Medieval Families Unit
The Medieval Families Unit worked in the old Ancestral File (1985-1995) on royalty and nobility to the present and all pre-1500 families, which was an enormous task. The pre-1500 portion alone had approximately 250,000 individuals.
Our main objective was to make sure linkage was correct and then as time permitted go back and adjust dates. Many of the dates are not actual birth dates so we used "abt" before them to signify the date when the individual might have been born. If we had an age at an event we used "Cal" for calculated date (example: age 8 in 1208 we would enter "Cal 1200" for the birth date).
The Medieval Families Unit was closed in 1996 and so the task of adjusting all the dates never came to pass.
Unfortunately many patrons over the years have downloaded our data and re-submitted it as their own.
The main problem when adjusting "about" dates on one family is that doing so can have a ripple effect that causes other families to have date problems. Most of the people in the Medieval time period did not have an actual birth or death date recorded, only a date when they were mentioned in some kind of document. We use the "abt" date to put individuals in a time period. We know the dates can be way off as generations may be missing or connections may be incorrect. When dealing with large files, "about" dates can be very problematic and at times cannot be resolved.
Once the new system is available for corrections, we can begin the task of adjusting "about" dates. This task will take years as we have to look at many families and generations to see if we have made a correct adjustment.
We suggest that no information be used from Ancestral File or Pedigree Resource File at this time. Wait for the data we are preparing which will have source citations and notes. This information will be available on the Internet in the near future. This data will not have all of the dates adjusted in the beginning, but over time we plan to have most of these issues worked out.