Younger age listing #lithuania

Ken Frieden <kfrieden@...>

I think that when my grandfather immigrated in 1913, the family had a good
reason to list his age a couple years younger than he was: so that he could
study in high school without being considered overage.

Ken Frieden

B. G. Rudolph Professor of Judaic Studies
Tolley Humanities Building
Syracuse University
Syracuse, NY 13244


Subject: Revision list dates
From: "David W. Perle" <dwperle@...>
Date: Sun, 31 Aug 2014 12:22:25 -0400
X-Message-Number: 1

Matthew Rosenberg posted about revision list entries for his family which
predate when [he believes that] they were born, wondering about errors
in transcription.

While possible, I think that it's more likely that the believed dates
of their birth are probably wrong. I've also come across this sort of
thing, a great-grandfather of mine in particular. A few U.S. records
after he immigrated here consistently provide his age/year of birth
in Lithuania, but then I found two or three Lithuanian revision lists
showing him as having been something like 5 years older!

Explanations for why people become "younger" after immigrating vary.
One is that people just didn't always actually know their ages or dates
of birth, so they guessed that bit when they immigrated to a place like
the U.S. where that's a bureaucratic stat that's asked of them. Another
explanation is that women in particular--especially Lithuanian--were
very vain about age and kept their ages lower, and their husbands did
the same just so that they wouldn't "be" so much older than their wives!

I've concluded that my great-grandfather was *probably* a few years older
than his family ever knew. In the end...who knows!

David Perle
Washington, DC

Join to automatically receive all group messages.