Just because a date is inscribed in stone does not mean it is necessarily more accurate than any other source containing a different date. Errors can still be made. Stonecutters may be working from handwritten notes that are difficult to read. The informant may have been misinformed. The stone may have been cut and erected decades after the person died. The inscription may be difficult to read. The purchaser of the tombstone is usually responsible for the information it contains.

A tombstone is a source like any other.



2 Responses

  1. There could be a story behind the wrong date, other than plain error or not knowing…
    My husband’s grandmother altered her “official” date of birth to disguise her age when she had his mother at age 15. It was quite a surprise when he discovered her actual dob while working on family history. And a good friend of mine, born at home in the late 1930’s, orphaned at 16, created records to make herself 2 years older so she could be the official guardian of her 6 younger siblings. I don’t know what her gravestone will show… but she retired at 65 when really 63…

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