A Canadian woman who has documents to prove she will be 117 years old this month is the world's oldest person, the Guinness Book of Records said Thursday.

Marie-Louise Febronie Meilleur of Quebec succeeds to the title last held by Jeanne Calment, who died this month in her native France at the age of 122.Meilleur, who was born on Aug. 29, 1880, has been married twice and has about 300 descendants. Her family said the secret of her long life was hard work and keeping active - she used to enjoy fishing and still loves the outdoors. She also is a vegetarian.

Meilleur was born Marie-Louise Febronie Chasse on Aug. 29, 1880, in the town of Kamouraska, Quebec, 95 miles east of Quebec City along the south shore of the St. Lawrence River.

The Guiness Book of Records verified Meilleur's age through her certificates of birth and baptism, census records, two marriage certificates and other documents.

Not far behind Meilleur is American Sarah Knauss of Philadelphia, who has documents to prove she will be 117 on Sept. 24.

"Since Jeanne's death, we've been inundated with potential record claims from around the world," Guinness Book of Records records-keeper Clive Carpenter said.

"We have an extremely stringent process of verification to ensure that only someone whose age can be proved beyond any shadow of doubt can be recognized as the record-holder," he said.

Some claims, including one from a man living in a remote Lebanese village, who is said to be 135 years old, were dismissed because of lack of documentary proof.