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Why would someone lie about their age?


EmmaT2008 5 | 34  
13 Jan 2009 /  #1
I ordered my grandfathers birth certificate. He was born in 1928 but according to the church they said no he was born in 1924. No record for 1928. I ordered it as it had the same parents names. I received it and the year is wrong yes and the month as well. I am not even sure if it is him now! The village he was born in is very very small so there were not that many people.

If someone were to lie about their age why would they?
osiol 55 | 3,922  
13 Jan 2009 /  #2
Some people have lied to either get into the army or avoid the army. There could be many reasons, although historically, the army has probably been a common theme.
Wroclaw 44 | 5,387  
13 Jan 2009 /  #3
There was a time in the UK when the age of adults was rounded up on the census.

The main reason for changing age would probably be for work purposes... possibly for marriage too. Although it was usually women who became forgetful in this area.
loco polaco 3 | 353  
13 Jan 2009 /  #4
no. there are age discrepencies all over from that time... poland was extremely rural.. war torn... registering your kids wasn't a priority at all.. my dad has two official birthdays too. he was born during ww2.
Polanglik 11 | 303  
14 Jan 2009 /  #5
If someone were to lie about their age why would they?

I'd have to agree with Osiol

people have lied to either get into the army or avoid the army

..... I know that my grandfather lied about his age, pretending to be older than he was, so he could join the army.
Lir  
14 Jan 2009 /  #6
know that my grandfather lied about his age, pretending to be older than he was, so he could join the army.

Yes, I heard of that also but that was usually when they had to add a few years on so they could join the Polish Army, I noticed in Emma's case it is the reverse i.e. Four years younger. So I wondered if it was just that the records were wrong ?

Maybe Emma has or could get hold of his army papers/records and see what date is on there ?
Wroclaw 44 | 5,387  
14 Jan 2009 /  #7
I ordered it as it had the same parents names.

It is possible that the child born in 1924 died in infancy. Then a second child was born in 1928 and given the same name.
The second child may or may not have been baptised in a different church.

This sort of thing comes up quite often in British genealogy.
Lir  
14 Jan 2009 /  #8
This sort of thing comes up quite often in British genealogy.

That's interesting. :)

Wonder if Polish people did the same ? I'm not sure that was the case but then I am no expert.

It's just if Emma's grandad was in the Polish Army, then she may be able to cross check the dates perhaps. Cos there was a lot of documentation associated with being in the Polish Army and then being discharged etc etc
osiol 55 | 3,922  
14 Jan 2009 /  #9
It is possible that the child born in 1924 died in infancy. Then a second child was born in 1928 and given the same name.

I too have heard of this kind of thing. It could be the same in Poland, that some families would use the same name for a child as a previous one that had died very young. If anyone has heard of Aphex Twin (weirdy-beardy UK music producer), he shares his name (Richard James) with a brother who died before he was born, so in some cases, this still happens.
Lir  
14 Jan 2009 /  #10
I too have heard of this kind of thing. It could be the same in Poland

But I'm not too sure Polish people ever did that though?
osiol 55 | 3,922  
14 Jan 2009 /  #11
Ah! But how sure were you that anyone else did this or do this either?
Lir  
14 Jan 2009 /  #12
Ah Ha ! We shall be here all day at this rate :)

It's just that British ways were not Polish ways and I feel that as Poland is and always has been a deeply Catholic Country, then they would not have used the same Christian name in the family in this way. Deeply rooted beliefs and customs probably would have stopped anyone from doing that in Poland as they were very superstitious. But I could be very wrong and don't mind admitting it ? Would be nice to hear from other Polish people to see if this sort of thing did happen in Poland in the 1920's.

I wasn't aware they did this in Britain because I was raised in a Polish household and brought up as a Polish child so British traditions on the whole passed me by :)
osiol 55 | 3,922  
14 Jan 2009 /  #13
superstitious

It is a superstition that leads to this practice. I don't know of it as a common practice here. The example I gave of Mr. Aphex Twin is one of a Welsh family. I think knowing how common this kind of thing is Europe-wide may be of some help in understanding this.
Lir  
14 Jan 2009 /  #14
I think knowing how common this kind of thing is Europe-wide may be of some help in understanding this.

True. I agree :)

It is a superstition that leads to this practice

Maybe. But I don't think they would have followed this type of superstition.

I'm Welsh too ! But I wouldn't dare to even talk for the Welsh , cos I can't even speak Welsh !

:)
Wroclaw 44 | 5,387  
14 Jan 2009 /  #15
Here is the possible reason for the wrong month. (paragraph 2. Last sentence)

I can't explain the wrong year.

My thoughts on the reason why, seem wrong

rootsweb.ancestry.com/~polwgw/naming.html
ArcticPaul 38 | 233  
14 Jan 2009 /  #16
4 years difference is not apparent in old people but obvious in kids.

Can you look into your Grandfather schooling?

1924. Start school around 5 (1929)
1928. Start school around 5 (1933)

Even in later schools a 16 year old trying to pass as a 12 year old would be a non-starter.
OP EmmaT2008 5 | 34  
14 Jan 2009 /  #17
Reading other views -
I also thought that maybe he had a brother who died with the same name. But then I thought but where is his certificate still he needs to be registered himself?

