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When a great uncle of mine started the first little branch of our tree some 35 years ago he found a 2-3 year conflict between the data on the 1860 census and family lore dates of his grandmother and grandfather..
Being a good citizen, he elected to go with the "government" census statistics. When I got involved a couple of years ago and also found the 1850 census data, I concluded that the 1860 census taker had come around just two months before the first shots were fired in the civil war and that his grandfather's age had been boosted by three years to make him undraftable above the age of 45. His wife, whom I speculate actually talked to the census taker, was a little more vain and only increased her age by two years. A couple of teenage sons were omitted from the census altogether.
Just a little bit of trivia.