Week 17 – Document

This week I share how I worked out my dad’s true birth year using the 1921 Census.

When I was growing up I remember dad telling me that there was confusion surrounding his year of birth. From what I remember he said the government had his age a year younger than what was recorded in the family bible by his mother.

Dad turned 65 in November and retired in December. I remember being in my final year of high school, so he would have retired in 1985. This would mean that the government had his birth recorded as 1920.

Dad died on December 6, 1999 at the age of 80. Which of course would mean he was born in 1919.

As birth records for 1919 and later have not been made public yet, I turned to the 1921 census. Of course they didn’t make it easy to locate the entry for the Rines family on the forms. The transcription of the surname has been recorded as Kines.

Based on my analysis of the census document I determined that dad was in fact born in 1919.

Excerpt of 1921 Canadian Census, https://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/census/1921/

The 1921 census was taken in the first half of the year. Dad is the final Rines entry (Carl) listed on the document. According to this he was aged one. The heading on the document stipulates that the age recorded be the age at the person’s last birthday. If dad had been born in 1920 then he would have been approximately seven months old at the time of enumeration. As he was approximately six months away from his next birthday he wasn’t yet two. So I believe that according to the info on the census document dad was indeed born in 1919.

Carl Rines, Circa 1940, taken at family home 1087 Division Place, Kingston, Ontario, Canada, original held by Tracey Orchard, Brisbane, Australia.

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