Misleading profile headings

+4 votes

Many early references such as British and Irish Parish Registers list baptismal and burial dates. Thus birthdates and deathdates both must be written as "before". In the details, and in the Biographies as I get round to cleaning them all up, the dates are correct. Not so the headings. Giving Bunt-79 as an example, the heading says Thomas Bunt (bef. 1627 - bef. 1703). This is untrue and misleading at a cursory glance. I am struggling to propose a solution as I lack the knowledge of how this is programmed. Can someone wiser than me suggest how it might be resloved 

WikiTree profile: Thomas Bunt
in Policy and Style by Steve Bartlett G2G6 Mach 4 (40.6k points)

I think this has been discussed in the past (because I'm sure I've asked about it), but I've not found it in G2G. The closest thing I've found is http://www.wikitree.com/g2g/228334/show-date-qualifiers-everywhere-please

I believe that Chris Whitten has said that the full date qualifiers would be too much detail for inclusion in headers.

Updated: I found the earlier items. See http://www.wikitree.com/g2g/188639/possible-sort-exact-date-instead-appr-when-field-before-ticked and the earlier G2G thread http://www.wikitree.com/g2g/186497/did-you-notice-the-new-changes-to-profile-pages 

I felt it had been discussed in the past, too. But after much searching decided that similar but not clearly identical questions had been asked.

People are right to point out that the birth could have been in the previous year but are pushing the boundaries when they say some people were baptised a considerable time after their when talking about pre-1700 profiles. The general tradition was to get them baptised asap. (Opening the door to many individual anecdotes to the contrary!!).

I am wondering how a proper solution could be found, rather than a work-around. Getting on towards 100% of pre-1700 profiles have this problem, albeit a very high proportion ignore it by substituting the baptismal and burial dates as birth and death.

Wikipedia is about accuracy, not work-arounds. I was looking for an elegant answer
Please, please no more anecdotal stuff. I was looking for an elegant answer, not "I know of several cases...", 'cos, do you know, I do too.

So let's just stick with the death date.

Without wishing to be too cynical, people died before they were buried. I have their burial date. I have put in the death date as before the burial date.  If the burial date is Christmas day 1650, the profile heading says bef.1650. This is wrong.

2 Answers

+1 vote
Perhaps not so elegant, but closer to the truth is to put only the year in the date fields - it's fairly safe to assume that people were born the year they were baptised and died the year they were buried - at least in the cases you are referring to. Then give the full date of baptism or burial in the biography, since there aren't dedicated fields for those events here.
by Eva Ekeblad G2G6 Pilot (428k points)
Unfortunately, that isn't really true. Many churches waited at least 6 months or more before baptizing children, some families had all their children baptized at the same time,and some churches do adult baptisms.
What Vic said. Also, when sorting out multiple people of the same name born in the same year, it's very helpful to be able to have month and day  details in the data fields.
0 votes
Sometimes people were baptized the same day they were born, or buried the same day they died.  So when you say before, you really mean on or before.

Likewise I'd just take it that before 1827 means before or during 1827.

The alternative is to say before 1828.  But that's weird.
by Anonymous Horace G2G6 Pilot (568k points)
Thanks for the comment. Can you confirm that to be true pre-1700?
I've come across burials of young children where they were buried the same day they died, and babies where they were baptised the same day they were born.  In fact in certain situations, anyone could baptise a baby it didn't have to be the parish priest.

I can't guarantee these are from pre-1700, but I can't see it changing that much, particularly in rural areas.

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