About dates default to preferred date

Noticed that if I enter a birth fact from a census with a date, Abt. 1875, it does not show up on my profile page under 1875. It shows up under the chosen preferred birth date of 17 Nov 1876.
The only way I found to get the census to show under 1875 is to take out the word Abt.
Is this a bug, or is rootsfinder designed to work this way?
I like to be exact about dates. I would prefer to enter dates with their Abt. designations so that my tree is accurate.

I agree that preserving “abt” (or “est”) would be very desirable.

RootsFinder considers that a date of “Abt 1875” is compatible with “17 Nov 1876”, so they are grouped together in the timeline, and since “17 Nov 1876” is more precise, that is the date that shows in the timeline. If you expand the evidences under the timeline date, you will see the date on the census record correctly listed as “Abt 1875”.

RootsFinder considers that an “About” date is compatible with any date a year before or after the date. So if you wanted your date to show up as a separate timeline entry, you could fool RootsFinder and use a different word, like “Approx 1875” or “Roughly 1875”.

I decided to assign the word “circa” to represent Abt since RootsFinder assigns Abt differently than I want it to appear. I added a birth event and listed circa 1877 under the 4. PEOPLE tab. When I click on the 5. PROFILES tab, it reads Birth About 1877.
I’m wondering why my word choice circa has been replaced? I’m trying to maintain consistency throughout my tree and would like the word circa to remain as I have entered it. Also, when I click Save, the entry on my tree lists Birth About 1877. I do see circa down below with the other details I listed for this record. Is it possible for the wording I assigned to appear up top and not be replaced by About? Does RootsFinder automatically change the word circa to about?

It sounds like it does, but that’s a bug. It shouldn’t change the words you enter. I will fix the bug so that circa doesn’t get changed to about.

However, circa is one of the words that RootsFinder “knows” means about, so you will need to pick a different word to get the behavior that you want.

Is there a listing of words that RootsFinder “knows” means another word? It would be helpful to know this up front so I don’t have to go back and change a bunch of entries.

I’m out of town for the next few days and don’t have access to my computer. I will answer when I get back on Thursday.

I got back later than I expected. Here are the words that RootsFinder knows about. I agree they should be in a help file; I’ll post them here in the meantime:

ABOUT WORDS (+/- 1 year)

  • about
  • abt
  • circa
  • ca
  • c
  • +/-
  • approx
  • aprox

BEFORE WORDS (up to 10 years before)

  • before
  • bef
  • foer
  • <

AFTER WORDS (up to 10 years after)

  • after
  • aft
  • >


  • from
  • to
  • until
  • between
  • bet
  • betw


  • and
  • &
  • or
  • also

ESTIMATED WORDS (I think this is +/- 5 years)

  • estimated
  • est
  • calculated
  • calc
  • cal
  • probably
  • prob
  • maybe


  • quarter
  • qtr
  • qrt
  • q

If you don’t want RootsFinder to merge your approximate date with an exact date, you need to use a word not on this list, like “roughly” or “near”, or else use a misspelling, like “abtt”, or else just “a”?