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Conflicting birth dates William Swindon

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Conflicting birth dates William Swindon

Postby TanyaS » Sat Dec 10, 2016 4:47 pm

I am searching William Swindon. Born 1824-1926. William Swindon was born in Marlborough, St Mary.
I am sure his parents were Thomas and Sarah Swindon. Sarah's maiden name was Smith.
In the baptism record he was baptized in 1824. I also found him in the 1841 England census in Marlborough, St Mary with a DOB 1826 age 15. After more research I found his British Army records, (45th foot reg). Again his DOB is 1826 on the Army records. At some point he was stationed in the Cape Colony (South Africa) From there he went to Natal and married Martha Margaret Knipe in 1858, on the marriage record he was still with the 45th Reg stationed in Camp Durban. He died in 1910 at the age of 85 years and 6 months.

Is there a reason for all these conflicting birth-dates?
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Re: Conflicting birth dates William Swindon

Postby sdup26 » Sat Dec 10, 2016 6:32 pm

It's not unusual to find a birth given in records as a year or two 'out' from the actual birth year. We have a lot of paperwork to remind us of our exact birth date - passport and driving licence to name just two, but generally, our ancestors didn't. It's great if you get the same birth year for an ancestor on different records down the years, but most of us aren't so lucky and have to allow some leeway, as long as other facts fit.
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Re: Conflicting birth dates William Swindon

Postby AdrianB38 » Sat Dec 10, 2016 10:15 pm

Putting my tongue in my cheek - what conflicts?

Remember(?) that ages for adults (15y and older) in the 1841 census were rounded down to the nearest multiple of 5y below. A 16y old (say) would therefore appear in the 1841 as 15.

I think that the age at death is a pretty good match. Birth dates were, they say, seldom as major in people's lives as they are now - so it is perfectly normal to lose a year or so in any decade. It's almost that I'm more suspicious that I've got the wrong person if an 80-odd year old has an exact match on their age in the 1800s.

Which seems to leave the Army.... This is interesting. I've done nothing like enough research into soldiers from the 1800s to be certain but I tracked 2 brothers into the Army in the 1820s and 1830s and both understated their age by something like 2y. Given that neither was yet 20, surely there should be no age drift by that much at their age... Yet there was. I did ask one of the military forums but no-one could think of any age-related cash bonus that might have encouraged a fairy story. I think my comment would be that I am yet to be convinced that Army ages are necessarily accurate.
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Re: Conflicting birth dates William Swindon

Postby TanyaS » Sun Dec 11, 2016 7:20 am

Thanks for clearing this up for me.

It is the first time I am dealing with a soldier and army records and I found that you can get a lot of information on them.
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