Inconsistent birth dates with my Irish ancestors?
May 5, 2014 10:55 AM Subscribe
I'm researching my Irish ancestry and am befuddled by inconsistent birth dates. When I compare my ancestors' Irish baptism records (baptisms being close after birth) to their much later American records, the birth dates almost never match up, being sometimes up to six years apart.
posted by FelineoidEntity to Society & Culture (12 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
The following examples are siblings who all came to the USA:
--Mary, she was baptized in 1831, but US census records routinely suggest that she was born in 1833
--John, he was baptized in 1832, but his tombstone says he was born in 1837!
--Peter, he was baptized in 1834, but his tombstone says he was born in 1836.
--Catherine, she was baptized in 1837, but a US census record says 1841 and her tombstone says 1843!
--Timothy, he was baptized in 1844, but his newspaper death notice suggests that it was 1848!
They all seem to claim that they were younger than they actually were in later records. I'm quite sure that I have the right people on both sides of the Atlantic.
Was this normal with 19th century Irish people?
Did they celebrate or otherwise give significance to birthdays like we do today?
Was there any reason why they wouldn't know or would even lie about their birth dates?
Is there any scholarly/reputable resource that can help me understand this particular issue?