JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Re: A Problem with Dates #general

Judith Romney Wegner

I'm sure you'll get many responses on this one < g >.
>Generally, go with "primary souces" first, because they have information
directly by the person.
Of course, primary sources are no guarantee of accuracy either.

[Sigh!] Ain't it the truth!! My pgf Mark MARKS was born in Auckland, NZ
on Feb 8, 1864 -- I have a photocopy of his birth notice in an Auckland
newspaper on February 9! Yet the entry in the Auckland birth register (of
which I also have a photocopy, signed by my ggf John MARKS, who supplied
the information) says he was born on February 15! My ggf did not report
the birth until March 20, so maybe he counted backwards on his fingers and
miscalculated -- or maybe he chose to fake the date in order to comply with
rules about how soon births must be registered and to avoid paying a fine!

This propensity to misstate dates must be in the genes! It turns out that
my pgf's sister (born in Auckland in 1865) misstated her age (as did her
boyfriend) when they got married in London 20 years later. They both
pretended to be 21 (the age of majority back then), whereas their birth
certificates make clear that she was 20 and he only 19 on the date stated
on the marriage certificate! ( I assume they must have done this because
they ran off to the registry and got married without their parent's
knowledge and/or consent).

So inaccuracies are not due solely to innocent errors -- they are
sometimes clearly intentional. It makes me wonder how many other dates on
my collection of certificates are likewise incorrect. Come to think of
it, how do I even KNOW I was born on March 8, 1933? How do any of us
know ?

Judith Romney Wegner

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