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Circa Dates?


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#1 strathglass

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Posted 16 May 2020 - 04:44 PM

Oddly I haven't found a way to enter a circa date.

If I know the year is approximate, is there no way to add a CIRCA indicator/flag to that date?

 

 

 



#2 Bob C

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Posted 16 May 2020 - 05:06 PM

ca or about(abt) or est (estimated) or say



#3 strathglass

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Posted 16 May 2020 - 05:31 PM

Did not realize you could just type in "Ca 1920" and that would be accepted!

Thanks.



#4 zhangrau

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Posted 16 May 2020 - 05:49 PM

Don't even need to type "ca 1920" -- if you type "c 1920" then RM will add the "a" for you. One keystroke down, 22 gazillion to go !!!



#5 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 17 May 2020 - 08:12 AM

I'm not sure if this is official, but it has always seemed to me that a "ca" date is more precise than is an "est" date.

 

If the only information I have is that a person was 8 years old in the 1850 census and apparently died before the 1860 census, I will enter the birth date as "ca 1842" with a citation to the 1850 census for the evidence. I realize that some users will enter the birth date for such a person as "bet 1841 and 1842" because the person could have been born in 1841 but their 9th birthday hadn't yet occurred on the official date of the 1850 census. But my experience is that census ages are pretty unreliable anyway. Our hypothetical person could possibly have really been born in 1844. To see how strong this effect is, you need only find a family that was enumerated twice in the same census a month or so apart living in different counties each time. The variance in reported ages can be astounding.

 

I use an "est" date when the precision of the estimate is even worse that what you can get from the census that is 1850 or later. For example, the only way I might have to estimate the birthdate for a person might be that they had a child who was born in 1788. So maybe I would estimate the parent's birth date as "est 1763". If you don't like backing up by 25 years and prefer a different value, that's fine. But to me the key is that "est 1763" is intended to be less precise than is "ca 1763".

 

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#6 KFN

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Posted 17 May 2020 - 08:45 AM

Here is my take on the various date option that could be used based on the GEDCOM standard and my background as a librarian and genealogist.

 

ABT = About, meaning the date is not exact.

CAL = Calculated mathematically, for example, from an event date and age.
EST = Estimated based on an algorithm using some other event date.
AFT = Event happened after the given date.
BEF = Event happened before the given date.
BET = Event happened some time between date 1 AND date 2. For example, bet 1904 and 1915 indicates that the event state (perhaps a single day) existed somewhere between 1904 and 1915 inclusive.
FROM = Indicates the beginning of a happening or state. TO = Indicates the ending of a happening or state.
 
Wikipedia says: Circa (from Latin, meaning 'around, about, roughly, approximately') this would be that same as the GEDCOM “abt”.
 
update:
If I’m build the event that is reflected in the source “ABT”, if I’m building an event based on another event “EST”.
 
I tend to use ABT for complete dates like ABT 5 MAY 1923, where I use EST or CAL when I’m given an age but want to calculate or estimate the year.  I use BET when the date or age given for an event has an about date and the date I’m building is imprecise by a couple of years.  
 
Nothing scientific about all of this, just some “feelings” about how accurate I’m being with the data I’ve be presented with and the fact/event I creating. 


#7 Vyger

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Posted 20 May 2020 - 04:09 AM

Oddly I haven't found a way to enter a circa date.

If I know the year is approximate, is there no way to add a CIRCA indicator/flag to that date?

 

 

 

Open the Help file and search for "date formats" without the quotes all the possibilities, modifiers and qualifiers are listed there.


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#8 baluo

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Posted 21 May 2020 - 07:43 AM


But my experience is that census ages are pretty unreliable anyway.

 


Many thanks for this comment.  As a more general question -- we are researching two brothers of the key figure of our project, who (the brothers) kind of "disappeared" in the US in the 1860s or 1870s.  In other words, we don't have any reliable info about them apart from knowing that they left for the US in the 1850s.  Some more detailed online research then found the names of the two brothers in various forms of spelling (German or Americanized) in Census documents, city address books, and eventually as an image in A Billion Graves.  These two guys lived in relative close proximity (according to the address books) with other family members (perhaps) not too far away or even being registered with them.

 

The problem:  more or less all entries were out of date by two years (younger than what we know as the date of birth).   And their surname "Schürmann" had been anglicised as Schuermann, Schurman, Shurman, Sherman ...

 

Is this a phenomenon that anybody of you may have come across in your research?

 

I know this is not strictly related to RM, so forgive me to ask this question.

Many thanks, Gerhard

 

 

 



#9 Vyger

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Posted 21 May 2020 - 08:22 AM

Is this a phenomenon that anybody of you may have come across in your research?

 

Yes is the short answer, I have very few Custom Facts but one is Recorded Age which I use as a sanity check against the RM calculated age. In Ireland I am only dealing with two available Census returns, 1901 and 1911, the age is recorded in whole years and with thousands of Census entries I can say there are very few where the age on each return are consistant let alone being accurate when the birth is eventually proved.

 

Incidentally if a Census entry is the first evidence of a person by Birth date would be recorded as Bet 1 Apr 1873 and 31 Mar 1874 for a 27 year old on the 1901 Census which was taken 31 Mar 1901, that becomes my starting point and sort date.

 

The spelling changes to the names is very common, especially as immigrants, in the days before common literacy the scribe noted his understanding of how he thought the name sounded.

