Calculating Dates and Date Ranges

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Precision—genealogists know all about the importance of precision when it comes to citing sources, recording details, and interpreting records. But many genealogists are less particular when it comes to calculating and expressing estimated dates. Avoiding fuzzy computations could mean the difference between solving a research problem and facing a roadblock.

Many records report age, usually expressed in years. A quick subtraction of the age from the year of the report yields a very rough estimate of when the person was born. This may be sufficient in some preliminary research, but as work progresses, detailed analysis becomes more and more important. Working with rough estimates may not be wise. Researchers must be more cautious in calculating, recording, and expressing dates.

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