We know very little about the man who is named William Shakespeare, and anyone who tells you differently is mad.  Record keeping 400 years ago was inconsistent at best, and very few official documents still exist.  Shakespeare, while a prolific writer for the stage did not keep a journal, letters, or much else in personal writings.
    The facts are these:
    --He was baptized on April 26, 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon, England.  It is merely a tradition to say that he was born on April 23; birth certificates were not kept, only baptismal records.  April 23 is an important date for many reasons:  (1) it is St. George's Day, (2) it is the National Day (read our Fourth of July) in England, and (3) it is the same day Shakepeare died in 1612.  Poets, dramatists and dreamers all love symmetry.
    --His parents were John Shakespeare and Mary Arden.  His father was a glover, a whittawer and a politician.  John was elected to any number of posts from ale taster to high bailiff, sort of the mayor of Stratford.  Late in his life, he was accused of wool trading and usury. He dropped out of public life.  Mary was the daughter of a farmer who had 8 children:  4 boys and 4 girls. 
    --In late 1582 he married Anne Hathaway; she was pregnant.  The marriage license does not exist.   Likewise, very little is known about Anne.  Her tombstone reads that she was 67 years old at the time of her death in 1623, making her 26 years old when she married the 18-year-old Shakespeare.
    --His first child, Susanna, was born in May, 1583. 
    --His twins, Judith and Hamnet, were born in Feburary, 1585. 
Last Modified on September 12, 2017