How do I know that someone I found on a census is the right ancestor? My g-grandpa is on one census 32 years old but the next shows him as 43 and the one after he's 50! How do I know if it's the same man?
Olive Tree Answer
Hi Jenny. It's a bit confusing I know but remember that when the census taker came around, he might get his information from a child in the house, or a next door neighbour. So there is often a discrepancy with ages from once census year to the next.
It also depends on the question asked. If they asked "How old are you now" there would be one answer. If they asked "How old will you be on your next birthday" it would be different.
Also many people did not know their year of birth so were not 100% sure of their age. My own 3rd great grandfather wrote a letter to his mother in the early 1800s asking her what year he was born!
Don't worry too much about age differences. There might be several years difference so in your case, you're lucky as it's not that far out.
The thing to do is check other facts - names of children, of the spouse, occupation, even the location. Do things "fit"? If so then chances are you have the right man.