From Whence the “Say”

Certain genealogical publications, when a date of an event is not supported by any direct or indirect evidence, will use the word “say” when giving the date

James Rampley was born say 1750 and went on to reproduce so many times that his descendants number in the millions.

The part about reproducing all those times isn’t usually included, but many times there is something missing after the “say.”

What makes you say it?

It is allowable to not have a document that gives the date, but if some record causes you to arrive at that “say date,” then say so. Perhaps it was because:

  • the person married in 1771
  • the person bought land in 1771
  • the person’s age was estimated using census records
  • his tombstone indicated he died in his 85th year

But give some reason when you guess or when you say.

If you say a “say” date, say a reason.

Don’t just sashay around.