A limitation in Date Feasibility Checking

Tip version 15.2

Revision date: 12 May 2001

Software versions: 5.2 and above

The Generations software offers a useful feature in the Date Feasibility Checking. This helps avoid typos in data entry by checking to see if the data entered is "rational" in terms of normal marriage ages, lifespans, etc. for individuals, and children's births relative to their parents. The features checked and the ages used can be set as user options, and it can also be disabled.

Go to the Options menu and select the Dates item. The first screen will show the Date format options.

The second tab shows the Date Feasibility Checking options.

There is a nagging limitation to the way it is implemented in the software. The date feasibility is done on the basis of the calendar year only, not the specific date.

So if you have a woman who has a child born on, say, 12 April 1735, and this is the last piece of data you have for this woman, you may enter her date of death as "after 12 April 1735." This is a perfectly acceptable date entry format for the software, but the Date Feasibility checking will give you a warning message. It sees the year in the death entry as 1735, sees the child born on 12 April 1735, and warns you that the child is born after the death of the mother. The software is using only the year entry and is then interpreting it as the beginning of the year.

I have sent in a suggestion to Sierra that this be corrected in a future update. Meanwhile you have to decide whether the advantages of checking for typos (or grossly conflicting data from sources) are greater than the inconveniences of this sort of "false positive" result. I leave the Date Feasibility checking enabled.

Regards, Mike Hobart

Copyright © 1999-2001 Michael A. Hobart, commercial reuse restricted.

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