1983, at the age of 110 years, 6 days. She was survived by her daughter Frances, five grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren, and nine great-great-grandchildren.

At the time of her death, Barney was the second-oldest living person in the U.S. state of Colorado, following Linnie Jones, who is believed to be the first supercentenarian in the state, making Barney the second.

LongeviQuest congratulates Fannie Barney’s family on her posthumous recognition.

For more information, please view Barney’s Directory Profile here.

LongeviQuest is delighted to announce that Idaho’s oldest known living person turned 111 years old. Sally Ashman’s family celebrated her milestone with a lobster dinner. She is currently the oldest known living person in the U.S. state of Idaho.

On her 110th birthday in 2022. (Source: The Tribune-Democrat)
On her 110th birthday in 2022.
(Source: The Tribune-Democrat)

Sally Ashman was born into a prominent family in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, on November 23, 1912. Her grandfather owned a significant portion of the land before development, and her father served as the first president of Johnstown Bank and Trust. Ashman excelled in her studies, graduating as valedictorian from both Cochran Junior High School and Johnstown High School. Her academic achievements continued at Bryn Mawr College, where she earned a cum laude degree in 1934.

Ashman got married in 1936, and the couple had three children. Her husband would later become the head administrator of Conemaugh Valley Memorial Hospital. While her husband dedicated his career to the medical facility, Ashman devoted many years to volunteering there.

Ashman remained independent until she turned 100. She lived in Florida full-time until 2012, when she relocated to Idaho Falls, Idaho, to live with her daughter.

For more information, please view Sally Ashman’s Directory Profile here.