Re: A Problem with Dates #general

Art Hoffman <arthh@...>

"Don Einbinder" <> wrote in message
Not knowing much about my mgf, Harry BARASCH, I went to the National
Archives in Pittsfield, MA. There, in the Brooklyn, NY census of
1920, I found the family and all the information listed alongside.
It said that he arrived in the US in 1909, and the rest of the family
in1911. While there, I found the petition numbers for his
naturalization and that of an aunt and uncle. I then sent for the
papers and they arrived today.

The petition says that he arrived in 1907, and an attached certificate
from the bureau of naturalization confirms 1907. Other dates on the
petition, such as children's birthdates, are wrong.
Frequently parents in those days added years to their children's real
age so that the children could get working permits sooner. I know that
was true for my father who was 10 in 1906 when he arrived in the US,
according to the ship manifest. When my grandfather filed a Declaration
of Intention in 1909, my father's age became 16 which I believe was the
minimum age for working papers at that time.

So, what do I believe, the census or the petition?
Both the census and the petition are what are called secondary
documents. There is no verification of the accuracy of census
information. It may very well have been given to the census taker by a
neighbor if your parents were not home when the census taker knocked on
their door. The petition's accuracy as to ages of children would have
depended upon who completed the Petition. There was no verification of
age by comparison to a birth certificate. So, believe whichever one you
want unless you have primary documents such as birth certificates

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