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From: Lee Hoffman <>
Subject: Re: [TMG] Conclusions
Date: Fri, 14 Jan 2011 12:21:34 -0500
References: <003901cbb409$003304c0$00990e40$@net>
In-Reply-To: <003901cbb409$003304c0$00990e40$@net>

Teresa Elliott wrote:
>I do understand that memories can fade, they can be replaced with what we'd
>like to remember. But if a woman tells me her children's birthdates, I
>don't need to see birth certificates to believe that date is true. Now I
>think we do agree on one thing. If my cousin states her child was born on 11
>Jun 1963 and the child's birthday states 10 Jun 1963, I am going to record
>both dates. It's possible the child was born on the Tenth, and Momma was
>just aware of the birth on the Eleventh. (having been born close to
>midnight, I know my mother did not meet me until the next day. <G>)

I have gone by my firt name, middle initial and last name since I
first joined the Navy (although I am still called by both first and
middle names in my hometown). Imagine my surprise at receiving a
letter from my mother addressed to me with my first name, middle
initial, and middle name. At the time, my mother would and been
about my present age and while I am sure that her mistake was a "slip
of the pen", I can now understand why. I have caught her "slips of
the tongue" (which I now have <g>) many times and she acknowledged
them when I mentioned it. But how many times did I not catch her
saying something wrong when I did not know or did not realize
it? Probably not many and maybe none, but I don't know.

In the case of your aunt and her statement about your brother's name,
I would be in agreement that she was correct since the conversation
was about a specific point. But in a more general conversation where
a number of things are being said (even for a 20 year old), things
can be stated incorrectly. Most are probably caught by the speaker
or someone else immediately. But some may go unnoticed and if
transcribed that way can become fact.

In most cases, these "slips of the tongue" are trivial and they don't
really matter. Yes, a mother will definitely remember her child's
birthdate. But a mother can also be thinking of another (possibly
related) date and state that date as when her child was born without
realizing it. Although, she will probably immediately correct
herself. I have been present a number of times when someone has done
this. There were a number of times when my grandmother reversed the
dates of her children. Another relative mixed up the date of one of
her children and never realized it (I realized it later when going
through my records -- checked and she was wrong). The date was for
something that we had talked about shortly before.

As for names, a grand uncle of mine was given a different name than I
ever knew at birth. His parents changed the name a few weeks
later. In the meantime, the census was taken and that is the only
record of his original name since the then birth registration was
irregularly filed - his not being filed. I had found one other
record of that original name, but had dismissed it as an unknown
person, but it turned out not to have any other information of consequence.

Lee Hoffman/KY
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A user of the best genealogy program, The Master Genealogist (TMG)

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