Estimation of mortality and the natural course of a disease is usually based on information of carefully studied individuals with or at risk for a specific disease. Genealogical information has rarely been accurate enough for such studies.
With the help of church records and multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1) family information of the two founder MEN1 mutations in Northern Finland (1466del12 and 1657insC), we could trace back common ancestors born in the beginning of the 1700s (1466del12) and approximately 1850 (1657insC) and find 67 probable gene carriers born between 1728 and 1929, which were identified among their offspring. Information was gathered from 34 obligatory MEN1 gene carriers and 31 spouses. The mean age (± sd) of death of affected males (n = 16) was 61.1 ± 12.0 yr vs. 65.8 ± 15.3 yr for unaffected males (n = 16) and for affected females (n = 16) was 67.2 ± 10.7 yr vs. 67.7 ± 14.7 yr for unaffected females (n = 13). The ages of death of the obligatory heterozygotes did not differ from that of the spouses in sex groups or from the sex-matched life expectancy estimates derived from Finnish national statistics. Causes of death differed significantly between female probands and spouses. In conclusion, obligatory MEN1 gene carrier status did not show a harmful effect on survival in this retrospective analysis tracing back to almost 300 yr.