Possible explanation of date differentials!

+6 votes
112 views

I found a link to what may be something that has confused many, including me, at the differential dates recorded in many documents, depending on the country the documents are from as well as the time of death in those countries, due to when they adopted the Julian calender as opposed to when the Gregorian calender was accepted there: http://blog.myheritage.com/2015/01/understanding-dates-five-common-mistakes-to-avoid/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+MyheritageBlog+%28MyHeritage+Blog%29

asked in The Tree House by Pj Patty G2G5 (5.3k points)

1 Answer

+3 votes
That is a part of the problem but there is much more involved. Sometimes people just made guesses because nothing was recorded and they may have even changed their age for other reasons. The other problem is in some early records the person recording the information may have made mistakes in dates or spelling because of how they heard it.  The bottom line is that we should go with the preponderance of evidence because we may never know the absolute truth.
answered by Dale Byers G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)
I agree, but my roadblock doesn't have any early records and I have gone by the age he was listed in an census, a family bible and the age listed when he joined Captian Hazlett's Militia during the Revolutionary War as well as pension application and his headstone giving the date of April 14, 1733. Many researchers of this same James Shields have not been able to come up with parentage either, but have him listed as a birth year of 1743 to 1747. By all records I've found as well as others, the birth place is definitely wrong, as it lists Adam County, which wasn't formed until 1810. Between his date of birth and date recorded as married, Adam County was part of 3 other counties, leaving me to best judge he was born in Cumberland County. His father-in-law's will is dated May 13, 1795 of Strebann Township in the County of York and State of Pennsylvania. This exerpt is from his will, as William Douglas just made his mark after one of those listed below had written and both signed as witnesses:

York County "afs" Before me Jacob Barnitz Register for the Probate of Wills and granting of Letters of Administration in and for the County of York in the State of Pennsylvania, personally came Abraham Sickes and Henry Slagle Esq. the two subscribing Witnesses to the foregoing instrument of Writing as and for his last Will and Testament, and that at the time of the doing thereof he the said William Douglas was of a sound and disposing mind, memory and understanding to the best of their knowledge and that they subscribed their names thereto as Witnesses in the presence of the said testator and at his request, and also in the pre sense of each other at the same time.

Abraham Sickes Henry Slagle.

Sworn and Subscribed before me at York the 24th day of June 1795.

J. Barnitz Reg.

SOURCE: Wills: William Dugles/Douglas, 1795 Strebann Twp., York County, PA: Will of William Dugles (Douglas) dated May 13, 1795, Filed June 24, 1795.

This will mentions daugher Margret intermarried with James Shields, who were married in 1771. York, Lancaster and Cumberland Counties were all part of what is now Adam County, which I've searched all 3 for James but find no record in them, but do find his enlistment from Cumberland County, which bordered York in this time frame.

I do find other Shields in all 3 of the above counties and within a few years of his date of birth, but only 1 can I find parentage, which can be traced back to Ireland, with his descendents moving to Virginia and well listed under the Stockton-Shields family who's sons went on to make names for themselves as a senator as well as part of the Lewis and Clark expedition among others. I cannot link my James to any of them, but I do have a paper written by an ancestor claiming an uncle stayed in Pennsylvania that had been visited by a nephew of said Stockton-Shields who wrote and published the history of the Shields Family. All of the dates and locations in the published paper are very close to what documentation I do have of my James in Pennsylvania, but I cannot find proof of him having siblings nor parents. Apparently he was hatched under a log!

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