On 30 Mar 2010 at 17:43, Jean Wood wrote:
It has been interesting watching this debate.
Just a little sideways anecdote and cautionary tale here:
a few years ago I was chatting to a woman running a stall at an
antique fair. She confessed that for many years she had knocked 10
years off her age - vanity - and succeeded. All her papers were in
accord with this error which was believed by all the authorities
concerned. (I have no idea how she did it!) Approaching retirement she
had no idea how to put this right, as she now wanted to claim her old
age pension without being punished for any attempt at fraud!(Though
whether any technical fraud had been committed, I do not know - I
merely made a mental note to keep my history straight!)
I have no idea what became of her. She was about 66/67 when we spoke
and she was working weekends on the antiques markets to build up a
retirement income. At that point she still had not resolved the
I doubt she had committed any offence in law. Were this to be the case, just about
every film star actress, pop singer and supermodel would be guilty of a criminal
However, given the easy accessibility of the GRO birth indexes on the Internet now, I
do confess to having a quiet smile when yet another famous person is "outed" by
having their true age revealed. The most recent was Amanda Redman (an actress I
particularly like, BTW) who gave a gushing interview to a national paper about the
tribulations of facing life at 50, which she would soon be doing. Unfortunately for her,
another national paper looked her up in the indexes and obtained her birth certificate,
revealing that she had actually reached the 50 landmark some two years previously!
I do tend to wonder how these people can be so naïve?
With regard to your friend on the antiques stall who had knocked 10 years off her age
and is now having difficulty in getting her pension, what can one say except it probably
serves her right! A little white lie maintained for so long will end up losing her a lot
money. And yet in our researches we regularly see the repercussions of people telling
fibs to the census enumerator or registrar and then find they have to maintain the lie
for the rest of their lives to avoid their spouse and family finding out.
Genealogical researcher, writer & lecturer
Newbies' Guide to Genealogy & Family History: www.genuki.org.uk/gs/Newbie.html
"There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about,
and that is not being talked about."