Author Topic: Baptism date before birth?  (Read 1572 times)

Offline relatedtoturnips

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Baptism date before birth?
« on: Thursday 21 May 15 17:06 BST (UK) »

Hi folks,

Ive come across the situation, where an ancestor has a baptism date, which contradicts his birth dates in the census.

His birth date varies from 1792 to 1796. Im not worried about that, as peoples birth date can vary on census forms. Yet his baptism date is for 1790!

Im sure its the same person, so I can only fathom he didnt know his exact birth date. He was illiterate it seems.

Has anyone else had a similar situation?

Many thanks.




Offline groom

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Re: Baptism date before birth?
« Reply #1 on: Thursday 21 May 15 17:15 BST (UK) »
It could well be that he didn't know his exact year of birth. Have you ruled out the possibility that the first child died and that he was given the same names?

I spent ages wondering why my great x3 grandfather's age was always a few years out on censuses and also on his headstone. After careful checking I found that the baptism I was looking at was of a child who died aged one, and that my great x3 grandfather was then given the same names when he was born 3 years later.
Census information Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

Offline relatedtoturnips

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Re: Baptism date before birth?
« Reply #2 on: Thursday 21 May 15 17:27 BST (UK) »
It could well be that he didn't know his exact year of birth. Have you ruled out the possibility that the first child died and that he was given the same names?

I spent ages wondering why my great x3 grandfather's age was always a few years out on censuses and also on his headstone. After careful checking I found that the baptism I was looking at was of a child who died aged one, and that my great x3 grandfather was then given the same names when he was born 3 years later.

I like your reasoning. The problem is, I cant find a person of the same name who died, which would account for the date discrepancy. Also If it was the case that a child of the same name died. Why didnt they baptize the other child of the same name when he was born years later?

This one will keep me awake at night! lol.

Offline msr

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Re: Baptism date before birth?
« Reply #3 on: Thursday 21 May 15 18:30 BST (UK) »
Bear in mind Turnip that in the first census available - 1841 - your ancestor would have been around 50.  Even if he had known his exact birth date he could still have been in the hands of the enumerator who may have decided that he looked much too young to have been born so early.
How were the other members of the household treated?  Ages absolutely spot on or wide of the mark?

I do find a lot of guestimates, with the ages changing every census (which they would of course, being 10 years apart, but I hope you get my meaning).

Even worse would be knowing your age to be 35 and someone deciding that it couldn't possibly be correct, and judging at least 10 years older!   



Offline lizdb

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Re: Baptism date before birth?
« Reply #4 on: Thursday 21 May 15 18:33 BST (UK) »
Remember also that ages in 1841 census are rounded , usually down to the nearest 5 years.
Edmonds/Edmunds - mainly Sussex
DeBoo - London
Green - Suffolk
Parker - Sussex
Kemp - Essex
Farrington - Essex
Boniface - West Sussex

census information is Crown Copyright from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

Offline msr

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Re: Baptism date before birth?
« Reply #5 on: Thursday 21 May 15 18:49 BST (UK) »
Exactly Liz.   

So you're 52?  I'll put 50.   So, by the next census would he remember what happened, or continue with his 'new' age.

Don't think it would work nowadays, in fact we know it wouldn't.  THEY know everything about us.

Offline relatedtoturnips

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Re: Baptism date before birth?
« Reply #6 on: Thursday 21 May 15 19:30 BST (UK) »

All good pointers, thank you.  ;D