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Anna Eliza Williams
Anna Eliza Williams
Birth: 2 June 1873
Burford, Shropshire, England, UK
Death: 27 December 1987
Swansea, Wales, UK
Age: 114 years, 208 days
Country: UK Flag UK
Validated
Anna Eliza Williams (née Davies; 2 June 1873 – 27 December 1987) was a British supercentenarian who was recognised by The Guinness Book of Records as the oldest living person in the world for the last 11 months of her life. Her age is also validated by the Gerontology Research Group.

Williams was the oldest person ever documented from the United Kingdom at the time of her death. Although her record has since been surpassed, she remains the oldest person ever to die in Wales.

Biography

Early Life

Williams was born on 2 June 1873 in Burford, Shropshire, England. After leaving school, she worked as a domestic cook. In 1906, she married William Henry Williams, and shortly after they moved to Swansea, Wales. The couple had one daughter, Constance (known as Connie).

In the 1911 census, Williams was recorded as a patient at the Glamorgan County Lunatic Asylum. Her husband died in 1954.

Later Life

AnnaElizaWilliams1975

Williams at the age of 102, voting in the UK's 1975 EEC membership referendum

On 5 June 1975, at the age of 102, Williams voted for the UK to stay in the common market during the EEC membership referendum. She personally delivered her "Yes" vote to Swansea’s referendum returning officer.

In her later life, Williams lived in an old people's home in Swansea, Wales. She attributed her longevity to "a life of idleness", along with "being a non-smoker and eating lots of vegetables". On her 113th and 114th birthdays, Guinness World Records co-founder Norris McWhirter visited Williams at her residence.

Williams died on 27 December 1987 at the age of 114 years, 208 days. At the time of her death, she had two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Family Longevity

Williams's mother lived to the age of 98. All seven of Williams's siblings lived beyond the age of 80, one surviving to 101.

Williams's daughter, Connie Harvey (8 October 1906 – 18 June 2014) lived to the age 107 years, 253 days. This gave the mother and daughter pair a combined age of 222 years, 96 days, which is one of the longest combined parent and child lifespans ever recorded.

Longevity Records

British Records

Williams became the oldest living person in Wales following the death of Jeanetta Thomas on 5 January 1982, who at the time was the longest-lived person ever documented from Wales at 112 years, 34 days. Williams surpassed Thomas's age on 7 July 1985, and she has been the record-holder ever since.

Williams became the oldest living person in the whole of the United Kingdom following the death of 111 year-old Alice Brewster on 9 October 1982. Following Williams's death on 27 December 1987, Kate Begbie became the UK's oldest living person. Williams was the last surviving person in Britain born before 1877.

On 12 July 1985, Williams became the oldest person ever documented from the United Kingdom when she surpassed the previous record of 112 years, 39 days set by Alice Stevenson. Williams held this record until her age was surpassed by Charlotte Hughes on 26 February 1992. As of 2020, Williams is the fifth-oldest person ever documented from the UK; her age has since been surpassed by Hughes, Annie Jennings, Eva Morris, and Ethel Lang.

European Records

Williams became the oldest living person in Europe following the death of 110 year-old Dutchwoman Petronella Ribbens-Verstallen on 22 July 1983. Following Williams's own death, Frenchwoman Jeanne Calment became Europe's oldest living person.

On 17 January 1986, Williams became the oldest person ever documented from Europe (excluding emigrants) when she surpassed the previous record of 112 years, 228 days set by Spanish woman Josefa Salas Mateo. Williams held this record until her age was surpassed by Jeanne Calment on 18 September 1989. By 2011, Williams was no longer in the top-ten oldest Europeans of all-time.

World Records

Williams was originally recognised as the oldest living person in the world by The Guinness Book of Records after the death of Japanese man Shigechiyo Izumi on 21 February 1986. However, subsequent research has shown that Izumi's claimed age of 120 was false. Williams is now retroactively recognised as having become the world's oldest living person after the death of 113 year-old American Mary McKinney on 2 February 1987. Following Williams's own death, American Florence Knapp became the world's oldest living person.

At the time of her death, Williams was the third-oldest person ever documented whose age is now validated by the Gerontology Research Group, after Augusta Holtz and Mathew Beard (although Beard's age is now disputed). As of 2020, Williams has dropped outside the top-75 oldest validated people of all-time.

