[Ger-Poland-Volhynia] Birth Dates -- record from old church book or U.S. government documents?

pnswork at aol.com pnswork at aol.com
Thu Apr 9 12:03:24 PDT 2015

Hi Peter,

    As Gary indicated, later records can be suspect for many reasons.  Records that were created at the time of the event are not subject to many of these influences.

    Another factor to consider is that human memory can also be suspect, especially when the events referenced are from a time when things like birthdays weren't always celebrated on a regular basis, or the calendar wasn't strictly observed (such as on a rural farm in a poor community).  One's own "memory" is only as good as what one was taught while growing up.  If someone were to be told that their birthday was on a certain date, that is what they will believe, regardless of what the actual date was.  After all, they will have no memory of the actual event themselves.

    Sounds like Gary's father was very loose with the truth on several occasions! :-)

Good luck!


-----Original Message-----
From: Gary Warner <garyw555 at gmail.com>
To: Peter <chamdo4ever at gmail.com>; SGGEE <ger-poland-volhynia at sggee.org>
Sent: Thu, Apr 9, 2015 7:47 am
Subject: Re: [Ger-Poland-Volhynia] Birth Dates -- record from old church book or U.S. government documents?


My father was born- that is all I know for sure!

1.  I have a note
from his father that says he was born Henrich Jaeger 
on 6 Aug 1901

2.  I
have his Manitoba birth record that says he was born Henry Jager 
on 12 Aug

3.  I his USA Army papers that say he was born Henry Warner on 12 Aug

1903 in Harvey, Illinois (he lied to be young enough to enlist, and said 
birth record got burned in a courthouse fire)

4.  I have his Manitoba
marriage record that says he was born Henry 
Warner in 1909 in Harvey, Illinois
(he lied to be younger for my mother, 
who was 22 years younger than he was,
and 16 years difference was more 
acceptable than 22)

5.  I have his
Illinois delayed record of birth that says he was born 
Henry Warner on 12 Aug
1904 (filed to get his Social Security).

So, yes, I would say to use the
earliest record of any event.   You are 
also correct that in double dating,
that the first date is the Julian or 
old calendar, and that the second date is
the Gregorian or new 
calendar.  And, we always use the second date in our

BUT, my grandparents were married in the Ukraine in 1889 on 31 Dec
(Julian) or 12 Jan 1890 (Gregorian).   They always insisted that they

were married on New Years Eve in 1889, which is NOT correct for 
but the new date was not New Years eve.

Gary Warner

On 4/9/2015 6:38
AM, Peter wrote:
> Greetings List,
> My cousin and I are having a friendly
little debate.
> I have the birth record of an ancestor of mine from the
Plock church
> books in the 1870's. I am 100% confident that this is my
> I realize that in Plock at that time, they were coping with both
> Julian calendar and the Gregorian/Western calendar. My ancestors birth
record lists two dates and I have always used the second, western
> date.
Said ancestor then emigrated to the United States. On all the official
> U.S.
records (Census, draft registration, naturalization, etc.) the
> birth date is
something other than what the Plock church book list it.
> The year is
occasionally the same, occasionally one or two years
> later. The actual day is
never the same between the Plock record
> (Julian or otherwise) and the U.S.
records. The only thing that is
> consistent throughout is the birth month
(when it is given).
> When listing this ancestor in tree, chart, or database
my firm
> instinct is to go with what I firmly believe his actual birth date
> be as the primary birth date: the western date in the Plock church
book. That being the first official record of my ancestor after his
> birth, it
is unconscionable for me to consider otherwise.
> My cousin on the other
hand, uses the Plock church book as one of the
> "alternate" birth dates and
tends to pick one of the varying dates
> listed on the U.S. government
documents as the primary birth date,
> pointing out that said ancestor himself
appears to never have used the
> Plock birth date. He also chooses to rely on
what the U.S. government
> believes the birth date to be, and hence trusts the
U.S. government
> over the Plock church book. I flatly refuse to do that.
So, list readers, I'm not asking you to settle this friendly debate
> between
me and my cousin as I don't think it can be settled -- I will
> always use what
I believe to be the most accurate birth date which is
> what is listed in the
Plock church book. I think that to do otherwise,
> defies the true facts of
> But I am curious as to what other list readers do in situations
> this where the birth date in old church books varies from what an
individual used in official documents during their lifetime after
> Finally, to be fair to my cousin, in this case my ancestor is
not his
> ancestor. My cousin did concede to change this specific birth date
> his public tree to list the Plock church book date as the primary
> birth
date for my ancestor rather than what the U.S. government used.
> I very much
appreciate that.
> Thank you,
> Peter Schmidt
> Ger-Poland-Volhynia site
> Ger-Poland-Volhynia at sggee.org

Ger-Poland-Volhynia at sggee.org


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