Earlier, I’d blogged about some of my ancestors arriving on the shore of the USA younger than when they had departed from Europe. (Fountain of Youth?) There might be an explanation:
Newly arrived immigrants were subjected to various tests when they arrived and sometimes the weak and infirm were returned to their native land. My own great-great-grandparents, Harm Wortelker and Anna Wortelker, were actually 61 and 64 (based on information in the German church records), but at Castle Garden, they are listed as 51 and 54. Ten years younger! If they were in reasonably good physical health, they would have likely been considered able to work and, thus not be dependent or a burden on others.
Did they intentionally misstate their ages to gain access for immigration?
Pure speculation on my part … but a possible explanation.