Cousin Connection Tip #5: Getting a Date

by Abby Glann

Hi Cousins!

As you are going along entering your family in one of the fantastic collaborative genealogy sites we talked about last week, an important thing to include are dates. This may seem obvious to some but not so much to others.They make a huge difference when trying to connect with others, because they can help you see whether someone is even remotely a close match with your own ancestors.

But, what if you don't know a date for someone? A death, birth, christening, high school graduation, or marriage date can all help you get a timeline for someone. Some sites require a death or birth date to help their searches. How would you figure out a good estimate? If you have a death or birth date, you're set. If you have graduation dates then you can estimate they were born 17-20 years earlier. First marriages tend to happen in your early to mid twenties.  If you know when one of their children were born, you can generally estimate that they parents were born 25-30 years earlier.  Keep in mind, these are all estimations, and can be changed later if you find records to give you a better idea or exact dates for a birth date. They can be the the one thing that saves you from accidentally merging Joe Jones born circa 1800 married to Sue Brown with Joe Jones born 1940 married to Sue Brown. Make the best you can-it really makes a difference!

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