23 November 2013

Aged 66 Years and 6 Months on 6 July 1867

The tombstone for Belinda Newman in Linn County, Iowa, indicates she died at the age of 66 years and 6 months on 6 July 1867. That's what the contract for her tombstone indicated was to be the inscription on her tombstone.

Assuming that the age and date of death are accurate (which is perhaps a big assumption), when does this age and the date on which it was applicable imply Belinda was born?

It is important to remember that a stated age of 66 years and 6 months on Belinda's tombstone does not necessarily mean that Belinda was aged exactly 66 years and 6 months when she died. The number of days could simply have been left off the stone.  The lack of a date is not cause for concern. A tombstone is different from a death certificate form that may have blanks or places for the years, months, and days at the age at death. For the tombstone, it could have been there was not room for additional detail to be included in the inscription or the family could not or did not want to pay for the additional inscription charges.

Because of that, Belinda could have been:

  • as young as 66 years, 6 months, and 0 days.
  • as old as 66 years, 6 months, and one day shy of the next month.
If Belinda was 66 years and 6 months exactly, then she was born on 6 January 1801. This computation is fairly straightforward. 

If Belinda was 66 years, 6 months, and one day shy of the next month, on the next day (7 July 1867), she would have been exactly 66 years and 7 months of age. If Belinda had been exactly 66 years and 7 months of age on 7 July 1867, she would have been born on 7 December 1800.

The earliest date Belinda could have been born on was 7 December 1800.
The latest date Belinda could have been born on was 6 January 1801.

All of this analysis is subject to concerns about the accuracy of the information being provided. This post ony concentrates on using the age to determine a range of dates of birth.

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