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The Basics: Supernatural Birth

"Message" cult followers of William Branham are told that Branham was born on April 6, 1909. According to Branham's "life story" accounts, this was a supernatural event announced by God in the heavens. He claimed that years later that a "fortune teller" informed him that he was "borned under a sign," and that the stars and planets aligned. This, according to cult theology, is significant as his arrival was confirmed by astrology. (Branham claimed that the "first Bible" was the "Zodiac.")

In his sermons and publications, William Branham claimed to be "vindicated" through multiple "supernatural events" that occurred on his birth year. On recorded sermons, government documents, and to newspaper reporters, three different birth years were given. To date, we have identified 1903, 1907, 1908, and 1909 used by Branham as the year of his birth. Which of these years are correct?

On multiple occasions, William Branham claimed to have been born when his mother was sixteen years old. According to the Twelfth Census of the United States, Ella (Harvey) Branham was born in 1887, placing Branham's birth year in 1903. Her birthdate is confirmed in the 1910 census. In the 1920 census, however, her age is listed as "31," placing William Branham's birth year at 1905. In both the 1910 Census and the 1920 Census, Ella's age is over 20 years greater than William's. It would appear this claim of a sixteen-year-old mother was used for Branham's extra-biblical theology of a sixteen-year-old Sarah instead of actual family history. It should also be noted that William Branham often used the number sixteen for extra-biblical theology or "supernatural comparison." He claimed that his son, Billy Paul, was baptized at sixteen, that Elisha performed sixteen miracles, that Isaac was to be sacrificed at age sixteen, that the Sphinx is sixteen automobiles wide, that sixteen men were the subject of a vision from God, and more.

According to the 1910 and 1920 Census, William Branham's parents claimed that his birth year was 1907. They continued to use this year to calculate his age as late as 1929, as confirmed by the newspaper articles announcing the death of his brother, Edward Branham. The ages Branham's parents used for William and his siblings remain consistent, as confirmed by census records, newspaper articles, and more. To the cult followers of John Alexander Dowie in Zion City, IL, William Branham himself confirmed the 1907 birth year. According to Branham, Dowie (who claimed to be the return of the prophet Elijah) prophesied about Branham's ministry. Then, apparently as a claim to be the biblical "Elisha" to Dowie's "Elijah," Branham claimed to be born the day after Dowie's death on March 9, 1907:

How Doctor Dowie, in his death, prophesied that I would come to that city forty years from the time that he died. Not knowing nothing about it, he died on one day, and I was borned on the next. And forty years to the day I entered the city, not knowing nothing about it. Oh, how God's great move is coming together. I hear the sound of abundance of rain.
Branham, 51-0929 - Our Hope Is In God


When William Branham married his first wife, Hope (Brumbach) Branham, he signed an official court document declaring his birthday to be April 8, 1908. Both the day of the month and the year differ from other birthdays Branhan used to both government officials and his followers.

In 1941 on his marriage certificate to his second wife, Meda, William Branham claimed to have been born April 6, 1909. This is the date that Branham would continue to use in public, with the exception of his claims in Zion City, IL.

And I was born on April the—the 6th, 1909.
Branham, 59-0419A - My Life Story


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Branham's statements about his birth:

And I was born when my mother wasn't quite sixteen years old yet.
Branham, 50-0115 - Believest Thou This?

My father was a rider. And he went west breaking horses. And he met my mother; they were married. I was born when my mother was sixteen years old, and my father was eighteen:
Branham, 50-0813A - The Resurrection Of Lazarus

How Doctor Dowie, in his death, prophesied that I would come to that city forty years from the time that he died. Not knowing nothing about it, he died on one day, and I was borned on the next. And forty years to the day I entered the city, not knowing nothing about it. Oh, how God's great move is coming together. I hear the sound of abundance of rain.
Branham, 51-0929 - Our Hope Is In God

