Tangling the Generations

[note: Originally I spelled “thresh” as “thrash” throughout the entire post. I’ve corrected it, but I’ve made the notation here because, as some readers have pointed out, the spelling based on the pronunciation brings back a nice memory.. In my case Grandma would talk about making large meals when the “thrashers” were there. I can almost hear her saying it.]

Reviewing my grandfather’s farm ledger, I noticed who he hired to come and thresh grain for him in 1944. The last name was one I recognized from my childhood, so I looked him up on the 1940 census. He was easily found living not too far from my grandfather and was about his age–just seven years older.

The last name was the same as one of my Dad’s long time friends and I assumed that the man who threshed grain for my grandfather was the father of my Dad’s friend as their fathers were not too far apart in age. Turns out I was wrong. The man who threshed grain for my grandfather was the grandfather of my Dad’s friend.

My grandfather was thirty-seven when my father was born. In 1944, my grandfather would have turned 41 and the threshing man would have turned 48. My grandfather was the father of a three-year-old child at that time and the threshing man was the grandfather of a child the same age. It’s not too difficult to see how that could happen.

A reminder about age, chronology, and how there could either be two or three generations in a time frame. It’s up to the researcher to determine, if they can, which number of generations is correct.

Just don’t assume.