Most Viewed Stories
Genealogy details for grandfather are no joke
Today is April Fool’s Day, and also my grandfather Crawford’s birthday. He would have been 113. Or 112. Or 118. And, no, I’m not joking.
How can someone have three ages? Well, I suppose it depends on the sources of the information. This is the quandary of genealogists, you see. My mom and I tend to delve into this quite often; she almost all of the time now, me when I have a moment to spare.
I remember my grandfather Crawford very fondly. He was ancient even back in the early 1980s when I was a child. He loved to give my brother and sister and I candy bars and used to sit in his old green recliner in the living room listening to the radio while chewing on a King Edward cigar.
The Kentucky Death Index puts his official age of death on Sept. 16, 1985, at 92, thus giving him a birth year of 1893. I remember the obituary that ran in the paper said he was only 86 at the time of his death. His cemetery stone lists his birthday as April 1, 1898, if I remember correctly. Research roadblocks, right there.
My family tends to believe that he was older. For one, he signed up to join the military to go fight in the Great War (that’s World War I, for those of you who don’t know). If he had been born in 1898 or 1899 (as another source says), he would have been barely old enough to join up.
Here’s where photos can come in handy. We have a picture of him in uniform (of some kind), and we have a copy of his draft card. He has a veteran’s memorial on his grave. Does this prove definitively what year he was born? No. But it does give us clues as to whether which date is more correct.
My mom and I love puzzles, and I love digging up details, sifting through information, weighing it, evaluating it. The mystery of which birth date is correct may never be solved. But for those of us who love research, this is pure fun.
And, no, I’m not joking.