Which should I believe

+5 votes

My Great Grandmother I have conflicting evidences of her Birth.  I always knew she was the most recent of my ancestors to arrive in Canada from Scotland at the beginning of the 20th century.  My Grandfather told stories of visiting is cousins Scotland when he was in Great Britain during WWII and I knew for fact she was born in Edinburg area.

From my research based on Information I knew about her Parents (Father Robert and Mother Elizabeth or Lizzie) I believe I found the record of her arrival in Canada 

"Canada Passenger Lists, 1881-1922," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2QS4-NTT : 11 March 2018), Robert Baxter, Apr 1905; citing Immigration, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, T-499, Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario.  

This puts he as age 11 at the time so she would have been born 1894.

The Canadian Census of 1911 has bein 18 at the time and being born in December 1892 


However the Government of Nova Scotia;s Marriage Records show her being Married in February 1910 and being 19 years of age  - Interesting enough according to the Census record above her 1st son was Born 2 months later in April (Which is not a family secret I had ever heard before)  This would have made her birth year 1891 


I am assuming the the Birth month is December as that seems consistent in later census and other  records I have found. So I have 3 possible birth years 

1891 Based on Marriage Record from 1910

1892 Based on the 1911 Census the year Later (this is also the year on her Tombstone

1894 Based on Passenger list from 1905 when she arrived in Canada

The 1921 Census confirms she arrived from Scotland in 1905 it also claims she was 28 at the time so would make a birth year of 1892 


So I have a few possible Theories 

1. On the Passage over her parents lied about her age because it was a cheaper ticket for a 12 year old (They are Scottish so it does fit the Penny Pinching Stereotype)

2. They lied about her age and she was only 16 and not 19 when she was married (She was 7 months pregnant at the time and appears to be a church wedding so it is possible they did to try and lessen the Scandal) - this would have made her Birth year 1891 and at some point they later they later mixed up or forgot about this lie and claimed 1892 as year of Birth which she maintained until her death.

I believe number 2 is most probable any thoughts - I have been having issues confirming her birth in Scotlish records as Elizabeth Baxters being born to a Robert was not uncommon. 

Any help.

WikiTree profile: Lizzie Anderson
in Genealogy Help by Brian Nash G2G6 (8.9k points)

This post should be edited to correct the WT ID# to Baxter-7313, as Great Grandmother was not named Larry.

Thank you for catching that embarassing typo

It happens to all of us! 

(I managed to leave the terminal d off Ireland earlier. blush Caught it before someone else picked up the error.)

The age 16 does not seem unreasonable to be married in the Church back then especially with parental consent so it is possible they didn't need to lie about her age.  So maybe a mistake there in the age.  The idea of getting cheaper passage by lying about her age seems plausible as well.  However you have two sources that point to 1892, the census record and the tombstone.  I would tend to agree that 1892 seems to be the best choice.  I know my grandparents were adamant about their age as the grew older, proud to be as old as they were.
I kind of like  the Idea of misleading to shipping company to safe a few bucks it is more the age on Marriage which seemed to decrease the next year that gets me.

2 Answers

+13 votes
Best answer

Given that, on the passenger list, Robert (age 55, thus born about 1850) was described as a miner with a wife Elizabeth (age 52, thus born about 1853), son John (also a miner, age 27, thus born about 1878), and daughter Elizabeth (age 11, thus born about 1894), it seems quite reasonable that they are this family in the 1901 Scotland census, from Lesmahagow in Lanarkshire: Robert (coal miner, age 50, thus born about 1851), wife Elizabeth (age 48, thus born about 1853), son John (coal miner, age 22, thus born about 1879, birthplace given as Ayrshire, which agrees with passenger list), and daughter Elizabeth (age 8, thus born about 1893, birthplace given as New Craighall in Midlothian). This makes a birth December 1892 seem quite reasonable.

by Anonymous Geschwind G2G6 Mach 8 (83.8k points)
selected by Brad Foley
You also need to take into consideration they might have been illiterate. The recorder might have made a guesstimate, the census was before/after the birthday.
+2 votes
I would like to see https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Help:Research_Notes denoting these sources and analysis on https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Baxter-7313
by David Wilson G2G6 Pilot (104k points)

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