27 September 2011

Tuesday's Tip: Conflicting Age & Dates

This weekend I was looking at a World War I Draft Registration Card and recording all the information it contained. I noticed some conflicting information with regard to the age, date of birth, and date the form was signed.

The date on the form is September 12, 1918. The form states that the individual's age is 37 and the date of birth is October 15, 1873.

If the individual was born on October 15, 1873, then on September 12, 1918, he would have been 44 years old (a few weeks away from his 45th birthday), not 37. He would have turned 37 in the year 1910. However, if he really was 37 on September 12, 1918, he would have been born in the year 1880.

With about 24 million cards completed in a two-year span, I wonder if this type of error is common. I wish the Registrar would have caught the error in the math. This serves as a reminder to me of why it is so important to analyze each piece of information contained in a document and take nothing for granted.

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