How to capture family with no dates of birth

+2 votes
Good Morning all,

I have a problem in that I have a large section of related family members for who I do not have a date of birth, and Wikitree will not accept an entry without a DOB.

Guessing the date is dangerous as it could present incorrect or inaccurate data which others might assume a correct.

I there not a method whereby a person can be loaded without a DOB, (with a relevant notation) and the 'flow' of the family maintained?

Any suggestions?


in Genealogy Help by Anonymous Gebhardt G2G1 (1.5k points)
edited by Ellen Smith

2 Answers

+7 votes
I always search on Familysearch for sources for all relatives. In the case of wanting to add a sibling where, in order to link them, you need to add a parent without knowing the parent's birthdate, it is ok to estimate and mark it as uncertain, but that should only really be done when you've done a search and found that sources for the parent are elusive. Often it is just a matter of a quick search on Familysearch to find a census or baptism for the parent, or you can add a death date without a birth date. The further you go back, the harder that becomes and inevitably, you will end up with some estimates.
by Gillian Causier G2G6 Pilot (235k points)
Good Morning,

Thank you for the comments and advice received. However the problem is still "how do I show spouses, children, parents" with no date of birth. I understand that guessing is the easy way out, but when you are trying to guess a living persons age, one that you did not contact yourself, it is dangerous and may lead to the error being compounded over the years.

This problem is also very real when trying to capture those family members who 'intermarry', cousins to cousins, uncles to aunts etc.

Ever since I started genealogy more than 40 years ago, I was always told 'if you are unsure of a date, put it in the comments, but do not enter it as a given.' Especially when you are working on a public forum where people will take your information and use it as 'gospel.'

Again thanks to all.

Regards to all,

+4 votes

You need birth or death dates. I often encounter people with no birth date but am able to find a death date, most often with an age given. In those cases I do use their age at death to estimate a birth year. I sometimes also find marriage records with an age given for bride and groom, another way of estimating a birth year without being completely off the wall with guessing. If I cannot come up with anything allowing me a reasonable guess I generally list these family members in the biography only with a notation that so far no other record of their existence could be found. I do agree with you that guessing without another reasonable date to go by creates potentially more problems. I have examples of 60 year old widowers marrying 18 year old girls and 20 year old men marrying 40 year old women, just guessing that they were age 25 for men and 20 for women at marriage would be absurd.

by Helmut Jungschaffer G2G6 Pilot (540k points)

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