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. 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.
- ^ "circa – Definition and more from the free Merriam-Webster dictionary". dictionary.com. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/circa. Retrieved 16 July 2010.
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