WHY SOME ITALIANS HAVE AGE DISCREPANCY!

Over 25 million Italians have emigrated between 1861 and 1960 with a migration boom between 1871 and 1915 when over 13,5 million emigrants left the country for European and overseas destinations.
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sceaminmonkey
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WHY SOME ITALIANS HAVE AGE DISCREPANCY!

Postby sceaminmonkey » 28 Oct 2010, 00:47

Today I went to the Our lady of MT. Carmel church in manhattan to pick up a marriage certificate for my GG parents. the wonderful and extremely sweet and helpful young woman there found my certificate. I then asked the age and birth date since I seem to have two on various documents. I believed my GGF was born on march 5th 1887. it turns out that was his baptismal date! apparently it was common she informed me for some italians to use their saints of home town or their baptismal date as their birth date. It was also not uncommon for some italian children to be baptized late. My GF who was extremely catholic was not baptized until he was 7! I finally figured out the myster why there was a 7 month difference in the dates! I feel like I unlocked a secret. did anyone else have this experience? I hope it sets someone else on the right track!

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Re: WHY SOME ITALIANS HAVE AGE DISCREPANCY!

Postby Italysearcher » 28 Oct 2010, 12:23

Sometimes the date difference is simply the way the date is written.
Is 5/11/1887 the 5th of November or the 11th of May. That is a seven month difference. Europeans write the date in alphabetical order (day/month/year)
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Re: WHY SOME ITALIANS HAVE AGE DISCREPANCY!

Postby DeFilippis78 » 31 Oct 2010, 12:52

Also, Ive been told sometimes a person might not have known their actual date of birth and choose as their birthday the day the town celebrated their patron saint.One of my ancestors dates is off by about 2 weeks. And upon further research I realized the date of birth he was using was the feast of the patron saint of his town. But also, as noted above, we write the month first where in Italy the day is first. That can cause a lot of confusion.

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Re: WHY SOME ITALIANS HAVE AGE DISCREPANCY!

Postby jacobarber » 31 Oct 2010, 18:49

I've heard from a few people that Italian birthdays were often based on date of conception (if known) rather than the date they were actually born. This may have come from a wicked long game of telephone, so I have no idea how accurate my info is.

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Re: WHY SOME ITALIANS HAVE AGE DISCREPANCY!

Postby JavaisLife » 01 Nov 2010, 14:29

This is really interesting. How can one go about finding the their ancestors towns' Patron Saint?

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M

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Re: WHY SOME ITALIANS HAVE AGE DISCREPANCY!

Postby JavaisLife » 01 Nov 2010, 14:30

okay - I asked too quickly. God, I love Wikipedia...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apice

;)

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Re: WHY SOME ITALIANS HAVE AGE DISCREPANCY!

Postby sceaminmonkey » 01 Nov 2010, 14:43

I had not heard the conception theory . But I was aware if the saint theory which for some was true . Apparently it turns out back then birthdays were not a big thing.

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Re: WHY SOME ITALIANS HAVE AGE DISCREPANCY!

Postby johnnyonthespot » 01 Nov 2010, 15:12

sceaminmonkey wrote:I had not heard the conception theory . But I was aware if the saint theory which for some was true . Apparently it turns out back then birthdays were not a big thing.


It was probably a combination of being "not a big thing" and the simple fact that nearly everyone was illiterate and probably unable to read a calendar or even write the date of birth in a family bible.
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Re: WHY SOME ITALIANS HAVE AGE DISCREPANCY!

Postby DeFilippis78 » 01 Nov 2010, 16:57

johnnyonthespot wrote:
sceaminmonkey wrote:I had not heard the conception theory . But I was aware if the saint theory which for some was true . Apparently it turns out back then birthdays were not a big thing.


It was probably a combination of being "not a big thing" and the simple fact that nearly everyone was illiterate and probably unable to read a calendar or even write the date of birth in a family bible.


This makes the most sense to me. After all, most couples dont know an EXACT day of conception. Only an estimate

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Re: WHY SOME ITALIANS HAVE AGE DISCREPANCY!

Postby sceaminmonkey » 01 Nov 2010, 17:03

I am curious why it was not a big thing though? I mean my GGM was off by a couple years she used her baptismal date. what caused this though? why was this the tradition? I know we all make a big deal here in The good old USA about birthdays but why did italians not make a big deal back then. considering the average lifetime was shorter.

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Re: WHY SOME ITALIANS HAVE AGE DISCREPANCY!

Postby DeFilippis78 » 01 Nov 2010, 17:07

Ive read a lot has to do with how much death there was. Its very sad but people died regularly and new life came and went. Maybe it was hard to celebrate knowing the person could be gone soon? Also, the baptismal date is important because thats when they believe the child is adopted into Gods family. So they put more weight on that date then an actual birth date

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Re: WHY SOME ITALIANS HAVE AGE DISCREPANCY!

Postby johnnyonthespot » 01 Nov 2010, 17:20

Italian infants were often baptized on the say of birth or within a few days at most, for the simple reason that so many children died in the first few weeks or months of life.

According to Trafford R. Cole's Italian Genealogical Records: How to Use Italian Civil, Ecclesiastical & Other Records in Family History Research :

Without baptism, a person cannot achieve paradise, and if a baby dies soon after birth without baptism, it must remain in a state of "limbo" for eternity. As a result, the practice of the church for centuries has been to baptize children as soon after birth as possible. In earlier centuries, due to the high risk of infant mortality, baptism was usually performed on the day of or the day after birth. It was rare when two or more days passed between birth and baptism. After a difficult birth, if the child seemed unlikely to survive, the midwife was sanctioned by the church to perform the sacrement herself. If the child died, this baptism was considered sufficient; if the child lived, the ceremony was repeated by the priest.
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Re: WHY SOME ITALIANS HAVE AGE DISCREPANCY!

Postby DeFilippis78 » 01 Nov 2010, 17:27

Thats why baptism was so extremely important to them. It is today as well although the church no longer goes with the "limbo" view. Pope Benedict changed it.

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Re: WHY SOME ITALIANS HAVE AGE DISCREPANCY!

Postby sceaminmonkey » 01 Nov 2010, 17:28

thats weird. My GGF was baptized seven months later, My GGM a few years later and my grand father was not baptized till he was seven which I know to be true because he told me himself. he was born 1916.

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Re: WHY SOME ITALIANS HAVE AGE DISCREPANCY!

Postby DeFilippis78 » 01 Nov 2010, 17:32

Is it possible they were not Catholic and then converted later on?


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