How do I enter dates and places into Family Tree?

Using standard formats for dates and places in Family Tree improves the accuracy and searchability of the information you enter.

Before you start

  • Many places have or have had the same or similar names. People write dates in many ways. Family Tree helps you standardize dates and places as you enter them.
  • Standardized dates and places (also called "standards") improve the accuracy of the search, record hints, and duplicates features of Family Tree.
  • The list of standardized versions can speed up data entry for you.
  • When a date or place does not have a standard, Family Tree identifies it as a data problem and displays a red exclamation point next to it. To fix this problem, open the Edit box, click on “No Standard Selected,” and select a standard.
  • If you see a map location icon next to the name of a place, it means that it already matches our list of standardized locations.
  • If you do not see a map location icon next to the name of a place, the place-name might still be standardized. It may simply contain a more specific geographical location than the standard.

Note: Never delete correct place name information just to get a map location icon to display. Map location icons are not required and have no bearing on the correctness of the place name displayed.

Steps (website)

  1. In a date or place field in Family Tree, begin typing the date or place.
    • Tips for dates:
      • 29 February standardizes only for leap years.
      • Use B.C. or B.C.E. for "before Christ" or "Before Common Era." The standard shows as B.C.
      • Family Tree standardizes using the Gregorian calendar. To enter a date from another calendar, enter the date, type a space, and then enter the Gregorian version of that date (Day-Month-Year). For example, if a birth date occurred on December 31, 2003, you would type: "31 December 2003."
      • In the drop-down list, standardized dates have a calendar icon.
    • Tips for places:
      • The database of standard places is not yet complete. The standards will improve over time.
      • If possible, enter the place-name as it existed when the event happened.
      • You have the option to enter places in your native language or the native language of that place.
  2. As you type, the system displays a drop-down menu with the available standards. Click the correct one.
    • If the correct standard is not available, retype the date or place. If none of the options match, save what you typed by clicking on the first item in the drop-down menu. Family Tree selects a standard if it can.
    • To select no standard, click the mouse somewhere else on the screen. 
  3. To change the standard, simply click in the field, and choose the one you want.
  4. The system will likely prompt you to update the reason why the information is correct. Do this, then click Save.  

Steps (mobile app)

  1. In a date or place field in the Family Tree mobile app, begin entering the date or place.
    • Tips for dates:
      • 29 February standardizes only for leap years.
      • Use B.C. or B.C.E. for "before Christ" or "Before Common Era." The standard shows as B.C.
      • Family Tree standardizes using the Gregorian calendar. To enter a date from another calendar, enter the date, type a space, and then enter the Gregorian version of that date.
      • When entering dates, it is possible that 2 options will appear (for example, 5 Nov 1911 or 5 November 1911). Choose the date with a calendar icon beside it (usually the latter, 5 November 1911). This will prevent data errors associated with date format.
    • Tips for places:
      • The database of standard places is not yet complete. The standards will improve over time.
      • If possible, enter the name of a place as it existed when the event happened.
      • You have the option to enter places in your native language or the native language of the place.
      • If the correct standard is not available, enter the place as you want it to be recorded, add a space, and then enter a version of the place-name that can be standardized. This may be the modern-day place-name or the name of the county, state, province, or country where it is currently located. 
  2. As you enter the name or date, the system displays the available standards.
    • Tap the correct standard. You may need to scroll through a list of place standards to find the right one.
    • ​​​If no applicable standard is available, go to the bottom of the standards list, and tap None of the above.
    • To keep what you entered and have the system select an applicable standard, tap away from the standards list.
  3. To change the standard, you need to re-enter the date or place. The mobile app, unlike the website, does not allow you to change a standard without also re-entering the information. 

Steps (Family Tree Lite)

Family Tree Lite automatically standardizes dates and places as you add or edit them. You cannot choose a standard. 

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