The Boy Who Didn't Exist: 19-year-old whose father raised him 'off the grid' had no birth certificate or Social Security Number

Noah Boyce never existed until he was 18 years old.


His father, who refuses to recognize government authority, raised Noah 'off the grid' in an RV on his family's 97-acre Michigan farm. 

Noah never had a birth certificate, never went to school, never had a Social Security card and never went to the hospital or a doctor.

Until his family was kicked off their land in for refusing to pay property taxes, there was no local, state or federal government record that Noah Boyce was ever born.

'People tried to get my dad to let us go to school, but my dad said he had his ways,' Noah told the Jackson Citizen Patriot newspaper. 

'My dad said we couldn’t go to school for our own protection.'

Noah, now 19, didn't even know his own birthday until last year. He left the seclusion of his family compound near Brooklyn, Michigan, when Jackson County officials seized their property in November 2011.

Noah's father, Brian Boyce, refused to pay property taxes on the land and said he was no longer a citizen of the United States. 

'Nobody should pay to live on their own land,' he told the newspaper in 2011. 

Brian Boyce said property taxes meant the government was trying to make him a renter on his own land. He contended that it was his God-given right to stay there. 

Boyce claimed he had given up his U.S. citizenship in 1996. For years before that, though, he was receding from society.

He kept his wife and four children on a compound in rural Jackson County and seldom ventured into town.

Noah describes growing up without books, video games or running water.

What little electricity the family had came from solar panels. 

Brian Boyce supported his family with a small engine repair business and by farming. 

The Boyce clan practiced a kind of Christianity that mean there were never presents at Christmas and birthdays were never celebrated. 

He once told a local newspaper 'school is for fishes.' 

Noah's grown sister says that perhaps the intention at some point was to home-school the four children, but that never happened.

When the family was kicked off their land, it fractured.


Noah's older brothers and sisters, all over 18, moved into together. Brian Boyce moved in with them. Noah's mother moved in with a friend.

Noah, 17, was left with nowhere to go. He had no drivers license or identification of any kind - no record that he was ever born or was ever living. 

He had a fourth-grade reading level and could not write. The only words he recognized on paper were from the Bible, which had father had read aloud to him. 

Luckily, his family had been attending a church near their home. Members took pity on Noah and took them into their homes.

They also started the long process of getting him 'on the grid' with the government. 

After obtaining sworn affidavits from his mother and grandmother, church members were able to track down the midwife who helped deliver Noah and his family's home.

She supplied him with a birthday: December 10, 1993.

Last year, a grown man, Noah celebrated his very his first birthday. 

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