At 119, Rebecca Lanier Is Oldest in World, but Not According to Guinness

At 119, Rebecca Lanier Is Oldest in World, but Not According to Guinness

But without a birth certificate, the daughter of former slaves is denied honor.

Published March 25, 2011

On Tuesday, Ohio great-great-great-great grandmother Rebecca Lanier celebrated her 119th birthday with her family and friends at a local seniors center.

During her rich lifetime, Lanier has seen three centuries and outlived her husband and two daughters. All in all, she has 15 great-great grandkids, 18 great-great-great- grandkids and two great-great-great-great grandkids, according to one of her grandsons.

Normally such a feat would be recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records; however Lanier’s parents were slaves and when she was born—back in the 1890s—she wasn’t issued a birth certificate.

The U.S. Social Security Administration did issue a letter to Lanier that states her year of birth as 1892, but the agency cannot give age verification, a spokesperson told Mailonline, which isn't enough proof for Guinness. If she had the papers, Lanier would be officially recognized by Guinness as the oldest person in the world.

To her family, Lanier is a marvel. “She still is in her right mind and has great health. She makes her bed up every morning as she gets dressed,” her 61-year-old grandson with whom she lives, Jimmie Shambley, told the Associated Press.

Each day she practices tai chi and takes a few supplements, but no medicine for illnesses or ailments, the AP reports.

Her secret to a long life is to “keep on living.”


(Photo: AP)

Written by Hortense M. Barber


Latest in news