I have a name from a certificate, but cannot add, because I have no dates

+2 votes
I have a marriage certificate (between Euphemia Shanks and Hector (Pius) McNeil, that shows the names of parents, but I'm unable to add them, because wikitree insists I add dates, but I have no dates.  At this point, it's starting point.  How can I overcome this obstacle?  I've run into similar restrictions, cuz I don't have dates.  I have sibling names for Euphemia Shanks, but because I don't have dates, I'm unable to add them, as well.  

Thanks for any assistance.

WikiTree profile: Hector McNeil
in WikiTree Help by Diana MacNeil G2G Rookie (190 points)
Did Canada have a census?

7 Answers

+7 votes

One thing WikiTree allows you to do with regard to adding profiles that require dates is to make an estimate of date of birth that is just that--a guess--until you are able to find a source document that provides a date.  One rule of thumb is that in many cases, parents are born about 30 years before their children.  Clearly this is just a guess, and obviously might be off by years--or decades--but at least it provides you with the abillity to start the profile.  When you enter the birth year as a guess, be sure to click the "estimated/uncertain" box.  :-)

Some things you can consider when guessing parents birth years are such things as:

-- Societal norms of the place and time (This article provides approximate marriage ages in the U.S. through history):  http://www.genealogytoday.com/articles/reader.mv?ID=528

-- Family customs (which might show up in subsequent generations that you can see).

-- Clues from other source records

by Cynthia Larson G2G6 Pilot (171k points)
edited by Cynthia Larson
+4 votes

You can do it the easy now, Harder later way or the hard way now.

The Hard way is doing the research on the parents with the only information you probably have as their names. Try and find them a Vital date so you can add them.

The Easy now, Harder later is simple to start with. Estimate dates for them. That can be easy. What makes it Harder later is that estimates can be very wrong meaning that duplicate profiles may get created or you won't find the correct information due to starting the search years in the wrong place. I know this from experience as I found some orphaned profiles for one of my watchlist profiles parents but the birth years were estimated 20 years after the actual birth year. That resulted in a duplicate profile being made which I only discovered when I went to add in the siblings for my watchlist profile to find they had already been added. 

Adding the parents this way makes more work further down the track so it is better to try and get it right first up rather than doing estimates.

by Darren Kellett G2G6 Pilot (201k points)
+4 votes
Here you go, with a BIG GUESS (a.k.a. estimate)

Hector was born in 1898.  
Say, his parents were married in 1897
His parents were 21 at marriage, so both born 1876

Don't forget to click the little 'about/uncertain' radio button.

Of course, you could always do the research... ;o)
by Ros Haywood G2G Astronaut (1.5m points)
edited by Ros Haywood
+4 votes
by Patricia Stockley G2G6 Pilot (127k points)
+5 votes

Perhaps this will help get you started.

1901 Census of Canada

Name Morris Mcneil
Gender Male
Marital Status Married
Age 26
Birth Day & Month 15 Feb
Birth Year 1875
Birthplace Ns
Relation to Head of House Head
Racial or Tribal Origin Scotch
Nationality Canadia
Religion Roman Catholic
Occupation Coal Miner
Province Nova Scotia
District Cape Breton
District Number 28
Sub-District Bridgeport
Sub-District Number F 4
Household Members
Name Age
Morris Mcneil 26
Cathrine Mcneil 22
Hector Mcneil 3
Susen Mcneil 1
James Mcneil 0
by Patricia Stockley G2G6 Pilot (127k points)
+4 votes

Pat Stockley gave you the census info, always a great place to fibd estimates for dates in families. Since you are doing some Nova Scotia wirk you might find https://www.novascotiagenealogy.com/ useful. 

by Doug McCallum G2G6 Pilot (447k points)
+2 votes
Some great advice already given and a great starting point from Patricia. But this happens a lot as you are going back in time, just for next time...

I would do it the hard way first, as your watchlist grows you may forget to go back and do the research, you can add it to your to do list to remind you, but you may as well get it done and dusted now (learned from experience!!)

I find the earliest way is to log into familysearch not using the rootsearch tool but off wikitree. Assume that as the father is listed in the marriage cert that his parents were married. If he's on the birth cert/baptismal record then even better.  The youngest the parents could (in most cases) have been when the child was born is 18, the oldest..... Up to you, I would start with late 30's. See how many sources are found and start to experiment with educated guesses, like Ros says, educated guesswork sometimes can take you where you need in seconds, or hours, or sometimes days and weeks with more common names!

Good luck with it :-)
by Lizzie Griffiths G2G6 Pilot (119k points)

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