This is a follow-up to: Interpreting 17th century German dates?

In documents available to me I have both absolute dates (e.g., 2 March 1648) and relative dates (e.g., 2. post trin. 1649). Since the records in question come from an area where conversion to the Gregorian calendar had not yet taken place, I presume the relative date should be converted to the Julian calendar and recorded in that fashion. Is there then a necessity to record this fact (or generally the fact that dates prior to 1700 are Julian and not Gregorian) or is this tacitly implied? Are there general rules on how to handle such situations?


1 Answer 1


The GEDCOM standard allows for a date that is interpreted from another date.

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The keyword "INT" indicates that what follows is the Gregorian DATE you've interpreted followed by the DATE_PHRASE you interpreted it from. The DATE_PHRASE is enclosed in parenthesis.

You should always translate the date the best you can to a Gregorian date, as that will be the calendar that you want your software to work with.

In addition, you should also always record the date in its original form. If the document gives the date as a Julian date or as a relative date, then that original form should make up the DATE_PHRASE. The DATE_PHRASE is any statement offered as a date and need not be recognizable to any date parsing algorithm, and it may be up to 35 characters.

e.g. The way to represent your example in GEDCOM with a relative date would be:

2 DATE INT 13 Jun 1649 (2. post trin. 1649)

With a Julian date it would be:

2 DATE INT 13 Jun 1649 (Julian date: 3 Jun 1649)

If your software supports this form of GEDCOM, then you will see a checkbox option to indicate that the date was interpreted and it will then let you enter the original phrase that it was interpreted from.

If your software doesn't have this option, then you can enter the original form of the date as a NOTE attached to the date, e.g.:

2 DATE 13 Jun 1649
3 NOTE Interpreted from relative date: 2. post trin. 1649


2 DATE 13 Jun 1649
3 NOTE Interpreted from Julian date: 3 Jun 1649

The NOTE method gets around the GEDCOM limitation of 35 characters for the interpreted date.

Whether or not your software supports interpreted dates in its GEDCOM, it would not be bad to choose to use the NOTE option all the time, since all software should support the latter.

  • 3
    The 2 dates mentioned in the question, 2 March 1648 and 2. post trin. 1649, do not refer to the same event - they are just examples of each form of date. These dates are the same: 2. post trin. 1649 (church year) = 3 Jun 1649 (Julian) = 13 Jun 1649 (Gregorian)
    – bgwiehle
    Commented Jan 6, 2018 at 19:51
  • 2
    Thank you @bgwiehle - I've updated my answer to include correct corresponding dates as you provided. Although, mine was a good example of how including the original date with improperly interpreted dates will allow another person to find and point out errors in one's work. :-)
    – lkessler
    Commented Jan 6, 2018 at 20:09

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