April the 6th, 1909, when the sun begin to peep up over a little Kentucky hill, a little old mother setting there, fourteen years old, in a little old crude made bed, no floor but the earth. All the stuff, a little table, a little old straw tick laying there to lay on, a little old shuck pillow for her to lay their head on... My daddy with his pair of overalls on, standing at the foot of the bed... But God permitted me to come into the earth. As the morning star was peeping across the mountains, coming circling into the window, came a supernatural Being whirling into the room when the mountain people standing begin to cry. Oh, my. [Blank.spot.on.tape—Ed.]
Branham, 50-0819 - Show Us The Father And It Suffices

Now, and in being... When I was born on April the sixth, 1909, about five o'clock in the morning... We lived in a little cabin. There's a picture in the book. We didn't have windows like you people have that live in nice homes. We had just a door that you push back, like a little window, you know, push back. Don't guess you all ever seen anything like that up in this country. But a little old window you push... [Blank.spot.on.tape—Ed.]
Branham, 51-0717 - The Manifestation Of The Spirit

I remember going out one night at a carnival; I was just about eighteen years old. My cousin, a couple of them, and I, were going down. There was a little old gypsy fortunetellers tent sitting there. And I was going down along the side there, and the little—little gypsy woman said, "Say, you, come here!" Well, all three of us turned around. She said, "You with the striped sweater on." I said, "Me?" "Yes!" I thought maybe she wanted me to get her a Coke. And I said, "Yes, ma'am." She said, "Do you know that you were born under a sign?" I said, "Look woman. Shut up." I got away from there right quick. Then oh, they begin to tease me, go on. And one day while I was warden, I was going up on the bus, and I standing there. And I always was subject to spirits. I felt a strange feeling. I looked around, big strong woman setting there, well dressed, she looked up at me and she said, "Howdy do." "Good evening," looked up like that. And she said, "You're lonesome, aren't you?" And I said, "No, ma'am." She said, "Well, you're not at your home." I said, "As much home as I got." She said, "You were born for the west." I said, "Say, what are you talking about?" She said, "Maybe I better explain myself." Said, "Are you an officer?" I said, "Conservation." And she said, "Maybe, I better explain myself." She said, "I'm an astrologist." And I thought, "Oh, another one of them funny people." So then... I said, "Yes, ma'am." And I just kept looking... I moved up out towards the... There was a sailor standing right behind me, like that, the bus was loaded pretty well. I thought, "It was just a woman wanting to talk." And she said, "I'd like to talk to you a few minutes." And I never acted like I heard her. I just kept looking on, you know. And so she said, "Could I speak to you just a moment?" 22 And I thought, "That's not gentlemen like, but I—I don't want to talk to her." See? And I waited there. Then she said, "Say, you the conservation officer," said, "could I speak to you, just a minute?" I said, "What did you want?" She said, "Could I speak to you just a moment?" I said, "What do you want?" And she said, I thought, "That was nasty of you to act as a man," so just so indifferent, you know. And she said, "Are you a Christian?" And I said, "No. What's that to you?" See? And she said... She said, "Well, I just wondered." And she said, "Did you know you were borned under a sign?" Oh, my. I said, "Look, lady, I don't want to know nothing about that. See?" I said, "Not giving you any short answer, I've got a mother at home. See?" And I said, "I don't want to know nothing about that." She said, "Oh, don't be so hard." And I said, "Well, I don't want to know nothing about that stuff." See? I said, "I know nothing about it; I know nothing about any religious things, and I—I don't want to know anything about it." And I said, "I don't want to hurt your feelings." I just keep looking on ahead. She said, "My..." And she said, "You shouldn't act like that." And I said, "Well, I—I don't mean not to be a gentlemen; but I—I..." She said, "Look! This is nothing to do with religion." She said, "I'm on my road to Chicago." We was on a Greyhound bus. She said, "I'm going to see my son, which is a Baptist minister." She said, "I work in the White House." And she said, "Did you know the first thing, did you know this United States and all the astronomy, and how they do?" I said, "I know nothing about it." See? She said, "Well, I work in the White House." And she said, "Right as you go in the steps of the White House, there's a astronomer calendar." Said, "There's a sailor standing behind you. Ask him if the moon doesn't control the tides." I said, "I got sense enough to know that." See? And she said, "Well, that's right." Said, "And your birth has something..." Said, "Perhaps, I will tell you just exactly when you was born, would you believe me?" And I said, "You can't do it in the first place." See? She said, "Oh, yes, I can." I said, "Let's hear you." Said, "You was born on April the 6th at five o'clock in the morning in 1909." I said, "That's right." I said, "Tell this sailor when he was born." She said, "I couldn't do it." "Well," I said, "why can't you tell him, if you just... if you could tell me?" She said, "Because you were borned under a sign; I don't know when that was to appear." She said, "Has ministers never talked to you?"
Branham, 52-0713A - Early Spiritual Experiences

