Sources for the birth date of Daniel Krinn, Civil War soldier, disagree whether he was born in 1842 or 1843, but all sources except one that have been located concur that he was born on 1 December. His date of birth was Dec. 1, 1842 in “General Affidavit” dated 28 April 1913, Civil War pension file of Daniel Krinn, Claim No. 628706; Certificate No. 835785, National Archives, Washington, D.C., stating specifically “… that his father’s record of births was destroyed by fire …” and “… that he fixes the date of his birth from his father’s record showed and from what his mother often told him … That he was born Dec 1-1842.” The 1900 U.S. census, Grant Co., IN, pop. sch., Franklin Twp., ED 31, p. 17, dwell. 353, fam. 372, Daniel Krinn household, indicated that Daniel was born in Dec. 1843. And Daniel's death record, for which his son, George, was the informant, says that Daniel was born 1 December 1843.
One lone source has a completely different day and month for Daniel’s birth – he was born 12 January 1843, according to Peggy Davidson Dick, Jahn Funeral Home Records, Wells County, Bluffton, Indiana, 1922-1956 (Bluffton, Ind.: Privately Printed, 1976), alphabetical listing. Why the discrepancy?
Lightbulb over the head time! In either the original funeral home record or some derivation, Daniel’s date of birth probably was written in military style – day-month-year, but completely in numbers as opposed to spelling out the name of the month. So 1-12-1843 was interpreted as January 12, 1843 instead of 1 December 1843.
I have not yet seen the original funeral home record, so I do not know where this error occurred. It could have been a misinterpretation on the part of the abstracter, or but it’s also possible that the funeral director or his clerk made the mistake when the information was copied into the official records.
The lessons here are several:
• Indexers and abstracters – Be careful when interpreting dates that you do not make assumptions. It is quite possible that some dates in this original source were written in military style and some were not. In often is best just to write what is seen and to leave the interpretation to your readers.
• Researchers – Keep an open mind when you encounter conflicting evidence. Consider why the error might have occurred. And when possible, always try to seek out the original record to see what that record actually says.