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Lying about age when admitted to workhouse

(43 Posts)
saffyBoo Mon 12-Nov-18 16:37:06

Is there any reason why a women would lie about her age on workhouse admittance records? My great grandmother seems to appear from nowhere on workhouse admittance records saying she was a good few years younger than she was. The same date is on her discharge paperwork and the census later that year. Basically I can't find any other documentation for her apart from later down the line electrol rolls and a marriage certificate from much much later on. Everyone in the family always spoke about how amazing it was she lived untill 90-somthing but that wouldn't add up if you go by the date of birth on her workhouse docs. I'm really confused why she would have lied about her age

Windgate Mon 12-Nov-18 17:13:36

I think a lot depends on how old she actually was and what age she claimed to be when admitted to the workhouse.

ArnoldBee Mon 12-Nov-18 17:16:45

Lots of reasons. Wanted to attract a new husband? Was the work house segregated by age? Was there specific criteria for the work house? Who provided the information? Have you got the right person?

whydoineedanickname Mon 12-Nov-18 17:21:02

Could that be her real age and she lied later on making herself older?

RedFin Mon 12-Nov-18 17:21:04

Would it have made a difference between her being sent to the child/adult section? Was there another family member she wanted to be kept with? Did she maybe just not know her age and guess? Was it to do with keeping a sibling baby by pretending it was her own?

Can you tell us the year she went in, the age she said she was and the age you think she was?

Iputthescrewinthetuna Mon 12-Nov-18 17:24:13

I think maybe PP is right and perhaps wanted to be put in to the same workhouse age group as a sibling.

wibblywobblyfish Mon 12-Nov-18 17:35:09

Have you checked he GRO index for her actual year / quarter of her birth? It's very normal for censuses to be a couple of years out age wise

yamadori Mon 12-Nov-18 18:23:47

You have her marriage certificate, and so you have her father's name and occupation, (and names of witnesses who are possibly relatives also). Have you searched for her father on the census year that you found her, or the previous one? Does it say whether he was deceased on the marriage certificate?

Have you looked for other people with the same surname admitted to the workhouse around the same date she was? Unless it is a very common name, you might find a few leads to follow.

Think laterally and see if you can work out whether the surname might have had different spellings. A lot of people couldn't spell their own surname so couldn't check that it was right, and registrars, officials etc were apt to spell it the way they heard it. Take account of regional accents and pronunciation also.

saffyBoo Mon 12-Nov-18 20:42:26

Just to let anyone know who was kind enough to reply I am just composing a reply with all the relevant info etc xxxx

TryingToSayRightThing Mon 12-Nov-18 20:44:34

Afraid I don't know but would like to follow as this is an interesting thread xx

saffyBoo Mon 12-Nov-18 22:51:27

I probably should have given more details in my previous post I wrote but i quickly wrote it on the school run.

Marriage certificate: I haven't actually got the exact marriage certificate..... She someone a few years later who wasn't the father of my great nan. I've seen the search result on and I tried to place an order for a copy of the certificate but after paying for it I had an email a few days later saying the certificate couldn't be found or didn't exist or something like that even though I gave all the correct info names and numbers like vol and page or whatever it was etc etc etc.

The earliest record I could find for her was she was admitted pregnant into a workhouse in 1910 she says she's 27 c.1883 on the admittance form and discharge form but her real age is 32 c.1878 as per her death certificate..... on the admittance records at the workhouses it states that she requires as she's pregnant and her discharge records show her being discharged with my great nan having given birth to her during her time at the workhouse....... The same name date of birth etc. Its 100%them as their names/ middle names are slightly unusual.

I've checked out different name variations first and surname etc and also tried to cross reference marriages with her first name to men of her surname she gave at time of workhouse admittance and found nothing. My mum said she was extremely religious and having a baby out of wedlock was very odd for someone who religious back then. Which makes me think there's so much more to her story but I have no idea where to she gave her profession as servant and I have also look into the address she gave on the workhouses records and I found newspaper clippings advertising her flat as a place for executive couples or professionals that kind of thing I can't remember the exact wording right now but it was along those lines.

Any help.would be more and appreciated x

saffyBoo Mon 12-Nov-18 22:56:56

Also forgot to say that she was working as a servant when the next census takes place the year after and the "man" of the house obviously completed that census and again her date of birth was off as being 5 years out. So why would she give false information about her birthday?

usertall Tue 13-Nov-18 09:21:48

This is so interesting. Where do you find all this information? I would love to research my family.

lekkerkroketje Tue 13-Nov-18 09:28:49

Knocking 5 years off would increase the chance of finding a man to take her and the baby on. At 32 she might have been considered a bit past it. But that's pure speculation

saffyBoo Tue 13-Nov-18 09:51:12

Usertall just researching names dates locations addresses found on censuses etc

usertall Tue 13-Nov-18 10:16:30

@saffyBoo where do you find census information? I've always wanted to do a family tree and look into ancestors etc.

saffyBoo Tue 13-Nov-18 10:34:10

On it will have info like dates of births addresses occupations etc

StarbucksSmarterSister Tue 13-Nov-18 10:48:46

Find My Past is also very good. A later period than you are looking at but it includes the 1939 wartime census which is invaluable as the 1931 was destroyed in bombing and they didn't do one in 41, not that they would be publicly available yet.

StarbucksSmarterSister Tue 13-Nov-18 10:52:03

Maybe her death cert is wrong? Have you got her birth cert?

StarbucksSmarterSister Tue 13-Nov-18 10:53:56

I forgot to say, the 1939 census includes date of birth, not just age. You could find her on that? If you don't want to fork out for a subscription, I could look her up for you.

saffyBoo Tue 13-Nov-18 12:08:54

@starbucks thanks so much I really appreciate the help but I do have a subscription..... I just double checked 1939 census and her birthday was put as 1878...... So the age all the family believed she was.

It's so odd because no-one in our family knows anything about her where she came from who her family were...... It was always a hush subject like you didn't ask or talk about it.

saffyBoo Tue 13-Nov-18 13:17:16

Does anyone know what this means when put in the remarks section of workhouse discharge paperwork x

CoperCabana Tue 13-Nov-18 14:23:25

How fascinating!

CoperCabana Tue 13-Nov-18 14:24:06

Sorry. Hit send too soon. Meant to say I have no value to add but hope you find some answers!

saffyBoo Tue 13-Nov-18 14:37:17

Thanks x

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