In working with Evidentia during our Google+ Hangouts on Air with DearMYRTLE, there was a brief discussion about the Age Calculator feature. I wanted to expand on this just a bit and show why it can be an invaluable tool in your research and analysis.
If we look at the Analysis screen in Evidentia, it shows some of the claim entries I’ve made for my great grandfather, Louis P. Lanctot. Using information from just one source (WWI Draft Card), we are told that Louis was 29 years old on 1 Jun 1917 (the date he signed the card). We are also told that his birth date is 17 Sept 1888.
When performing the analysis of your evidence, the more precise you can be, the better, right? Enter the Age Calculator. You can access it by clicking on the toolbar:
When you open it, you’ll see three date fields: start date, age, and end date. Below, you can see that I plugged in Louis’ age and the date he signed the Draft Card.
Hmm … the age calculator is telling me that his birthday must fall between June 2, 1887 and June 1, 1888. But wait – he gave his date of birth as September 17, 1888. That falls outside the parameters for him to be 29 years old. Uh oh. Conflicting evidence. And this is only one document!
So now I must address this conflicting evidence. Because I have several other sources entered in my database, I can review all the evidence alongside his Draft Card, including two censuses in which his parents were the likely informants (and would have known when he was born):
In the end, his age is consistent with other, more reliable information, and it’s likely that he miscalculated his year of birth by one year when he was filling out his Draft Card (and apparently every other form he completed in his lifetime, because he was always off by a year, either earlier or later, than his actual birth date).
By simply using a calculator (1917 – 1888 = 29), I would have come to the conclusion that his age and birth date were consistent with each other. But by taking the extra step of using the Age Calculator, I have a much clearer picture of what the evidence is telling me, and can ultimately come up with a much more sound conclusion.
Give it a try. You might find out that your ancestor was terrible at math, like I did!
You can try Evidentia for free by clicking here (affiliate link).
Do we share ancestors? Email me: lostancestors AT gmail DOT com
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