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Researching an ancestor in the Navy from Aghada/Cloyne is really starting to confuse me!

Birth/baptism registers give one date of birth but Navy/census/death records give a younger date of birth.

I can understand a boy wanting to join the Navy saying he was older than he really was but why would he say he was younger?

If this was a one-off then I'd not be too worried  -  I'd check for errors, siblings that died, different parents, etc -  but I now have four ancestors from County Cork who were in the Navy and their birth reg./baptism dates are earlier than expected ... by about 2 years ! 

Any advice or suggestions would be very much appreciated.



Sunday 1st February 2015, 12:54AM

Message Board Replies

  • Hi,

    I know that the census returns for 1901 and 1911 can give different years of birth for the same person.

    one was of checking the correct date if after 1865 is to check both the church and state record of the birth of the person.

    Kevin Terry

    Cloyne1 Cork

    Sunday 1st February 2015, 08:15PM
  • In the British navy at one time Officers were allowed servants, according to rank they were allocated, a Captain could have up to four servants for every 100 men in the crew, an admiral 10 to 16. Other tasks such as boatswains, cooks, carpenters could all have servants according to the total number of crew.

    For each servant they were given the pay of an ordinary seaman but were only obliged to pay one fifth to the servant, so using boys must have been attractive. If you wanted to earn some money, save being a drain on the family, going to sea as a young boy may have been more attractive as a servant than a full deckhand, so saying you were younger kept you off the main tasks but got you the experience and some money, just a thought, if a family started that way you can see why it may have been replicated,

    Also of course I am not certain that birthdays, especially in the poorer families were really always celebrated, these days we get cards, "5 Today" and so on, in those days I am not sure it was the same. So if later on someone asked your age, on the spur of the moment if you are not 100 percent certain you can see how errors occurred and your answer may change according to the time of year and what period you wer born it. Just a few thoughts, could be miles off the track that is what came to my mind.

    Anyone who knows the Walshes who emigrated to Moosejaw Canada between 1905 and 1914 I would love to make contact.


    David W

    Monday 2nd February 2015, 08:58AM