On This Page

This page is part of the ORA Technical Notes series. it is not necessary for most users to read, understand, or retain the information on this help page. It is provided for power users and other people who are interested in (mostly technical) details.

ORA's implementation is constantly changing and the details in this Technical Note may not be up-to-date.


ORA detects dates that appear in one of the following formats.

  • yyyy-mm-dd
  • nn-nn-yyyy
  • dd Mmm yyyy (base GEDCOM d-m-y)
  • Mmm yyyy (base GEDCOM m-y)
  • yyyy (base GEDCOM y)
  • day dd Mmm yyyy
  • Mmm dd, yyyy


  • yyyy is a year. ORA recognizes 3- and 4-digit years in most of the formats above. 4-digit years must begin with "1" or "20". So, 1000 to 2099 are valid years, 2100 and above are not. In other words, ORA tries to avoid interpreting any 4-digit number as a year.
  • mm is a month number, 1 to 12, leading zero or not.
  • dd is a day number, 1 to 31, leading zero or not.
  • nn-nn is either mm-dd or dd-mm. ORA decides whether nn-nn is mm-dd or dd-mm based on two inputs:
    • The values: if one of the values is greater than 12 and the other is 12 or less, the number greater than 12 is the day and the other number is the month.
    • The locale: a page that claims to be from the US will use mm-dd, a page that claims to be from most other locales will use dd-mm.

    Unfortunately, many pages do not set a locale and some sites with a locale use a non-traditional sequence for that locale.

  • Mmm is a month name. ORA recognizes full month names ("January") or abbreviations ("Jan") and is case-insensitive so "JAN" and "jan" are equivalent.
  • day is a day name. ORA recognizes full day names ("Sunday") or abbreviations ("Sun") and is case-insensitive so "SUN" and "sun" are equivalent.

When ORA knows it is parsing obituary text, ORA will detect dates in the form "1st of January, 2022".

ORA also recognizes the above forms with various punctuation differences. For example, "2022_01_11" is an acceptable variation of yyyy-mm-dd.

Quarter Dates

Quarter Dates are used in England and Wales and often appear in UK General Registry Office records. The quarters are January to March (Q1), April to June (Q2), July to September (Q3), and October to December (Q4).

Some genealogy applications have special support for Quarter Dates. Most do not. Whether or not you use a genealogy application with support for Quarter Dates, it's useful for ORA to detect and standardize Quarter Dates to help you be consistent and avoid mistakes.

There are several challenges related to how Quarter Dates are transcribed, indexed, and rendered.

  • Quarter dates may be displayed using a single Field or multiple Fields. The examples below represent the same Quarter.

    DateQ3 1875
    Registration QuarterJuly
    Registration Year1875
  • Quarters may be represented using a number, the starting month of the Quarter, all three months of the Quarter, or a single character indicating the last month of the Quarter. All the values shown below represent the same Quarter.

    Registration QuarterQ3 1875
    Registration QuarterJuly 1875
    Registration QuarterJul-Aug-Sep 1875
    Registration Quarter1875 S Quarter

After ORA extracts Fields from the current page, it reviews the Fields and attempts to detect Quarter Dates. It reviews Field labels searching for common terms such as "registration", "quarter", etc., and inspects the Field value to determine if the value contains a Quarter Date or part of one.

ORA inspects Field labels searching for values that match the general pattern "event Quarter" where event can be one of Registration, Birth, Marriage, or Death. "Quarter" can be fully spelled out or abbreviated "Qtr" or "Q". ORA also takes note of fields named "event Date" and "event Year".

After inspecting all the relevant Fields, if ORA has both a quarter number and a quarter year, it adds a standardized form of the Quarter Date into a single Field. The format of the standaridzed field is determined by the Quarter Date Format property of the OraSettings page.

Fields named "Registration Year" are common. ORA provides special handling for them. If there is "Registration Date" field, but no separate "Registration Year" Field, ORA adds a "Registration Year" Field with the year value from the Registration Year field.

The OraSettings page includes some other relevent information about ORA's treatment of Quarter Dates.