Help:Estimated Dates

Search WikiTree's help pages:

Categories: Styles and Standards | Profile Editing Help | WikiTree Help

Language: en | de | fr | nl

Here is our policy on uncertain and estimated dates.

See Help:Uncertain Locations for a parallel policy on location names.


Estimating Dates

If you don't know the birth or death date for a person, you're encouraged to estimate a date.

This practice is controversial (see this G2G discussion) but the WikiTree community has decided that its benefits outweigh the costs, if done correctly.

An estimated date is required when creating a new person if a reliable birth or death date is unknown.[1]

Rules of thumb for estimates

Become familiar with standard practice for the time period and geographical area of interest. For example, in the 1700s and 1800s in Northern Europe and the New England colonies, women often married at about 20-21 and men around 25. The first child was typically born within the first year of marriage.

Christening, baptismal, and burial dates

WikiTree does not have traditional fields for Christening, Baptism, or Burial. You are encouraged to include this information in the biography/narrative space.

These dates can and should be used as clues for estimating a birth or death date when those dates are unknown.

Use the date status indicators

All date fields on WikiTree can be marked as "uncertain", "before", or "after." These should be used with estimates where appropriate.

Explain how an estimate was made

Always explain how you arrived at an estimated date in a Research Notes section in the text of the profile.

This is very important. Note the source and method you used.

Use the {{Estimated Date}} Research Note Box

In addition to explaining the method used to arrive at an estimate, you may want to draw special attention to it with the {{Estimated Date}} Research Note Box.


Dates on WikiTree may be estimates!

When you see a date on WikiTree marked "uncertain", "before", or "after", be sure to investigate how the date was estimated.

Avoid making estimates based on estimates

Avoid estimating dates based on estimated dates. Estimates across multiple generations can become wildly inaccurate.

For example, if you estimate a parent's date based on a child's birth date, and then estimate a grandparent's date based on the parent, the estimate is doubly uncertain.

  1. This was instituted in January 2014. Some profiles created before 2014 still have no dates.

This page was last modified 20:54, 8 October 2021. This page has been accessed 36,286 times.