Guessing a Date

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How to Guess Where to Start Gotoarrow.png Guessing a Date

How to estimate the date when documenting an event in an ancestor's life. Use the dates already on the family group record as a guide.

In order to document an event a researcher must sometimes guess the date when the event happened. Look at the dates already shown on a family group record to identify the most likely dates of additional events.

When you can find no other clues, use the following guidelines to help estimate dates. These guidelines are only approximate and researchers must allow leeway in individual cases.

  • Look up each family member in all the censuses and directories during their lifetimes to learn their ages, or help narrow the number of years when certain events may have happened. Add a custom event to the family group record for each census or directory you find; this helps you estimate dates for other events.
  • Calculate approximate birth years from their age on the census or other documents.
  • In America and northern Europe men usually married at about age 25, women at about age 21. This may need to be adjusted slightly for different cultures.
  • On average, the first child is born one year after the parent’s marriage. Subsequent children are usually born about every two years.
  • Generally, brothers and sisters who die of old age are most likely to die at roughly the same age.

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