Re: Mary A. STORY, Fentress Co., TN 1870

From: curt mason <>
Date: Wed, 12 Oct 2011 11:25:56 -0700

On 10/12/2011 6:27 AM, G Tanner wrote:
> I'm wondering how these ages of Mary add up. We have shown Mary to be
> born abt. 1840 according to the 1850 census where she is age 10. Is
> there a possible mistake with her age on the 1870 census?

1860 18
1870 40
1880 47

Age in the census depends on the actual birthdate, the census date and
the understanding of the informant. A couple of years difference is not
uncommon. Same goes for birth place & other fields in the census.
Death certificates, grave markers and obits often disagree on birth &
death dates. Marriage records have 3 dates associated with them: the
license, the wedding and the recording. It's hard to know which was
being transcribed, tho I've never heard of anyone transcribing the date
of recording.

After all that there are typos, transcription errors, dirty spectacles
and all the other things that can go wrong with copying something. Did
I mention penmanship/caligraphy? Not always easy to read!

Why do people lie about their ages?

All we can do is rack up the data and take our best guess.

Curt, in Phoenix, Arizona
Received on Wed Oct 12 2011 - 12:26:02 MDT

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