I don't understand WikiTree timestamps [closed]

+6 votes

Let's do the time warp again!

I thought I understood WT servers used UTC, converted to member local time based on account settings.  Local-time timestamps on my Nav Home Page look OK.  It is now about 18:16 UTC, 29 Aug.  I just noticed an entry on a profile page, timestamped 29 Aug 20:01.  What gives?

Edit to add 31 Aug 0420 UTC:  I think I get it.  Maybe David's settings are two hours ahead, or maybe he's working with a mobile device, two time zones west of his normal location.  If WT logs actions based on the user's clock rather than its own, that would explain it.

Thanks for the entertaining and informative responses, everyone!

closed with the note: Time in time with your time and its news is captured
in WikiTree Tech by Herbert Tardy G2G6 Pilot (695k points)
closed by Herbert Tardy

1 Answer

+3 votes
UTC for some reason refers to what we know as GMT.

So if you ever see UTC, then it refers to BRITISH time and not Eastern time. So basically 4 or 5 hours ahead of the east coast depending on the time of year.

DUH you didnt want to know that!!

Oh and did you know in some parts of the world - Australia, NZ and Asia - it is already the 30 August?  So yes somewhere in the world is it is 8 PM while it is still coming up to 3 pm on the east coast... on 29 Aug
by Robynne Lozier G2G6 Pilot (962k points)
UTC is four hours ahead of US Eastern Daylight time, six hours ahead of my local time (12:53 MDT).  So the event shown in my screen capture still happened about an hour from now.

GMT vs UTC is something only true time wizards understand.  I think the difference is seconds.  Another related mystery is Why is Coordinated Universal Time abbreviated UTC?
Herbert, I couldn't tell you anything about how the acronyms came into being, but in the world I come from, that time is called Zulu - just what you don't need - more confusion added to the mix <grin>.

I believe that England observes something similar to the United States daylight time, but with different dates for the changes back and forth.  Could it be that they changed, changing the time delta by that one hour difference you observed?  Please note that I'm grasping at straws here.
Gaile, I'm pretty sure Zulu meant GMT before it meant UTC, so your wicked plan to confuse me has failed!  Muwhahahaha!

It's a two-hour discrepancy that I observed:  at around 18:00 UTC, I screen capped an event stamped 20:01 (UTC?).
Honest, Herbert, I wasn't trying to confuse you.  Being a girl, what do I know from numbers?

Don't play innocent with me, Ms Connolly.  I've read your bio.  cool

I'm replying at 20: 44 BST (British summer time)  which is one hour ahead of GMT so 19:44.

Thanks, Helen, that agrees with my clock:  now 13:47 MDT = 19:47 UTC. 

And the event in my screen capture still happened in the future.  surprise

Per Wikipedia:

The official abbreviation for Coordinated Universal Time is UTC. This abbreviation arose from a desire by the International Telecommunication Union and the International Astronomical Union to use the same abbreviation in all languages. English speakers originally proposed CUT (for "coordinated universal time"), while French speakers proposed TUC (for "temps universel coordonné"). The compromise that emerged was UTC,[9] which conforms to the pattern for the abbreviations of the variants of Universal Time (UT0, UT1, UT2, UT1R, etc.).[10]

Basically neither side would give-in so no one got what they wanted.

Thanks, Thomas!  An excellent example of collaboration!  laugh

See the Wikipedia article for Coordinated Universal Time.

The important things are in the first paragraph:

  • English speakers often use Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) as a synonym.
  • It is NOT adjusted for Daylight Saving Time.

The last item is important. It is NOT always the same time that London is on, because of Daylight Saving Time (or Summer Time, depending on what you call it). It is the same during the winter.

Here's a useful site for time zones and conversions:


I work for an international company in high-tech, and we constantly have to be aware of time zones across the world to coordinate travel, meetings and systems, etc.

And to add to the confusion there is now a lobby to stop changing times twice a year in Europe. smiley

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