And the winner is…. the family researcher

Today’s blogpost at the “Generations gone by’s weblog” which was called When the documents have the wrong date inspired me to tell my own little anecdote experiencing something similar.

I have a case like that. I was always told that my greataunt (my granddad’s sister) was born 1922 and he was born 1921. Since we didn’t really had a lot of contact to my grandfather I barely knew my greataunt. Just when I started researching the family, I got in closer contact to her. I always had a picture of her and my grandfather in our photo album:

my grandfather and his sister

my grandfather and his sister

I never really thought about it much until I met my greataunt. She told me stories about her childhood and it always sounded like she was the “leader of the pack” when the kids would get in trouble. Not like she was following her bigger brother.

And then it hit me one day when we sat together and I looked at this picture and some others.

I just looked at my greataunt and said “you don’t really want to tell me that you are one year younger than your brother?”

She started with what a fragile little boy he was and so on.. but always having this grin in her eyes. You have to know that she was a charming handful.

At the end she told me that she actually was born 1919. During WWII all her records were lost when they were refugees fleeing from the Eastern Front. So when she applied for new documents following the war, the registrar got her birthyear wrong. Well, that is how she tells the story.. I am not so sure if she didn’t just take the chance to cut off some years ;)

So she had an official record stating her birthyear with 1922. But I wouldn’t be a good family researcher if I wouldn’t have found this one surviving record which states her real birthyear. It is the wedding record of her parents. There is a sidenote regarding the children with their birthdates and wedding dates. And guess what it says? Born on June 26, 1919 – yay me! ;)

6 thoughts on “And the winner is…. the family researcher

  1. Teresa’s post had me thinking about several conflicting dates I’ve found. One of them is for three daughters born during an 11 month period!!! Another being for myself. When I was 4 I had two birthday parties and insisted that I was 5. My poor parents had a hard time convincing me I wasn’t a year older!

  2. I know my grandmother snipped some years off! She was 11 years older than my grandfather, and in the first census after their marriage (and after they moved out of state away from their families), she reported herself as 6 years younger than the had been in every census her parents supplied the info for ( my aunts and uncles tried to tell me they lied so they could take her out of school to care for them sooner — from age 2 on?). She was younger in every census thereafter. My Dad and his siblings always just said there was a discrepancy about her birth year and they didn’t know what it was. I found the birth record!! 1895. :)

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