And one day while I was a game warden, I was going up on the bus. And I got on the bus. Was always seemed to be subject to spirits. I was standing there, and this sailor was standing behind me. And I was going up to patrol, and I was going up to the Henryville Forestry, was on the bus. I kept feeling some strange something. I looked around there, and there was a—a great big heavyset woman sitting there, nicely dressed. She said, "How do you do?" Said, "How do you do!" 168 I thought it was just a woman, you know, talking, so I just kept... She said, "I'd like to talk to you a minute." I said, "Yes, ma'am?" I turned around. She said, "Did you know you were born under a sign?" 169 I thought, "Another one of them funny women." So I just looked on out. And so I never said a word, just kept... 170 She said, "Could I speak to you a minute?" I just kept... She said, "Don't act like that." 171 I just kept looking forward. I thought, "That isn't gentlemanlike." She said, "I'd like to speak to you just a moment." 172 I just kept looking forward, and I wouldn't pay any attention to her. Directly I thought, "I believe I'll see if she says like the rest of them." I turned around, I thought, "Oh, my! That would quiver me, I know." Cause, I hated to think that. Turned around. 173 She said, "Maybe I better explain myself." She said, "I'm an astrologist." I said, "I thought you was something like that." 174 She said, "I'm on my way to Chicago to see my boy who's a Baptist minister." I said, "Yes, ma'am." 175 She said, "Anybody ever tell you you were born under a sign." 176 I said, "No, ma'am." I lied to her there, see, and I said... just wanted to see what she was going to say. And she said... I said, "No, ma'am." And she said, "Doesn't... Hasn't ministers ever told you?" I said, "I don't have nothing to do with ministers." And she said, "Uh-huh." And I said... she—she said to me... I said, "Well..." 177 She said, "If I tell you just exactly when you was born, will you believe me?" I said, "No, ma'am." And she said, "Well, I can tell you when you were born." I said, "I don't believe it." 178 And she said, "You were born on April the 6th, 1909, at five o'clock in the morning." 179 I said, "That's right." I said, "How do you know that?" I said, "Tell this sailor here when he was born." Said, "I can't." And I said, "Why? How you know?" 180 Said, "Look, sir." She said, when she begin to talk about this astronomy now, and she said, "Every so many years..." Said, "You remember when the morning star come, that led the wise men to Jesus Christ?" 181 And I kind of stalled, you know, I said, "Well, I don't know nothing about religion." 182 And she said, "Well, you've heard about the wise men coming to see Jesus." I said, "Yes." And she said, "Well, what was wise man?" "Oh," I said, "they were just wise men, all I know." 183 She said, "Well, what is a wise man?" She said, "The same thing that I am, an astrologist, 'stargazer' they call them." And she said, "You know, before God does anything in—in the earth, He always declares it in the heaven, and then on the earth." And I said, "I don't know." 184 And she said, "Well..." She called two or three, two... three stars, like Mars, Jupiter, and Venus. It wasn't them, but she said, "They crossed their paths and come together and made..." Said, "There was three wise men that come to meet the Lord Jesus, and one was from the lineage of Ham, and one Shem, and the other one Japheth." And said, "When they met together at Bethlehem, the three stars that they were from... Every person on earth," said, "they have something to do with the stars." Said, "Ask that sailor there when the moon goes out and the heavenly planet goes out, the tide doesn't go with it and come in." I said, "I don't have to ask him that, I know that." 185 And she said, "Well, your birth has something to do with the stars up there." And I said, "Well, that I don't know." 186 And she said, "Now, these three wise men came." And said, "When they three stars, when they... They come from different directions and they met at Bethlehem. And they said they found out and consulted, and one was from the lineage of Ham, Shem, and Japheth, the three sons of Noah." And she said, "Then they come and worshipped the Lord Jesus Christ." And said, "When they departed," said, "they brought gifts and put to Him."
Branham, 55-0117 - How The Angel Came To Me, And His Commission

