I have always thought it is kind of freaky not knowing a birth date of an ancestor. I know in a lot of rural communities the county seat was far from where a family lived so a birth was sometimes reported and recorded up to a year after the event. However hard it may have been to remember the exact date the child was born, at least they could remember the year. Not so with my paternal Grandfather. In this case, I have proof of his date of birth but the year is up for grabs!
Charles Hughes was born on December 20th. His Headstone says he was born in 1868, his death certificate says 1865, my Aunt Margaret’s handwritten genealogy says 1864, a page from the Hughes Family Bible says 1861 and the family tree in my baby book says he was born in 1867. This is a seven-year gap! There are no birth records to be found anywhere in the State of Missouri, not even in Benton County where it is said he was born. His parents had all of their 11 children in a span of 24 years and there were several gaps between children so I can’t definitely say, “This is the only year he could have been born.” I have sent away to the state archives in Jefferson City and they can’t find anything. All of my Grandfather’s siblings passed away long before I was born. My Dad and all 10 of his siblings have passed as well the one in 1988. Out of over 60 first cousins, there are only 3 of us left, me and two much older ones. Neither of them knows for sure either. I have all but given up on ever finding the year of his birth.
Another freaky thing about my Grandfather is that his first marriage was in the year 1900. He would have been between 32 and 39 years old. In those days most people didn’t wait that long in life to get married for the first time. He had only waited 9 months between when his first wife died and when he married my Grandmother. I have copies of both of these marriage records but I can’t find anything prior to these. Unfortunately, the name Charles or Charley Hughes was a common name in Missouri. I have found a couple of possible records but the information on them is too vague. Both of the records just state that he is over the age of 21 at the time of the marriage. Both of his other marriages were in Benton County, MO and I was told that the actual marriage licenses were lost during a tornado back in 1910. So, this makes it more difficult.
I know having the lack of proof regarding these events is pretty common, but I find it especially “freaky” that both of them happened to Grandpa Hughes.
I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.
864, A page from the Hughes Family Bible says 1861 and the baby book family tree says he was born in 1867.