Birth date off by quite a bit

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Birth date off by quite a bit

Postby weixiehong » 29 Jun 2014, 11:08

Hi all,

I have recently found my great-grandfather's birth certificate from Siderno, RC.

I know it's him because all the details match (father, mother, place, etc...). But the date of birth listed on the Italian cert. and ALL his US documents is off by quite a bit. I've heard of people here on this subject with a 2-3 day difference but this is a full 3+ weeks!

All US docs say July 5, 1886. The actual cert. from comune says July 29, 1886. Has anyone seed such a big discrepancy? And if so, is it a deal-breaker for a consulate even if all other details match?

Thanks as always.

P.S. I also have his military records that show the birth date of July 29th (so I'm assuming that's right and the US docs are just wrong).
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Re: Birth date off by quite a bit

Postby adelfio » 29 Jun 2014, 20:14

Yes there are sometimes bigger discrepancy especially between US and Italian records

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Re: Birth date off by quite a bit

Postby carubia » 10 Jul 2014, 11:25

3 weeks is not an unusually large discrepancy. Sometimes the discrepancy is over a year, and in a completely different month. But even a discrepancy of 1 day is unacceptable at a lot of consulates. It really depends on where you apply for recognition. Even if the consulate doesn't accept the discrepancy, it can be overcome, either by amending documents, obtaining a properly worded letter from the comune or a vital records officer, or at worst getting a court order.

Also, the date of birth on the birth record from Italy is always the "correct" date. Everything else must match that.
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Re: Birth date off by quite a bit

Postby Italysearcher » 11 Jul 2014, 16:58

Many Italians celebrated their 'onomastico' and not their birth date. Is it possible it is this date he used in the US? you can check for Saint names and their dates at www.namedaycalendar.com/ or at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:I ... lic_saints
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Re: Birth date off by quite a bit

Postby weixiehong » 16 Jul 2014, 14:35

Wow! Italysearcher, that might be it.

The full name was Vincenzo Domenico Antonio Cherubino and his birth cert. says 29 July 1886.

The US docs. say 5 July.

I see on the name day calendar link 5 July is for "S. Antonio Maria Zaccaria sacerdote"

Would that make sense? And would it account for the discrepancy?

Fascinating. Thanks.
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Re: Birth date off by quite a bit

Postby jennabet » 06 Aug 2014, 23:37

Ciao weixiehong, I just checked the Italian calendar I use in my home. It's issued to me every year by our farmacia up the street. July 5 is indeed the day Italians celebrate the feast of S. Antonio M. Zaccaria. However, I doubt that your ancestor used the date of July 5 in reference to his own third name of Antonio. And I can't see any other connection as to why he may have used this date because the saint who's day is celebrated on July 5th is from Cremona, a region in Northern Italy and your ancestor is from a province in the southern region of Calabria. Also, I think that if he were referencing his own name, Antonio, he would have used the date of June 13, which is the very significant feast day of St. Anthony of Padua. St. Anthony of Padua is the Antonio for whom many males all over Italy are named. It's possible this could just have been a transcription error on the part of the authorities in the USA but I do think it's a big enough discrepancy that your consulate will question it. You probably have some more research ahead of you.
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Re: Birth date off by quite a bit

Postby 113yearslater » 07 Aug 2014, 02:21

This is interesting to me -- I have a birth date discrepancy on a particular marriage license that I am very confident is for my great-grandparents, but it's a sticking point that I'd like to have explained.

She was born late October 1875, date taken from her birth record in Italy. I'm quite confident that it's in fact hers.

The 1900 census states that she was born October 1877. Not a problem -- most people took the opportunity to shave a few years off fairly consistently when they emigrated, and every member of the family is two years older than they claimed to be on that census.

Her flippin marriage certificate says July 16 1870-something! Again, I'm quite confident that it's her, but blast it, that July 16 really came out of left field on me. I found a saints day calendar but no one popped up on July 16 that might indicate it was a namesake's feast day. (Her name was Maria Isabella.)

Urk. I am still mystified as to why the census and the marriage license have different MONTHS, and yet they are both absolutely the same person.

Anyhow, I'm reassured to read that this isn't entirely unusual, even for the months to have been a bit juggled.
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Re: Birth date off by quite a bit

Postby carubia » 07 Aug 2014, 04:33

Were they married in the US? What does it say for her birth date on her death cert or her or her husband's petition for naturalization?
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Re: Birth date off by quite a bit

Postby jennabet » 07 Aug 2014, 19:25

Ciao 113yearslater. Regarding age discrepancies. In many cases, these types of discrepancies occur as the result of a simple language/cultural difference. In the Italian language the way to ask a person's age is to say, "Quanti anni hai"? This translates as, "how many years do you have", and not, "how old are you". An Italian will always answer this question by giving you th exact number of years he has lived even if he has not yet reached his next birthday. For example, Matteo was born Oct. 8, 2011. You would say that Matteo is 3 years old but Matteo would tell you that he has lived 4 years, as calculated below:

Oct. 8, 2011 thru Dec. 31, 2011 - Year 1
Oct. 8, 2012 thru Dec. 31, 2012 - Year 2
Oct. 8, 2013 thru Dec. 31, 2013 - Year 3
Oct. 8, 2014 thru Dec. 31, 2014 - Year 4

Fortunately the Italian consulates are aware of these types of discrepancies and do know what to look for so in some cases, documents may be accepted as is.
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Re: Birth date off by quite a bit

Postby carubia » 08 Aug 2014, 01:58

I've never heard of a consulate applying the logic that jennabet is espousing with regard to birth dates. (What she's saying doesn't apply to discrepancies in months or days, anyway.) If it's a strict consulate such as NY try to make every birth date for someone in your "line" on every document match exactly. OTOH, when documents, such as marriage certs and sometimes death certs, list ages instead of dates of birth dates, they generally allow a lot of leeway, much more than just a year.
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Re: Birth date off by quite a bit

Postby jennabet » 08 Aug 2014, 11:02

Unfortunately, there will always be "experts" on Italian citizenship who have never heard of language or cultural mis-understandings because they themselves have very little, if any, knowledge of the Italian language and culture and have never lived in Italy and may have never even been to Italy.

Most, if not all Italian consulate employees, however, were born and raised in Italy. Italian is their first language and they do indeed understand these types of language/cultural differences and know what to look for. The most recent experience I have personally been involved with was in 2011 when the citizenship officer at the San Francisco consulate accepted, with no questions asked, the one year date discrepancy on the documents submitted by my companion, who was recognized as an Italian citizen within two months.

Since this is a public forum, as with any public forum, participants will take from it whatever information they feel is of the most benefit to their own, personal circumstances, as no two cases are the same.
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Re: Birth date off by quite a bit

Postby mler » 08 Aug 2014, 23:48

I think your companion was quite fortunate that he wasn't applying in NY. Actually, I agree with you that many Italians state their age differently. Most Americans would say "I am 40 years old" after their fortieth birthday. My grandmother, however would have stated that she was 41 because she was in her forty first year.

However, the year of her birth did not change no matter how she expressed her age.
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