Computing Birth From
Tombstone Inscription Dates
Many of us have had the puzzling experience of finding an ancestors tombstone marker that reads something like this:
Jane Doe, died May 6, 1889, age 71y, 7mos, 9dys
How do we determine her birth date? Shirley A. Scott provides the following formula:
- With a calculator in hand, enter the date of death in number by year, month, and then day. The example above will read 18890506.
- Subtract the age of the person found on the tombstone. The age shown in the example should be entered as 710709. You will get an answer of 18179797.
- Subtract 8870 from 18179797 to correct the months and days. The answer will be 18170927.
- Translate 18170927 back into year, month, and day. You will have 1817 September 27 (i. e., September 27, 1817) as the date of birth.