I do not know the exact date to put in Family Tree

If you do not know the exact date, you can wait until you have more information before you enter a date. Or, you can enter incomplete or approximate dates.

Incomplete dates

If you do not know an exact date, you can enter incomplete dates:

  • 1988
  • August 1988

Calculated or estimated date

You can calculate a birth date based the age at the time of an event. For example, if an 1860 census lists a person as two years old, you can calculate the birth year as 1858. In Family Tree, you can enter the calculated date in one of these ways:

  • 1858
  • Calculated 1858

Approximate dates

You can also estimate the year of an event based on other information. In Family Tree, you can enter one of the following words with the estimated year:

  • Before
  • After
  • About

Examples of estimated dates

  • You have information that an ancestor died during World War I. The death date could be approximated as About 1914.
  • ​You have information that an ancestor died before the start of World War I. The death date could be approximated as Before 1914.
  • You have a marriage date but not a birth date. You can approximate birth years from the year of marriage. The general assumption used for such instances is that a man married at age 25 and a woman at age 21. The general rules vary based on culture, time frame, or country.
  • You know a marriage date but not the birth dates of the couple’s children. You can use an approximate year for the birth of those children. Estimate the birth of the first child as one year after the parents’ marriage. Subsequent children would be born approximately every two years.
  • You can use family knowledge or tradition as sources for dates. For example, a family tradition says that an ancestor was 16 years old when she married in 1876. You can approximate the birth year as About 1860.

Date ranges

You know that an event occurred within a specific time period. In this case, enter the earliest date and the latest date: From 1860 to 1870.

No death date

You know that the person is deceased but do not know the exact date of death. Click the Deceased option and either leave the date field blank or enter an estimated year.

If the individual shows a death date and you try to delete it, a save failed error can occur. Use one of the formats for an estimated date instead.

Estimated and partial dates affect the birth order of children and marriages

  • The standardized dates determine the order of children or multiple spouses in Family Tree.
  • If you use an estimated or partial date for a child or spouse, they can appear out of order.

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Shortcuts for entering dates into Family Tree
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