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Swindells family in Cheshire and Stockport in particular.

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Re: Swindells family in Cheshire and Stockport in particular

Postby kiwilong » Thu Jun 01, 2017 10:26 pm

Good morning sdup26.
Although i have a timeline for James it's all a bit tenuous and perhaps one of the facts i feel pretty confident about is his birth year (unless he didn't actually know himself what year he was born)I have his Navy discharge papers and they are very clear regarding age because of the calculation needed to work out his pension.
He attested at Manchester on the 14th Feb 1824, age 17 years 0 months 0 days. So, he must have told them that the 14th Feb was his birthday and he was 17. Now he may actually have been younger than 17, perhaps 15 or 16 giving a birth year of 1808/09 and lied accordingly but it seems unlikely that he would claim to be younger than he actually was.
The calculation for service length based on the discharge date of 3rd March 1846 was 22years and 18days less 14 days for a court martial sentence and 1 year for joining underage, i.e. 21 years and 4 days.I tried finding out what was the joining age for the Marines but don't have an age yet. It must have been younger than 18 for other ranks, midshipman, etc.
I estimate that James was involved with my g g grandmother, Mary Maloney, a widow, not more than 18 months and yet this changed the family name to Swindells thereafter. kiwilong.
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Re: Swindells family in Cheshire and Stockport in particular

Postby AdrianB38 » Fri Jun 02, 2017 6:13 am

As an incidental point - I did find one case where someone in the Army was recorded on entry as being younger than they were, so it's not impossible. (I think that it was clear from the date of their baptism). I asked on either the Victorian Wars Forum or its Napoleonic equivalent and nobody knew of any upper limit or bonus that might be payable to younger soldiers so it was all a bit baffling.

There was also another chap where a whole page of his comrades were assigned birth-dates that just happened to exactly match the date that they joined. Memory is a bit hazy but one possible conclusion was that the Admin didn't really care about exact dates so just slapped in the date of joining. Another possibility is, it seems to me, that they had been boy soldiers (drummer boys etc) and when they reached a certain​ age, on that birth-day, they were upgraded to "proper" soldiers, signing the Attestation forms that day, but with the boy soldier service not mentioned. Although I'm not convinced that the other evidence supported that view.

Really, all I want to do, is convince people that while you should start with the dates on the paper, it is by no means impossible that, shock horror, the dates are wrong for unclear reasons, and you need to look at the full set of data to see if it makes sense. As I think is being done in this thread.

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Re: Swindells family in Cheshire and Stockport in particular

Postby kiwilong » Sat Jun 03, 2017 1:22 am

Thank you AdrianB38 for your thoughts regarding ages, etc.
Good advice and i think it is always a mistake to take dates and ages at face value when researching family history. Treat all with suspician is the best policy but didn't someone say that if you cannot prove a fact to be wrong there's a good chance it is correct, well something like that.
From my James Swindells military record it seems likely that 18 was the official joining age for the Marines, in 1824 anyway.
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