Family lore states that George and Samuel Coleman Bandy, the first two children born to Andrew Bandy and wife Rebecca Wooldridge, were twins and that they were born on Christmas Day, 25 December with the year varying between 1816 and 1818.
What does the evidence say?
- The 1820 census for Andrew Bandy in Botetourt County, Virginia shows one adult male, one adult female and two males under the age of 5 in the household.
- George Bandy’s census records estimate his birth year as 15-19 in 1840, so born 1821-1825, which absolutely is wrong, as he married in 1838 and future censuses place his birth as much earlier. In 1850, his birth year was reported as 1817, 1817 again in 1860, 1816 in 1870 and 1818 in 1880, which is the last census in which he is found. The younger age in 1880 might, in part, be due to the fact that he was remarried to a 26 year old woman. 🙂
- George’s date and place of death is not known, other than he is not found in any records after 1880. No burial site has been found for him either.
- Samuel Coleman Bandy’s census records begin in 1850, as he married on 6 August 1840 to Sidney Nelson in Gallia County, Ohio, next door to Lawrence County. The fact that he married two years later than George might or might not indicate that he was a bit younger. Two years is not a big difference.
- Samuel Coleman Bandy’s 1850 census record interestingly estimates his birth year as 1819 and he is enumerated as seven years younger than his wife, Sidney, born about 1812. Samuel has already migrated to Peoria County, Illinois by this time. In 1860, his birth year is listed as 1819 and he is eight years younger than Sidney. In 1870, his birth year is reported as 1820 and he is now TEN years younger than wife Sidney. The last census in which he appears is 1880 and his birth year is given as 1819. Sidney is now only four years older than Samuel, which I think I kind of funny even though it’s not related to this twin issue.
- Samuel Bandy’s gravestone is found at Maple Ridge Cemetery, Peoria County, Illinois. It says, “S. Bandy died Dec. 2, 1892, aged 74 yrs., 11 Ms, 7Ds, which would place his birth at 26 December 1817.
I can see where the Christmas story came into play here, but my sense is that George’s birth year was reported as c1817 in two records, c1816 in one and, only in the last census after he had been divorced by his wife and remarried a 22 year old woman, did his age drop, giving a birth year of 1818.
I am inclined to believe that George was the first-born son, probably born about 1816 (not having had his birthday yet in the censuses that reported his estimated birth year as 1817) and probably NOT a twin to Samuel Coleman.
Samuel’s gravestone age is slightly older than given ages in the censuses, but it’s not unusual to find that people’s ages at death were older than their actual chronological age. I believe he was likely born in 1818 and, not having had his birthday yet that year when the census taker came around, 1819 was the year of birth deduced from his age at the time.
What do you think?