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Circa (from Latin, meaning "around, about"), usually abbreviated c. or ca. (also circ. or cca.), means "approximately" in the English language, usually referring to a date.[1] Circa is widely used in genealogy and historical writing when the dates of events are not precisely known.

When used in date ranges, the term "circa" is applied before each approximate date, while dates without "circa" immediately preceding them are generally assumed to be known with certainty.


  • 1732–1799, both the years shown and the date range are precisely known
  • c. 1732–1799, only the second year shown is certain, the first year is approximately known
  • 1732 – c. 1799, in this case the first year is certain, and the second year is approximate
  • c. 1732 – c. 1799, both the years shown and the date range are approximately known

Use in Familypedia[]

We use "c" frequently in page names for individuals, before one or both of the "years" that form part of standard page names. No space between it and the year.

Here it does not mean "approximate to within a couple of years", as some users would like it to. It can imply a much wider level of uncertainty, though seldom more than 50 years. The value of having a broad interpretation is that every page has some indication of date, so that readers can see at a glance whether a page they have found refers to someone born in the century or half-century that interests them.

If you want to search only for people who were born or lived in a particular timespan, you may like to try some of the targeted searches that Semantic MediaWiki is good at. See Help:SMW.

See also[]

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This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Circa. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.