And my people, of course, formerly, the beginning, are Catholic. We... They emigrated from Ireland and come here. And then, but my father and mother didn't go to any church at all. And they was raised up in the mountains; my father, a logger. And when that Light come in that morning at six o'clock on April the fifth, or, April the sixth, 1909, and that Light hung over that little crib bed there, a little trundle bed...
Branham, 55-0608 - Abraham

My mother was fifteen, and my daddy was eighteen. And the morning when I was born, April the sixth, 1909, at five o'clock in the morning, there was no doctor; they had a mid-wife. And when I was born, I only weighed five pounds: very small.
Branham, 55-0626A - My Life Story

Well, yes, and almost thirty more. And I—I... The Lord has certainly been good to me in these forty-seven years of life. I was born April the 6th, 1909, in a little cabin up in the eastern Kentucky mountains.
Branham, 56-0407 - Blind Bartimaeus

After this service, I have just a little service, a little time of rest. Easter Sunday is my birthday. And, let's see, I was born in 1909; that makes me twenty-five, or something like that
Branham, 58-0328 - God Keeps His Word

I was talking to her, what I said to you last evening, that after being born in 1909, I'd be about twenty-five. But I believe I have to make that twenty-seven, because I been preaching twenty-seven years, and the rest of them didn't count anyhow
Branham, 58-0329 - The Mighty Conqueror

I had a birthday the other day, and let's see; I think I was... My wife's setting here, so I have to be careful; I think I was twenty-five. I was just a little over twenty-five; I was born in 1909, so that makes me a little over twenty five, doesn't it, just a—just a little over twenty five?
Branham, 58-0620 - The Queen Of The South

Let's see, I had a birthday recently, and I was—I think I was twenty-five or just a little past it. I was born in 1909; that'd make me a little—about twenty-five, wouldn't it? Just a little over—forty-nine. So I've been in the ministry, twenty-seven years, and never took up an offering in my life.
Branham, 58-0625 - A Greater Than Solomon Is Here

Of course, every one knows that I'm just a past twenty five, now. I was born in 1909, so anyone can figure, knows that I'm past twenty five.
Branham, 59-0406 - New Ministry (William Branham)

And I was born on April the—the 6th, 1909. Course, you know, that makes me a little over twenty-five now. And so, the morning that I was born, Mother said that they opened up the window. Now, we had no doctors, there was a midwife. Just... And that midwife was my grandmother. And so when I was born and my first beginning to cry, and—and Mother wanted to see her child. And—and she was no more than a child herself. And when they opened up the little window, just at the break of day, about five o'clock.
Branham, 59-0419A - My Life Story

I'm past twenty-five, ain't I. I was born in 1909, so anybody'd know I'd be just a little over twenty-five
Branham, 59-0612 - All The Days Of Our Life

