Should WikiTree require a DOB range?

+3 votes
I love the changes to profiles 200+ being required open privacy but what about all the dateless profiles?

I think WikiTree ignores marriage dates, etc....

but it would be AWESOME to not have to compare someone with no dates that was married in the 1600's with someone born in the 1900's or to compare the 1900's person with someone whose kids were born in the 1600's, etc...

I know we wouldnt want to make the DOB range too restrictive but maybe a 50 year range or a before date or something... you know that the father of someone born in 1625 was at least born before 1615...

I know it could theoretically get tricky with several generations of unknown dates but... couldnt it be possible?


Maybe pick a 1600/1700/1800's estimate OR a "Before" DOB...


What does everyone think??
in Genealogy Help by Lindsay Tyrie G2G6 Mach 1 (18.4k points)

1 Answer

+1 vote
Great point, Lindsay. A few comments:

The logic for estimating dates is relatively easy, technically. Like you say, dates can be grabbed from siblings, spouses, parents, children etc.

We do this estimation in a few contexts. We do it with GEDCOM imports so that we're not importing a bunch of people born 400 years ago. And we have done it to Open up profiles born 300 years ago even though they don't have dates. We'll do the same thing with 200 year old profiles soon.

As you say, it would be great to have these estimations in other contexts, such as FindMatches results. Why match someone born in the 1600s with someone born in the 1900s, if it would be relatively easy to estimate the DOB of the person born in the 1600s based on their family members' dates? The system should be smart enough to do this.

Here's what I can't figure out.

It can't be done on the fly because that would be too slow and eat up too many server resources. If before we showed any matches we checked all the dates of all the family members of all potential matches, FindMatches would be very slow. It's already a bit slow.

One way around this would be to do FindMatches offline. Instead of showing you results right away, we could build a report that night and show you better results the next day.

Another way around this would be to store estimated dates somehow. Instead of calculating them on the fly, calculate them periodically at night and store them in the database. Then it's easier and faster to access them during searches.

A complication is the updating of these estimated dates. They could become out of date, no pun intended, when someone edits family members' dates.

And UI wise, would these be stored in the normal date of birth and date of death fields, maybe with a new certainty status indicator?
by Chris Whitten G2G Astronaut (1.4m points)
Is there any way to 'force' an estimate on the profile entry page if no birthdate is input?  
For example, if, when entering a new person and nothing is entered in the birthdate fields - could something pop-up/drop down  that gave a choice of:
Prior to 1600
Estimate 1600-1600
Estimate 1700-1799
Estimate 1800- 1899
Estimate 1900-1999
After  2000
and the page wouldn't save until one box was selected?
Hi Chris. Sure, that would be technically possible, and it's an interesting idea. The first change we'd need to make would be to allow for the appropriate storage and display of this sort of date. Right now, as you may know, you can't even use decade estimates, let alone century estimates. :-)
Chris Hoyt is on point with what I intended... I am talking about manual uploads forcing you to give an estimate... of course we already have tons of dateless profiles now but fixing the going forward stuff is a great start.

I suggested the date range because people might be offended by being forced to put in an exact date with a "Before" certainty, but that could at least be a mid-point, to require the current DOB field to be filled, no matter the certainty...
As to this section only: "A complication is the updating of these estimated dates. They could become out of date, no pun intended, when someone edits family members' dates."

Is there someway to program <if A not be B>? So if there was an estimated date range selected in B, and someone eventually added an actual date or even a better estimated date in A (such as before 1850 with the date uncertain buttons), then B would no longer be available to enter data?   
PS I don't pretend to understand the complications of all this programming so I could be way off!

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