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Wrong dates on gravestones

Discussion in 'General Genealogical Queries' started by Helen7, Aug 9, 2019.

  1. Helen7

    Helen7 LostCousins Star

    I wonder how common it is for gravestones to bear incorrect - and thus potentially misleading - dates in their inscriptions?

    On a recent visit to a cemetery, in search of graves of my relatives from that village, I found a gravestone commemorating one such family - a husband and wife and their daughter and son-in-law. The modern, smart-looking marbled headstone was clearly erected following the most recent interment, that of the daughter in 1991.

    The inscription gave the date of death of the mother as 14 January 1929, aged 53 years. However, the only death registration in the right name and district in the late 1920s was in the first quarter of 1927, aged 53, which fitted with her birth in late 1873. It looks like her grandson (who presumably ordered the headstone following the death of his mother) knew she died at 53, and presumably the day/month of her death, but got the year wrong by 2 years. He got his grandfather's death date correct - he died in 1956 aged 90 - but then he would have known his grandfather, whereas his grandmother died before he was born.

    It got me thinking as to how common such errors are on gravestone inscriptions? Probably not that unusual, but I wonder if others have come across similar mistakes? Personally, even though all my grandparents died before I was born, I always knew what years they died (though not the exact dates!)
  2. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    Quite common, in my experience, especially when (as in this case) referring to an event that took place some years before. Memorial inscriptions may be written in stone but they're just as likely to be wrong as paper records.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. Pauline

    Pauline LostCousins Star

    I have a few examples of this - and of differing ages. One example of the wrong date was apparently done when the person's widow died some 33 years later, but another looks more likely to have been done not that long after the person's death.

    I also have an example from 1831 of a gravestone "typo", and wonder if the family got a reduction in the cost as a result:


    The burial register has the age as 57 which is probably more likely than 47.
    • Thanks! Thanks! x 1

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