Historians have speculated on possible reasons for two different years of birth to have appeared in historical documents. If 1755 is correct, Hamilton might have been trying to appear younger than his college classmates, or perhaps wished to avoid standing out as older. If 1757 is correct, the single probate document indicating a birth year of 1755 may have simply included an error, or Hamilton might once have given his age as 13 after his mother’s death in an attempt to appear older and more employable. Historians have pointed out that the probate document contained other proven inaccuracies, demonstrating it was not entirely reliable. Richard Brookhiser noted that “a man is more likely to know his own birthday than a probate court.
Hamilton’s mother had been married previously to Johann Michael Lavien, a Danish or German merchant on St. Croix in the Virgin Islands, then ruled by Denmark. They had a son, Peter Lavien. In 1750, Faucette left her husband and first son; then traveled to Saint Kitts where she met James Hamilton. Hamilton and Faucette moved together to Nevis, her birthplace, where she had inherited a seaside lot in town from her father.