Tuesday, January 22, 2013

How old are you, really?

On her marriage 1890 marriage record, my 2nd great grandmother, Mary J. Ennis, is listed as being 20 years old. That would put her birth in 1869 or 1870. Yet, in the 1900 US Census she is listed as being born January 1873. The Date of Birth (DOB) inconsistencies don't end there. In the following four US Censuses, her age is listed differently each time. Below is a quick glance at the Census year and the approximate year of her birth based and her approximate age) on the Census record:

1910 - 1871 (39yr)
1920 - 1874 (46yr)
1930 - 1876 (54yr)
1940 - 1870 (70yr)

Was she lying to the Census taker? Was she lying to herself or her family? I don't know. Likely none of the above.

I know two things about Mary, her marriage took place November 2, 1890 in Boston and she died January 16, 1945. I also know the births of her children.

Based on all of this information, using familysearch.org, I was able to find a valid birth of Mary Ennis on January 14, 1869 in Dublin, to a William Ennis and a Margaret Shaw (the names of her parents as detailed on her marriage record.) I further researched this possibility and discovered that the Ennis family is historically represented in Dublin.

That would have made Mary 75 years old when she passed away in 1945, two days short of her 76th birthday.

Below is a more accurate representation of her age throughout the years.

1910 - 41yr
1920 - 51yr
1930 - 61yr
1940 - 71yr

I bring all of this up to show the amount of work it takes for a genealogist to get accurate information. All I was looking for was a birth date and/or age and it took a couple of years to get one and a lot of virtual running around.
1890 Marriage

1910 US Census

1900 US Census

1920 US Census

1930 US Census

1940 US Census
I bring all of this up to show the amount of work it takes for a genealogist to get accurate information. All I was looking for was a birth date and/or age and it took a couple of years to get one and a lot of virtual running around.

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