Author Topic: Do you think you have ancestors who just lied on their forms?  (Read 1273 times)

Offline jbml

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Re: Do you think you have ancestors who just lied on their forms?
« Reply #18 on: Friday 04 September 20 17:51 BST (UK) »
But the general point is well made.

Nobody has a personal memory of where they were born. They just know what they have been told ... IF they ever asked ... which they might not have done. If they didn't ask, they might have made an assumption, which could be correct or could not.

In the modern day and age, exact date of birth is important to so many things, and we keep meticulous records. Before the welfare state, however, nobody was avidly counting the days to their 60th or 65th birthday when they would qualify for their state pension. In the days before modern education laws, nobody was carefully tracking the date on which a child should start school, or before which they could not enter the workforce. In the days before modern laws on alcohol, tobacco, glue, blade and other sales, nobody was obsessively interested in whether somebody could prove that they were over 18 or not.

So in an age when nobody cared that much about exact age, few people monitored it closely (consider the scene in "Far From The Madding Crowd", when they are in the pub trying to figure out JUST how old the old man actually was ... Hardy was not trying to write a humorous parody ... this was genuinely the kind of way in which people would try to figure it out).

And then, once every ten years, somebody comes along and asks "How old are you? Where were you born? How old is your wife? Where was she born? How old are each of your children? Where was each of them born?" People couldn't remember exactly ... and neither could they remember what answers they had given last time around. So the answers given may vary from census to census. Not really any great surprise there ...

I have always worked on the basis that the most accurate information as to approximate date of birth and place of birth is to be found on the EARLIEST census that a person appears in, unless that is the 1841 census in which case the 1851 census is likely to be more useful (especially if 1841 says they were not born "in county"). That is closest to the event when memory is likely to be freshest and, let's face it, you are FAR less likely to make an erroneous report that a 1 year old is 3 or 4 than you are to make an erroneous report that an 11 year old is 13 or 14.

And of course, the less schooling the person making the census return has had, the greater the likelihood of egregious errors. If they "made their mark" on their marriage certificate ... well ... they're not going to be keeping written records in a family bible somewhere that they can consult when the census form pops through their letter box, are they??
All identified names up to and including my great x5 grandparents: Abbot Andrews Baker Blenc(h)ow Brothers Burrows Chambers Clifton Cornwell Escott Fisher Foster Frost Giddins Groom Hardwick Harris Hart Hayho(e) Herman Holcomb(e) Holmes Hurley King-Spooner Martindale Mason Mitchell Murphy Neves Oakey Packman Palmer Peabody Pearce Pettit(t) Piper Pottenger Pound Purkis Rackliff(e) Richardson Scotford Sherman Sinden Snear Southam Spooner Stephenson Varing Weatherley Webb Whitney Wiles Wright

Offline andrewalston

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Re: Do you think you have ancestors who just lied on their forms?
« Reply #19 on: Friday 04 September 20 18:24 BST (UK) »
Some just didn't know the requested information while others just plain lied.

One of my great grandfathers knocked 5 years off his age when he married; after that his wife kept track, and he missed out on 5 years of pension.

A Thomas Rawson I researched was not actually a Rawson; that was just a name he sometimes used. Most of the rest of the time he used the surname Stafford, but was actually born a Jones! He is consistent with his date and place of birth, and at both his marriages he is Thomas Stafford Jones. I have found neither of his adopted surnames in his birth family.
Looking at ALSTON in south Ribble area, ALSTEAD and DONBAVAND/DUNBABIN etc. everywhere, HOWCROFT and MARSH in Bolton and Westhoughton, PICKERING in the Whitehaven area.

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Offline coombs

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Re: Do you think you have ancestors who just lied on their forms?
« Reply #20 on: Friday 04 September 20 18:36 BST (UK) »
Two Londoners I know, one born 1967 in the East End and one born 1988 in Westminster say "I was born at a hospital in either Walthamstow or Leytonstone" and the other "Somewhere in Westminster". Even now it goes to show how many may not be 100% sure where they were born especially in a big city such as London.

That'll be Whipps Cross Hospital I can confidently say......(the Walthamstow/Leytonstone one)

No idea about Westminster though

Don't be so certain ... my brother (whom I shall not name as he is still alive) was born in 1966 in Walthamstow General Hospital. So that might be the hospital referred to.

Hospital caterers were on strike; nurses sent out to the local fish and chip shop to feed patients. Always arrived cold. Mother vowed never to have a hospital birth again. I was born in 1967, at home in Loughton. Family doctor was Dr Barnado (close relative ... possibly grandson, but the story varies every time I hear it of THE Dr Barnado, whose private residence was Ardmore House in Loughton ... a house which my great grandfather purchased in 1937 or 1938).

My great grandmother (NOT the wife of he who bought Ardmore House ... a different great grandmother) was a cleaner at Whipp's Cross Hospital ...