 

I believe your strongest clues are the relationship and proximity of life events, geographic proximity is something I have to rely on a lot in looking for family ties and something I hope RM gets better at reporting.

 

For the record and just in my opinion from what you have posted, I believe they are the same brothers.


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#10 zhangrau

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Posted 21 May 2020 - 05:52 PM

 

Is this a phenomenon that anybody of you may have come across in your research?

 

 

QUITE a phenomenon, all over my database.

 

My earliest French ancestors (two brothers) came to New France separately about 1660 and 1669. They both used the same surname spelling found in their hometown's church records. 360 years later, all surname-project researchers seem to be in agreement that EVERY person using the surname (or a variation) is descended from ONE of those two brothers. The older, earlier immigrant had descendants, but his male lines died out after 3 generations, and only female lines continued.

 

It's been a few years since I checked, but there are OVER 80 variations of the surname in Canada and the USA. Most appear to be due to attempts to spell the name so that people would pronounce it similarly to the original French pronunciation (some are clearly anglicizations), and with millions of square miles of geographic distribution (and accompanying language and dialect variations) there's some rather creative re-spellings. A very small number of the variations appear to be spelling errors based on a census taker or other official "writing what they thought they heard."

 

Doing research on the web requires me to constantly consider which variations I should be including in my current sub-search. Sometimes wildcards are useful, but since surname variations start with C, G, J, S and Z (seriously !!!) wildcards alone aren't enough.



#11 baluo

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Posted 22 May 2020 - 01:02 AM

Many thanks, Vyger and Zhangrau,

for your insights and ideas. 

 

> Custom Facts Recorded Age

May I ask, how you handle his fact in RM? 

Something like
"[Date] [Place] [age of person recorded as ##]" and then sorted by event date?



#12 Vyger

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Posted 22 May 2020 - 07:54 AM

Many thanks, Vyger and Zhangrau,

for your insights and ideas. 

 

> Custom Facts Recorded Age

May I ask, how you handle his fact in RM? 

Something like
"[Date] [Place] [age of person recorded as ##]" and then sorted by event date?

 

Firstly I must say my research is very data driven and from what I know Zhangrau also has a large database. I have six main Surname studies at present and I enter any data I come across, frequently electronically, and compare and merge later. Many Rootsmagic users are stepping one ancestor at a time and focusing of building families and generating reports, the report aspect is not my focus at present, table type reports and for data comparison is. None of my sanity check type events are set to print in reports so sentence structure is not really important to me, you can do this under Lists > Fact Type Lists > Edit

 

It's important that each user decides what works best for them and the way they work and commonly available data will differ Country to Country, the custom facts I refer to as sanity checks are mostly contained on the image below (highlighted red) and work well for me and the majority of data I collect. Geography is a vital clue in Ireland where there is no surviving Census data prior to 1901, historically the Parish was the administrative body so proximity reporting and common geography are important clues.

 

However you asked about my use of Recorded Age and for me it's mainly so I can see a significant difference between the age recorded on record and the Age calculated by Rootsmagic which may indicate an error in my data entry or incorrect merges. In the example below I have still to discover a Birth for Daniel, I have also still to examine his first marriage record and record Age, Occupation and Residence information from that. This is one of the more consistent cases as regards age declarations with only a two year discrepancy, many individuals are much more.

 

The Marital Status event allows me to compile reports of Widow(ers) so I can drive towards discovering previous marriage details and death data for pre-deceasing spouses.

 

I use the Description field in Research Notes for a 'what I know' type data entry again for People View data and I use the Place field to establish a geographic connection to the Parent from childrens events like their marriage or where they lived when informant on death registrations, see blue highlight.

 

The Children fact stems from data available only on the Uk & Ireland 1911 Census returns where the questions Completed years of Marriage?, Number of children born?, and Number of children surviving? were asked, again this is another sanity check for me to aid research of Marriage and missing children information.

 

I say again, this works for me and the common data available to me, it will differ for others although maybe similar. Displaying, searching and sorting datasets is important to the way I work and this may not be important to others so in the example of the Relationship fact I can easily create a group where the description field contains 'Grandchild', usually derived from a census return and work to build out these families.

 

I should also say I make good use of the Rootsmagic Alternate Name fact for Other Spellings but not to the extent Zhangrau has displayed, this is important as whilst Sounds Like (Soundex) can be used as a search criteria some of my Surname derivatives share more than one Soundex Code.

 

I do hope this helps you form a system which best suits the type of research you are doing.

 

data-track-events.png


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#13 Vyger

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Posted 22 May 2020 - 08:40 AM

I am reconciling marriage registrations this afternoon, whilst on the majority the age is simple recorded as "full" and I can only estimate the birth as being Bef marriage year - 20 as a starting point I just came across this dream record and thought I would share in the context of this discussion, a 60 year old bachelor?

 

marriage-age.png


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#14 Don Newcomb

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Posted Yesterday, 08:04 AM

 

Is this a phenomenon that anybody of you may have come across in your research?

 

 

It's interesting. Some people you can set your watch by their stated age or date of birth. Others had a much more "flexible" idea of their ages. Some women, in particular, after about the age 30 would "forget" about 2 years in every ten. I knew one family who had decided that great granddaddy had "robbed the cradle" by marrying great grandma when she was 12. When I looked into it, she just "forgot" about 6 years by the time she died. She was actually about 17 or 18 when she and great granddad married. 

 

People not only were "flexible" about their ages, they were also flexible about their names. Given and 2nd name swaps, nicknames, change of spellings. Everything was open to change.