Monday, December 15, 2014

What's In A Date?

Those of you who have been researching your family history for a while, have become very familiar with the different ways genealogists record information.  Many times they use formats and abbreviations that seem foreign to us, but adhere to a standard that make it easy for all genealogists, everywhere, to understand.  If you are new to genealogy and are just beginning your search, you will learn.

One of the nuances of genealogy is the date format.  Most of us who live in the United States are used to the Month/Day/Year format:  January 1, 2015 or 1/1/15.  If you have ever lived abroad, the standard is Day/Month/Year:  12 January 2015 or 12/1/15.  It can get confusing.

As genealogists, we use the European standard, with a twist.  February 18, 2015 would be shown as 18 February 2015 - and most of the time, the month will be abbreviated.
Examples:  Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec
So, January 12th 2015 turns into 12 Jan 2015.

This format has become so ingrained in me that I now use it all the time, for everything, everywhere. This drives some people nuts, but I figure if enough of us use it everywhere, all the time, we can convert them to our, internationally accepted, method. Genealogy has a very well-written explanation of this date format and why we use it. has a more detailed outline of the method.

If you want to walk among the genealogists, you have to talk like them.  Do it long enough, and you, too, will be converted.

-- Submitted by Denise Doyon

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