Contents - Index - Previous - Next

Entering Dates in Date Fields

Entering Dates
Date fields in Legacy can handle any date from 1 Jan 5000 BC.  You can enter a date in almost any conceivable format and Legacy will recognize and reformat it into the current Date Format.  For example, if the current Date Format is set to be 21 Nov 1953 (dd mmm yyyy), the following would be recognized and redisplayed:

 Entered Displayed as 
 1492 1492 
 Jan 1500 Jan 1500 
 1-1500 Jan 1500 
 4/15/1840 15 Apr 1840 
 4/15/1840 / 1850 15 Apr 1840-1850 
 8 9 53 9 Aug 53 
 abt 3.3.1642 Abt 3 Mar 1642 
 about 3/3/1642 Abt 3 Mar 1642 
 aft 4-5-23 Aft 5 Apr 1923 
 after 1 2 1856-58 Aft 2 Jan 1856-1858 
 c 23 jun 1308 Cir 23 Jun 1308 
 bc 962 962 B.C. 
 ad 65 0065 
 ? Unknown 

You can change the prefixes "Abt", "Aft", "Bef", "Bet", "Cal", "Circa", and "BC" to anything you want from the Options > Customize > Date screen.

If you don't know when an event occurred, leave the field blank or type a question mark.  Legacy includes a popup calendar covering a time period from Jan. 1, 1700 to Dec. 31, 2100 if you need it.  To display the calendar, click Calendar on the toolbar.  (Or select Calendar from the View tab of the Ribbon bar.)

You can also enter the following words into any date field: dead, deceased, child, infant, stillborn and young.

LDS Information
If you are entering dates into an LDS ordinance field, there are some special codes available.  For more information see LDS Dates.

Double Dates
Legacy supports the practice of double dating to handle the time period between the changeover from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar.   To turn this feature on, click Customize on the Options tab on the Ribbon bar, and then click the Dates option on the menu panel.  With this feature selected, entering a date that falls between January 1, 1583 and March 24, 1752 (or any cutoff date you specify) displays it as a double date.  You can specifically enter the double date, such as Feb. 16, 1723/24 or Feb 16 1723/1724, in which case Legacy displays it as Feb 16, 1723/24.  If you don't include the second year, Legacy accepts the year you entered as the second year.  Jan 16, 1652 becomes Jan 16, 1651/52.  See Calendar History for more information.

Legacy lets you use the following prefixes at the beginning of date fields:

What you can enter: Displayed: 
About, Abt, A Abt 
After, Aft After 
Before, Bef, B Bef 
Between, Bet Between 
Circa, Cir, C Abt 
Calculated, Cal Cal 

You can change the displayed word to any other word you desire.

Calculating Dates
Some sources of information will indicate a person's age.  If you know when the source was created, you can calculate the approximate year of birth for the individual.  For example, if the United States 1850 census lists a person as being 12 years old, you can calculate their birth year as being 1838.  Since you don't know the month and day, the year could be one off.  If you are entering a calculated date in Legacy, precede the year with "Abt" (for about).  For example: "Abt 1838".

You should include an explanation of how you arrived at the date in either the Notes field or Source citation.

Approximating Dates
If you have a birth or marriage date for an individual, you can approximate many other missing dates.  In general you can estimate that a man was married when he was 25 and a woman when she was 21.  You can then estimate that their first child was born one year later and that subsequent children were born every two years after that.  For example, if a couple was married in 1863, you can estimate that the man was born in 1838, the woman in 1842, their first child in 1864 and the second child in 1866.  As another example, if a woman was born in 1800, you can estimate that she was married in 1821, her husband was born in 1796 and their first child was born in 1822.

When entering an estimated date, use an appropriate prefix, such as:
 Estimated or Est
 About or Abt
 Before or Bef
 After or Aft

It should be noted that information that comes from the Ancestral File or Personal Ancestral File containing computer approximated dates have angle brackets around them, such as <1763>.  You should refrain from using this format when entering dates you have approximated.  This way you can tell the difference between those you entered and those coming from these other sources.

Date Ranges
If you need to enter a range of dates, Legacy recognizes the following formats:
12 Dec 1888 to 6 Jan 1889
1888 to 1892
7 Jun to 9 Jun 1888
12 Dec to 15 Dec 1800
From / To
From 12 Dec 1888 to 6 Jan 1889
From 1888 to 1892
From Dec 1800 to 13 Dec 1805
From 23 Dec 1800 to Oct 1805
From 12 Dec to 15 Dec 1800
Between / and
Between 12 Dec 1888 and 6 Jan 1889
Between 1500 and April 1600
Between 1 and 12 Feb 1658
2 Jan 1610 or 4 Feb 1611
1888 or 1898
12 or 13 Dec 1888

This gives you an idea of the types of date ranges that Legacy recognizes.  Many other combinations are possible.  

Quarter Dates
There is a special date format for recording dates from the indexes of Births, Marriages, and Deaths for England and Wales published by the GRO (General Records Office). These indexes are organized on a calendar quarter basis by the date when the event was reported to the GRO. The quarters are Jan-Mar, Apr-Jun, Jul-Sep, and Oct-Dec. Legacy will accept a date based on these quarters that are entered in the following format:
[month] Q [year] - For [month] substitute the ending month for one of the calendar quarters. For year substitute the year of the Index.
Example: Jun Q 1876 would be the date for an event included in the GRO Index for the April to June Quarter of the year 1876.

9-1077 : 31209