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Oldest woman turns 119; Guinness Book isn't sure

Last updated: 28 March, 2011
New York, Mar 28 (PTI) 12:14 IST

Rebecca Lanier, who celebrated her 119th birthday last week, could be the oldest person in the world, but the Guinness Book of World Records has denied her that status due to the absence of a birth certificate.

Lanier, who lives in Ohio with her grandson, was born with no birth certificate in the 1890s to slave parents in Mississippi, which had laws discriminating against blacks at that time.

This has caused problems as the Guinness Book of World Records needs that certificate to verify her age, which would make her the oldest living person in the world.

"Her parents were slaves and were coming out of slavery when she was born," Jimmie Shambley, her 61-year-old grandson told FOX News, adding that she has seven generations of grandchildren.

"She still is in her right mind and has great health," Shambley, told WEWS-TV, Cleveland, a local channel.

"She is able to move about every day and makes her bed up every morning as she gets herself dressed"."How old are you today momma?" asked her great grandson Christopher Shambley, FOX News reported.

"Don't worry about how old I am," Lanier replied who outlived her husband and two daughters."She does tai chi on a daily basis, so she gets her exercise in, and eats very healthy," he said.

"She doesn't have any ailments, which is a blessing in itself.Lanier who witnessed 22 presidents said discriminatory laws are the reason why she doesn't have a birth certificate.

However, the Social Security Administration that verified Lanier's age states the year of her birth as 1892.

"She makes her bed, she gets dressed, she gets into a PT Cruiser all by herself," said Ponolia Lanier, a family friend.

The current record for the world's oldest person is held by 114-year-old Besse Cooper from Georgia

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