What’s in a date?

Elza Shepard
Elza Shepard

Elza Shepard celebrated his 93rd birthday with big fanfare surrounded by friends and family. There was even a write up in the local paper about it.

The only problem is Elza was never 93 years old. He was born anywhere from 1845-1847 according to census records from 1860-1930. The most accurate census would be the 1860 one where his is living with his parents Hartley and Susannah Shepard and he is 13 years old. Most of the census records agree with the 1846-1847 time period.

His death record indicates he was born in 1841. Death records are notorious for having this kind of information wrong, especially the early ones where birth records don’t exist. I can say with great confidence that it is incorrect. Elza probably forgot when he was born and over time the date changed and was mis-remembered.

So in actual fact when Elza died he was no more than 88 years old. A great age to celebrate anyway.

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