Conflicting Dates: O, That Explains It

by JL Beeken on 6-01-2011

You’ve certainly heard of this. You might even have a few of your own. Conflicting dates.

According to the family Bible, a child was born in 1921. Some or all government records say 1920. What the writer of the birth dates didn’t realize is that someday there would be such a thing as computers and digitized records and we’d be able to see right through the hanky-panky in the cotton fields. We’re not blind.

And then there’s my grandmother, Pearl, who took this crazy notion to a whole ‘nother level. Pearl decided, after the fact, that she wanted to be born in 1900. It’s a nice round number. It has that turn-of-the-century pizazz.

I don’t why she decided this or at what age she decided but forever after, everywhere she went, every form she filled out, every time she had to answer the question again until she died at the age of 94 … she was born on December 24, 1900.

According to my mother, at her 75th wing-ding birthday party, Pearl said, “Shhh, don’t tell the other girls, but I wasn’t really born in 1900.” She actually thought she could take this to the grave with her.

In my personal possession is a digital copy of a June 30th, 1900 census record that says Pearl was born December 1899. Immortalized in black & white. Not that you can always, or almost ever, trust a census record.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Yvonne Mashburn Schmidt 6-02-2011 at 5:40 PM

uh hummmmm…..OBVIOUSLY, you are CLUELESS when it comes to women and age! We’ll keep you guessing every time!

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JL 6-02-2011 at 6:01 PM

I am a woman. And of some advancing years (although I’m sure I don’t look like it) and I understand perfectly. Sort of.

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Greta Koehl 6-02-2011 at 6:20 PM

There must have been something magic about 1900. My father had a much older cousin born in August 1899, but on every document the date is given as August 1900 – except that he shows up on the 1900 census….

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JL 6-02-2011 at 6:52 PM

See, there you go. No consideration whatsoever for the generations of genealogists to come.

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Yvonne Mashburn Schmidt 6-03-2011 at 6:13 AM

JL! I didn’t know :). I thought you were male. Funny how we have preconceived notions sometimes. Thanks for letting me know!

Y

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JL 6-03-2011 at 9:05 AM

I hope I ticked the right gender box on the 2011 census. I’d hate for someone to be confused 100 years from now.

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