Author Topic: Anderson / Paterson age differences on census and death certificate  (Read 395 times)

Offline lv426

  • RootsChat Senior
  • ****
  • Posts: 251
    • View Profile
Anderson / Paterson age differences on census and death certificate
« on: Tuesday 20 March 18 11:28 GMT (UK) »
Hi all, i just had a query in regards to ages that are shown on census and other paperwork not matching.

I know in the 1841 census they apparently rounded down to the nearest 5 but even taking that into account the ages are quite different.

I am not sure if this is the lady in question telling little white lies about her age  :P or the way the person who wrote it down changed it?

This is the information i have

I have Christian Anderson born to James Anderson and Elizabeth Ford in Reedyloch Berwickshire on the 22 Sep 1802.

I have her dying in Coldingham, berwickshire in 1856 name Christina aged 52 married to a Alexander Paterson

However when i looked up the 1841 and 1851 census they are out a lot

i found one in 1841 Alexander Paterson 35, Christian 25??? as well as 5 children aged from 20-4 also they had a Mary Anderson aged 65 living with them who i am not sure who she is, she had a sister Mary but in 1841 should have been only 33ish

In 1851 i Have them in Coldingham Berwickshire owning a farm Alex Paterson is 52, Christian 40, one of the sons Alexander (jr) matches in age to the previous census as he was 9 in 1841 and 19 in 1851 and i am guessing their daughter Elizabeth/Betty is the same 7 then 16, but they had a daughter Isabella who was 4 and should have only been 13-14 and doesn't show in the 1851 (couldn't find her doing a quick check to see if working or with relatives)

In short  :P

Christian being "25" in 1841 when even with rounding up by 4 to 29 is still around 10-14 yrs difference??

in 1851 she added 15 years to herself and he added 17!! I know they were hard times back then but that too much hehehe  ;D
 
Mary Anderson doesn't show up on the 1851 census so i assumed she either died or moved in with another family?

Has anyone else had such huge differences in stated ages?

Thanks in advance.
ANDERSON - Berwickshire/Selkirkshire
ARMISTEAD
BENNETT
DARLEY
DEWS -
DISNEY -France/UK
EARLL 
EMOND - Selkirk
FORD
KENNEDY
LEADER
STUBBS
TUNNOCK
WILKINSON

RootsChat is the busiest, largest free family history forum site in the country. It is completely free to use. Register now.
Also register instantly with Facebook or Twitter (and other social networks). Start your genealogy search now.


Offline IJDisney

  • RootsChat Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 173
  • Census information Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk
    • View Profile
Re: Anderson / Paterson age differences on census and death certificate
« Reply #1 on: Wednesday 21 March 18 15:03 GMT (UK) »
Hi,

A number of possibilities spring to mind;

1. Are you relying on transcripts or are you working with an image of the actual record? Transcribers make errors. Certain numbers can look similar to each other, so check the original if you have not done so.

2. People didn't always know the year they were born, or if they did they might not be that good at the math to work out their age. We can check the subjects' ages via the registers, look at other censuses, work it out, and see the errors. But people didn't have quick access to those records and often lacked the numeracy. They worked it out by guesswork and context - "I was married at eighteen and that tree was planted about a year later which was about the time Johnny was born and Johnny is over twenty now. So I'm about 39". The 1841 enumerator than rounds down that rough age to 35, when the real age is 44!

3. People lied, or gave the first figure that came into their head.

4. It was not always the individual people themselves giving their age. The husband might be home and guess the wife and children's ages, or the age of anyone else in the house. It might be an elderly relative who is the only one home, or even a child or a visitor. The enumerators had a deadline to meet; they might not have been able to return later to a house for more accurate figures. If no one was home they may have had recourse to a neighbour or a passerby for the information.

5. The enumerator misheard or miswrote the information.

6. The census was taken early in the year. So someone in the 1841 Census born in 1811 could truthfully say they were 29, because their birthday fell after the census was taken. Its a small difference, but it can compound the other problems.

7. The age differences from the censuses are minimal for Alexander, but greater for Christian. It might be compounded human error, but is it possible Alexander had two wives called Christian?

8. Census discrepancies to one side; are you sure you have the correct baptismal record for Christian?

RootsChat is the busiest, largest free family history forum site in the country. It is completely free to use. Register now.
Also register instantly with Facebook or Twitter (and other social networks). Start your genealogy search now.


Offline terianne

  • RootsChat Senior
  • ****
  • Posts: 413
  • Census information Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk
    • View Profile
Re: Anderson / Paterson age differences on census and death certificate
« Reply #2 on: Wednesday 21 March 18 22:22 GMT (UK) »
Try using  Maxwell ancestry website you can enter a name and it will search all the 1841, 1851 & 1861 census's in the Scottish Borders - you might find Mary