BASIC (09-87)

GN 00302.730 Evaluation of the 1910, 1920, and 1930 Census Record

A. General

Based on the guides in GN 00302.165, the first census record taken after birth is normally a document with high probative value. It is a very old record made at a time and for a purpose when there was no reason to falsify age. In addition, the age was usually given by a responsible member of the household who would be able to give an accurate age for a small child in the family.

However, this record, like any other type of record, has a certain incidence of error. The pattern and extent of this error has been defined for the 1910, 1920, and 1930 enumerations.

The 1910, 1920, and 1930 census records ordinarily show the correct age as of the enumeration date (see GN 00302.710). When the correct age is not shown, studies indicate that the age shown is almost always one year from the correct age and that, in these cases, when all evidence in file is consistent, the alleged DB is correct.

This error pattern seems to be the result of the recordation of an age (rather than a specific DB) and the recording of that age in some instances as of the date of the enumerator's visit rather than as of the Census Day.

B. Census record supports the same DB or a DB one year different from allegation

Use the followig guidelines to determine whether a 1910, 1920, or 1930 census record which supports the same DB or a DB one year different from that alleged, corroborates the alleged DB.

IF...AND...AND either...THEN the census record...
    

The alleged DB and the DB indicated by the age on the census record are

  • The same, or

  • One year different

There is a NUMIDENT or other SSA record in file

  • All evidence in file (including all NUMIDENT records) is in substantial agreement with the alleged DB, or

  • There is evidence recorded at least 5 years before the date of filing of the current application to support the allegation and any discrepancy in other evidence is not material (see GN 00302.160)

Corroborates the alleged DB.

  • NOTE: A written DB determination is not required.

    
    

A material discrepancy exists

The total proof-of-age picture indicates that the one year presumption is warranted (i.e., the discrepant evidence has comparatively low probative value)

——

Corroborates the alleged DB.

  • NOTE: A written DB determination is required.

    IMPORTANT: A 1910, 1920, or 1930 census record which differs from the allegation can not be used by itself to establish the DB even though it may be the earliest recorded evidence.

    

C. When not to apply the above instruction

The instruction in B. above can not be used where the age on the census record is shown in completed months (rather than completed years) as was done for children under certain ages in various census (e.g., 1 and 7/12 years). If the age is shown in completed months and is discrepant, follow GN 00302.170.

D. Example 1

The claimant alleged a DB of 8/01/04. No preferred evidence of age exists, and the following evidence was obtained.

DocumentDate EstablishedIndicates As DB
Life insurance policy10/398/1/05
   
DBC19418/1/04
   
NUMIDENT19378/1/04
   
Census record19108/1/03 (age 6)
   

The adjudicator weighed all the evidence in file to determine whether to apply the one-year presumption to the 1910 census record. All other evidence in file indicates a 1904 year of birth, except for the life insurance policy. The interview with the claimant (See GN 00302.170) showed that his belief that he was born in 1904 is firmly held and well-founded.

Thus, it appears that the discrepant life insurance policy has comparatively low probative value. The other evidence, supporting the allegation, is also supported by the 1910 census record if the one year presumption is applied. It is determined that the presumption has a firm basis and that the weight of the evidence, including the 1910 census record, supports the alleged DB.

E. Example 2

The claimant alleged a DB or 12/20/04. No preferred evidence of age exists. The following evidence of age was submitted:

Document  
Insurance policy11/10/4412/25/05
OCRO record194512/20/04
Census record191012/20/05 (age 4)

The adjudicator weighed all the evidence as follows:

  • The claimant indicated that he had used both 1904 and 1905 as his year of birth because he never knew which was correct, and

  • The insurance policy supports 1905, and

  • The OCRO record, which supports the alleged DB, is of no higher probative value than the insurance policy.

Thus, the OCRO record together with the allegation does not  provide a firm basis for establishing that the census record supports 1904 rather than 1905, and the presumption can not be applied.

F. Example 3

The claimant alleged a DB of 3/4/12. No preferred evidence of age exists. The following evidence of age is submitted:

Document  
DBC19423/4/12
NUMIDENT19413/4/1 0
Insurance policy4/15/403/4/12
Census record19203/4/4/13 (age 6)
Brother's BC4/5/141912 (if 2 years younger

In evaluating whether the one-year presumption should apply, the adjudicator considered the following:

  • The DBC was based on a faimly Bible record, and

  • The claimant remembered seeing his DB in the Bible from as far back as he could remember until it was lost in a fire in 1955, and

  • The claimant knows there are 2 years difference in age between his younger brother and himself, and

  • The DB shown on the OCRO record is incorrect because he had given this DB to his employer, making himself appear older and less subject to the draft.

The claimant's statements regarding his belief and his explanation for the discrepant OCRO record, coupled with the evidence in support of the allegations, give sufficient support for presuming that the 1920 census record supports the alleged DB.

G. Census record supports DB more than one year different from that alleged

When the age shown on the 1910, 1920, or 1930 census record supports a DB more than one year different from that alleged, and the age is shown in completed years, (instead of completed months, as was done for children under certain ages), follow GN 00302.170 (including discussion with the claimant, obtaining best evidence, etc.)

Do not use the census record to establish the DB when it is the only evidence in file supporting that DB and age is shown on the record in completed years. This rule applies even though the claimant is not sure of his/The correct DB and thinks that the census record may be right.

EXCEPTION:  If, after complete development it is not evident that there has been a certain pattern of consistency of DB allegations during the claimant's life, or there is no one document which despite discrepancies is high enough in probative value to be used as a basis for a DB determination base the DB on the census record

H. Comment

The Bureau of Census provides a 1920 census record when the 1910 record is requested and the DB shown on the 1910 record is discrepant by more than one year (see GN 00302.810). This does not  imply that the 1920 record should be considered the best evidence obtainable or that development should stop at this point.

If the 1920 census record and all other evidence in file except the 1910 census record support the claimant's allegation, further development is not necessary. In other cases, it may be necessary to obtain other evidence to determine the correct DB.


To Link to this section - Use this URL:
http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0200302730
GN 00302.730 - Evaluation of the 1910, 1920, and 1930 Census Record - 01/07/1997
Batch run: 01/27/2009
Rev:01/07/1997