References


United Kingdom's Oldest Living Person Titleholders (VE)

Frederick Stabbins • Jane Lister • Martha Truelove • Ann Sharp • Jane Raby • Frances Smith • William Walker • Ann Russell • Eliza Roff • Ellen Palmer • Rachel MacArthur • Rachel Swain • Mary Davey • Thomas Pope • John Francklow • Rebecca Lees • Sarah Fitt • Elizabeth Sellwood • Matilda Coppins • Elizabeth Whitehead • Emma Rooke • Margaret Lunn • Sarah Humphrey • Caroline Beale • Fanny Hopkins • Elizabeth Etheridge • Sophia Wellstead • Rhoda Harris • Emma Weeks • Edith Grellier • Mary WorthingtonJane Stoneman • Ellen Dart • Elizabeth Kensley • Hannah Smith • John Mosley Turner • Ada Roe • Alice Stevenson • Elizabeth Watkins • Frederick Butterfield • Rose Heeley • Agnes Helyar • James Harrow • Sarah Morgan • Lilias Williams • Florence Pannell • Jeanetta Thomas • Alice Brewster • Anna Eliza Williams • Kate Begbie • Charlotte Hughes • Daisy Adams • Rebecca Hewison • Annie Scott • Rachel Wieselberg • Lucy Askew • Annie Jennings • Eva Morris • Amy Hulmes • Nellie Bradley • Gladys Hawley • Lucy d'Abreu • Judy Ingamells • Emmeline Brice • Annie Knight • Ada Mason • Florrie Baldwin • Eunice Bowman • Annie Turnbull • Elsie Steele • Margaret Fish • Violet Wood • Grace A Jones • Ethel Lang • Gladys Hooper • Bessie CammOlive BoarGrace C JonesGwen PayneHilda ClulowBob WeightonJoan Hocquard


World's Oldest Living Person Titleholders (VE)

Betsy BakerJennie HowellMarie CarstensonNancy RyanChristina Karnebeek-Backs • Marie Olsen • Mary Kelly • Elizabeth Kensley • William Fullingim • Hannah Smith • John Mosley Turner • Johanna Booysen • Marie Bernatkova • Ada Roe • Josefa Salas Mateo • Alice Stevenson • Elizabeth Watkins • Mito Umeta • Niwa Kawamoto • Sophia DeMuth • Marie-Virginie Duhem • Fannie Thomas • Augustine Tessier • Nellie Spencer • Emma Wilson • Mathew Beard • Augusta Holtz • Mary McKinney • Anna Eliza Williams • Florence Knapp • Jeanne Calment • Marie-Louise Meilleur • Sarah Knauss • Eva Morris • Marie Bremont • Maud Farris-Luse • Grace Clawson • Adelina Domingues • Mae Harrington • Yukichi Chuganji • Mitoyo Kawate • Ramona Trinidad Iglesias-Jordan • Maria Capovilla • Elizabeth Bolden • Emiliano Mercado del Toro • Emma Tillman • Yone Minagawa • Edna Parker • Maria de Jesus • Gertrude Baines • Kama Chinen • Eugenie Blanchard • Maria Gomes Valentim • Besse Cooper • Dina Manfredini • Jiroemon Kimura • Misao Okawa • Gertrude Weaver • Jeralean Talley • Susannah Mushatt Jones • Emma Morano • Violet BrownNabi Tajima • Chiyo MiyakoKane Tanaka


World's Oldest Living Woman Titleholders (VE)

Betsy BakerJennie HowellMarie CarstensonNancy RyanChristina Karnebeek-Backs • Marie Olsen • Mary Kelly • Elizabeth Kensley • Auguste Pahl • Hannah Smith • Yoshigiku Ito • Johanna Booysen • Marie Bernatkova • Ada Roe • Josefa Salas Mateo • Alice Stevenson • Elizabeth Watkins • Mito Umeta • Niwa Kawamoto • Sophia DeMuth • Marie-Virginie Duhem • Fannie Thomas • Augustine Tessier • Nellie Spencer • Emma Wilson • Augusta Holtz • Mary McKinney • Anna Eliza Williams • Florence Knapp • Jeanne Calment • Marie-Louise Meilleur • Sarah Knauss • Eva Morris • Marie Bremont • Maud Farris-Luse • Grace Clawson • Adelina Domingues • Mae Harrington • Mitoyo Kawate • Ramona Trinidad Iglesias-Jordan • Maria Capovilla • Elizabeth Bolden • Julie Winnefred Bertrand • Emma Tillman • Yone Minagawa • Edna Parker • Maria de Jesus • Gertrude Baines • Kama Chinen • Eugenie Blanchard • Maria Gomes Valentim • Besse Cooper • Dina Manfredini • Koto Okubo • Misao Okawa • Gertrude Weaver • Jeralean Talley • Susannah Mushatt Jones • Emma Morano • Violet Brown • Nabi Tajima • Chiyo MiyakoKane Tanaka

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