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

Peter chamdo4ever at gmail.com
Thu Apr 9 17:37:09 PDT 2015

Thank you very much Paul. I understand all the points you made, and
agree with everything you have to say.

Original church book records, for the win!


On Thu, Apr 9, 2015 at 3:03 PM,  <pnswork at aol.com> wrote:
> 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!
>     -Paul
> -----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?
> Peter,
> 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
> 1901
> 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
> his
> 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
> records.
> BUT, my grandparents were married in the Ukraine in 1889 on 31 Dec
> 1889
> (Julian) or 12 Jan 1890 (Gregorian).   They always insisted that they
> were married on New Years Eve in 1889, which is NOT correct for
> genealogy,
> 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
> ancestor.
>> I realize that in Plock at that time, they were coping with both
> the
>> 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
> to
>> 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
> history.
>> But I am curious as to what other list readers do in situations
> like
>> this where the birth date in old church books varies from what an
> individual used in official documents during their lifetime after
> immigrating.
>> 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
> on
>> 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
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