Thank you for your comments and suggestions everyone you have good ideas. If you go to en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humniska that is the place my grandfather was born. I thought at first a mistake had been made with the birth date in Poland. But I have his details for when he came to England. I don't think he was in the proper army as he was "too young" but he did arrive here with the 2nd Polish corps. I have some papers to say he did forced labour in austria and that he was sent to Italy. These are the papers that mention his birth date. Also my nan showed me a letter from when he was registered at our local doctors and the date matches. So we aren't just going by what we knew when he was alive we have a few papers that say 1928. Maybe you are right maybe he did not want to go in the army?

He was very very young when he came here and when he met my nan and she is convinced that if he were older than what he said she would have noticed, he looked very young.

But then I do not know. I want to believe it is him, but I don't want to on the other hand incase it is not and I have the wrong person. It is so confusing :)

Also Artic Paul: I am not sure about the schooling is there a way of finding records of schooling in Poland? If so it would be good to try it.
loco polaco 3 | 353  
14 Jan 2009 /  #18
But I'm not too sure Polish people ever did that though?

never heard of that in PL.
McCoy 27 | 1,275  
14 Jan 2009 /  #19
I know that my grandfather lied about his age, pretending to be older than he was, so he could join the army.

both of my great grandfathers did the same to join the Pilsudski's army and fight agaist bolsheviks
rdywenur 1 | 157  
14 Jan 2009 /  #20
But I'm not too sure Polish people ever did that though?

Did Grandpa tell you that also. What makes you think Poles are any different than any other human on this planet. It all started with Eve.
sjam 2 | 541  
16 Jan 2009 /  #21
He was born in 1928 but according to the church they said no he was born in 1924.

By using a false date of birth maybe his family were simply protecting him from being deported to Germany as a forced worker during the German occupation when thousands of teenagers and older adult Poles were forcibly taken in street-round ups and sent en masse to work in German industries and agriculture.
drummy 1 | 6  
16 Jan 2009 /  #22
It is possible that the child born in 1924 died in infancy. Then a second child was born in 1928 and given the same name.
The second child may or may not have been baptised in a different church.

that is very possible my parents did that the baby girl before me died and they name me after her its quite common
Patrycja19 63 | 2,699  
16 Jan 2009 /  #23
My Grandmother lied on her immigration record. says she was 21 when she was only 17
I dont know what age was considered legal to leave the country at that time, but I would think it was 21 or so.. I have to agree with the military suggestion above by osiol because if you are 18, I believe they drafted you to the army back then.. not much of a choice.. so if they say hey, I am 21 and get a immigration ticket to get out of the country before they come calling for military service..

my grandfathers brother left for that reason alone. but they left ( him and friends)
and came to the United states and they tried to put my great grandfather in jail over
it so my great uncle had to write a letter back saying he stole money from his father
and left that way and it wasnt his fathers fault.
sjam 2 | 541  
17 Jan 2009 /  #24
I have to agree with the military suggestion above

In my opinion this is a very unlikely scenario given the time period.

At this time (1920s-30s) many young Poles (boys and girls) joined the Polish scouting movement which was a very different type of organisation than scouting in other countries; it was much more akin to a paramilitary organisation similar to army cadet corps in UK.

When war broke out these Polish scouts invariably enlisted (volunteered) into military units proper and without hesitation; many that were under age gave false dates of birth to be able to join the fight for their country. In the countryside there were also the paramiltary Forrester battalions which also had junior branches for young Poles to join these units mainly transformed into military units of the Polish underground resistance army or partisan groups composed of adults and teenagers.

I believe it would have been exceptional to want to avoid military service at this time.

You will undoubtedly have read about the later scouts heroic exploits during the Warsaw Rising? Poles were (are) probably one of the most patriotic nations on earth...it is in their DNA.

In my opinion if one was giving a younger false age it was more likely to have been to avoid a Nazi German dictate that was age-related such as deportation to forced labour. This age was from fourteen upwards.

This age restriction was in practice abandoned later in the war as German losses in battle mounted and German war industries needed more labour to continue production so very young children (from Poland and other German occupied countries of Eastern Europe and USSR) were also deported to the Reich as slave labourers. Young children's small fingers were very adept at assembling small munnitions and many were worked to death in German ammunition factories.
osiol 55 | 3,922  
25 Jan 2009 /  #25
I believe it would have been exceptional to want to avoid military service at this time.

I agree, but I still think it is likely that people would have lied about their age to get into the army.
sjam 2 | 541  
31 Jan 2009 /  #26
I agree, but age was falsely given upwards to join the military and downwards to avoid deportation as forced labour.

He was born in 1928 but according to the church they said no he was born in 1924.

So he was saying he was four years younger than he actually was, hence my suggestion it was to probably avoid something age related such as German decrees such as forced labour minimum age; I know several Poles that were 16 years old during early WWII who said they were 14 years old to avoid just this scenario.

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