German Genealogy Tip #12: Dates in Germany are Written Day.Month.Year

In America, dates are usually written in the format “October 11th, 2014,” and when writing only numbers, “10-11-2014” or “10/11/2014”. The pattern we use in America is month-day-year.

In Germany, however, they use a (what I think is a much more sensible) system that goes: day.month.year. (The smallest unit of time, followed by a larger unit of time, followed by a larger unit of time.) This is also the format that professional genealogists usually prefer: 11 October 2014.

Thus, today’s date, October 11th, 2014, would be written in Germany as “11.10.2014”. When doing genealogy, make sure that you do not read the date through your American flavor of date reading, otherwise you will incorrectly get the date as November 10th, 2014. One other tip to help you know when a date is being written in German format (day, month, year) is the fact that periods are used in between each of the numbers, rather than hyphens or slashes.

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