The only way my 1967 born friend will know is if he got a copy of his birth certificate, and that is probably the last thing on his mind at the end of the day, he knows his DOB which is all that counts really when required to give birth info, as he has said he is the same age as Paul Gascoigne, just a few weeks between them. We need to provide our DOB for many things but rarely our POB. And passports usually give just "Norwich" or "Walthamstow" as place of birth, not the exact location as it is not relevant.
Researching:

LONDON, Coombs, Roberts, Auber, Helsdon, Fradine, Morin, Goodacre
DORSET Coombs, Munday
NORFOLK Helsdon, Riches, Harbord, Budery
KENT Roberts, Goodacre
SUSSEX Walder, Boniface, Dinnage, Standen, Lee, Botten, Wickham, Jupp
SUFFOLK Titshall, Frost, Fairweather, Mayhew, Archer, Eade, Scarfe
DURHAM Stewart, Musgrave, Wilson, Forster
SCOTLAND Stewart in Selkirk
USA Musgrave, Saix
ESSEX Cornwell, Stock, Quilter, Lawrence, Whale, Clift
OXON Edgington, Smith, Inkpen, Snell, Batten, Brain


Offline iluleah

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Re: Do you think you have ancestors who just lied on their forms?
« Reply #21 on: Friday 04 September 20 18:54 BST (UK) »
Oh yes I know some of them lied...some of them only on secondary records ( like census returns) about place of birth or age or how long they were married generally found those lies by researching primary records.
However I know my great grandfather lied on most records as he changed the information according to what suited him at the time and I strongly beleive his mother lied as well on his birth cert and baptism record about who his father was.
Leicestershire:Chamberlain, Dakin, Wilkinson, Moss, Cook, Welland, Dobson, Roper,Palfreman, Squires, Hames, Goddard, Topliss, Twells,Bacon.
Northamps:Sykes, Harris, Rice,Knowles.
Rutland:Clements, Dalby, Osbourne, Durance, Smith,Christian, Royce, Richardson,Oakham, Dewey,Newbold,Cox,Chamberlaine,Brow, Cooper, Bloodworth,Clarke
Durham/Yorks:Woodend, Watson,Parker, Dowser
Suffolk/Norfolk:Groom, Coleman, Kemp, Barnard, Alden,Blomfield,Smith,Howes,Knight,Kett,Fryston
Lincolnshire:Clements, Woodend

Offline markheal

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Re: Do you think you have ancestors who just lied on their forms?
« Reply #22 on: Friday 04 September 20 19:43 BST (UK) »
I had to write to the Registrar General in an attempt to correct an erroneous birth certificate.
Whilst sympathetic, and preferring accuracy to prosecution for the offence, they would only make a correction on receipt of a sworn statement from the registering Mother who had lied in the first place.  Needless to say that this was not forthcoming!
ANSTRUTHER,Worldwide
BENNETT,
BRETT, Sligo
CARNEGIE,
CROCKFORD Hampshire.
ELLIOT,
GAUNTLETT, Worldwide
HEAL, HEALE, HELE, Chew Magna, Somerset
HENRY, Sligo
POPE, London docklands,
PRIDDY, Devon,
STANDERWICK, Somerset,
RIPPINGILLE
Census Information is Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

Offline patty38

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Re: Do you think you have ancestors who just lied on their forms?
« Reply #23 on: Friday 04 September 20 19:44 BST (UK) »
I'm sure some of my ancestors thought that truth was like a piece of elastic and could be stretched to any length, and some of them thought that lying was a way of life so it didn't matter, also that it was okay to "disappear" from time to time.
One thing that I have found though is that they didn't lie about the names of their fathers, proof of marriage is important to woman and for some reason deaths are more reliable than births.
My thoughts are that apart from respectability they had other things to worry about i.e. living and surviving so it didn't matter to them.
Patty
BRIGGS especially WILLIAM b. 1839 MY GREAT GRANDFATHER and MY BRICK WALL.

Richardson - Northumberland and Durham
Briggs - Durham and Sth Wales
Proud, Chapman - Durham
Hetherington - Cumberland/Northumberland and Durham
Eeles - Durham
Blair, Herd - Scotland
Murphy, McKenna, Connery - Ireland
also - Corps - Wear - Hutchinson & Fawell .

Offline frostyknight

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Re: Do you think you have ancestors who just lied on their forms?
« Reply #24 on: Friday 04 September 20 20:15 BST (UK) »
Sometimes it might depend on the way the question was phrased. If I'm asked where I'm from, I say (suburb of Dublin where I've lived since I was 5). However, if I'm asked where I was born, I give a different answer.

Offline jim234j

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Re: Do you think you have ancestors who just lied on their forms?
« Reply #25 on: Friday 04 September 20 20:39 BST (UK) »
I dont know if they lied but some seemed to have little  clue as to their age but, I suppose it came down to who gave the information when the census taker came to the door.   I have one who was 23 in 1840.   26 in 1850  32 in 1860 and then in 1870 they suddenly became 54 which I always figured they were.   I know I have the right person on every census as they never moved.

I dont know what the laws were in early UK census records as to who could give  the information  and perhaps someone on this thread could tell me?
 In 1850 as a example, who could give the information when the census taker came to your door because if it was me when I was 16 I do not think I would know how old my parents were although I did know where they were born so likely would of guessed at age.


As to place I can use my sister as a example.  All my family was born in the same city except my sister and she was born in another province as my dad being military we were posted often.  Eventually we ended up back where all the rest of the family was born and for many years she thought she was born where we were so I think it would be easy to not know.



 

Online Erato

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Re: Do you think you have ancestors who just lied on their forms?
« Reply #26 on: Friday 04 September 20 21:06 BST (UK) »
"Do you think you have ancestors who just lied on their forms?"

Yup, in small ways and large.  One took twenty years off her true age [she must have been very young looking].  My great grandmother's birth was registered under a false name; her whole identity was fake.
Wiltshire:  Banks, Taylor
Somerset:  Duddridge, Richards, Barnard, Pillinger
Gloucestershire:  Barnard, Marsh, Crossman
Bristol:  Banks, Duddridge, Barnard
Down:  Ennis, McGee
Wicklow:  Chapman, Pepper
Wigtownshire:  Logan, Conning
Wisconsin:  Ennis, Chapman, Logan, Ware
Maine:  Ware, Mitchell, Tarr