Later, I become the state game warden of Indiana. (Conservation officer.) And one day on a—going up on the bus, there was a great crowd, and I had—we had to stand up. And I felt a strange feeling. I was always sensitive to spirits, especially when I'd meet one of those people. I'd feel that real funny feeling. And I begin to feel that, and I looked around; and there was a strong woman looking right at me. She said, "I'd like to speak to you." I said, "What do you want?" I never did like women, but not—not you sisters, I—I mean, He told me not to defile myself. And it made me have a complex. And so then, because all my associates would be sinners in that day. And there's a great story there that I could tell. Being offered whiskey, and immoral, and how the Holy Spirit come down, makes me stand back from it. It wasn't me. See? I would have did it. It was God taking care of that gift. It must go forth. 11 One day, I started to take my own life, and the gun wouldn't even go off. Then I turned it and shot it. It was God taking care of the gift. When he'd... Just like Moses, he couldn't run away from it; God will find you. Wherever you are, He will find you. So this woman—I said, "What would you want?" She said, "Sir, did you know you were borned under a—a sign?" Quickly, that scared me. I said, "I don't know nothing about that, and I don't want to know nothing about it." She said, "Haven't you never talked to preachers?" I said, "I have no use for them. I—I don't go around where any of that's at." I said, "I don't want to hurt your feelings, but I don't want to hear anything you have to say." She said, "Sir, that's not a gentleman." And I turned to her again, I said, "How did you know that?" She said, "When you got on the bus, I seen it." She said, "I work in the White House." She said, "I'm on my way now to Chicago to see my son, who is a minister." She said, "I'm an astronomer." She said, "Did you know who... When God does anything, the first thing He does is to declare it in heaven, before He declares it on the earth?" I said, "I know nothing about it." And I turned around again. It kindy made me feel bad, because there's many people on the bus, and me an officer. And so I thought that wasn't gentleman like. So she called me—kept calling me. And I turned around again; I said, "What's that got to do with me?" And she said, "When Jesus Christ was born, or before he was born, wise men came from the east." She said, "What is a wise man?" I said, "I have no idea." She said, "They're astronomers that watch the heavens, and before God does anything on earth, He declares it in the heavens." And she said... I—I said, "I don't know nothing of it." She said, "But when God gives a gift, He declares it in the heavens." I—I said, "I know nothing about it." And she said, "You were borned under that sign." And she said, "What if I tell you when you were born, would—would you believe me?" I said, "Lady, you can't read my mind. I won't believe it." And she said, "You were born on April the 6th, 1909, at five o'clock in the morning." She said, "That's when certain stars," she said, "crossed or something." (Or astronomy.) And I said, "I don't know nothing about it, and care less." So she said, "You may pass it by," but said, "if you would respect it, it would shake the world." I said, "Tell this young sailor here, when he was born." She said, "I couldn't do it."
Branham, 60-0210M - The Revelation That Was Given To Me

That Light, that you see on that picture was hanging over my cradle when I was born. Born on a little straw tick with a shuck pillow. My mother was fifteen years old; my dad was eighteen. Five o'clock in the morning, they didn't have a window in the house, had a little door. I don't know whether you seen... How many of you ever seen one of them little—like supposed to be like a window, but it's just a little door you opened up. 98 And—and that Angel of God, at five o'clock in the morning, April 6, 1909, at five o'clock in the morning, come right in and stood over that little bed where I was laying.
Branham, 60-0805 - Lamb And Dove

My father and mother, grandfather, grandmother, on both sides, was all sinners. And my nature was a cocklebur... then if I going to be a grain of wheat. But one morning in a little log cabin down in Kentucky, so said my mother and the midwife, on April the 6th, five o'clock in the morning, 1909, when the Lord God brought me into the earth, there was a Light standing at the little window. And when they opened the window back, mother laying on a little shuck bed, to find out what kind of a baby she had, a Light come whirling in. And the people of the mountains didn't know what to think about It. I was too little to know this.
Branham, 64-0419 - The Trial

Now, when I was a little baby. My people, course, being Irish descent, perhaps we were formerly Catholic, but my father and mother didn't go to church at all. In a little mountain home, up in the state of Kentucky; one morning, April the sixth, 1909, in a little old house that didn't even have any windows in it; just a little door like, you went, let the light in. When the Lord Jesus permitted me to come to the earth, being the firstborn of my mother and father; her fifteen, my dad eighteen. And on a little straw tick.
Branham, 64-0427 - A Trial



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