Support » Requests and Feedback » earliest dates wordpress can handle .. how about 1858?

  • Hi there,
    I am contemplating using WordPress as a tool to create and display my family history. I already use it for my family’s blog, and have realised that really what I am doing is creating our family history: picture, stories and dates, for the last 2 years. Now I am thinking about bringing my WHOLE family history into wordpress, with stories post – dated, and using categories for things like people’s names and so on. My earliest post, using this method, would be from 1858, when Charles Thorpe migrated from blighty to South Australia.

    SO .. what is the earliest date WordPress will recognise? I did a short test and it seemed like in some places WP recognised the 1858 date, and in others, the date became 1963

Viewing 8 replies - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
  • It probably depends on the server.

    Hi there,
    I am running WP on a hosted server. I just upgraded to version 2.3. Curious as to why would the earliest date WP could store & display depend on the server?

    nicholasthorpe: because it is based on Unix Epoch (January 1 1970 00:00:00 GMT).

    ahhhh .. wow really? Thanks for that.

    So, even though I enter this early date (1858) on the post, that’s not what’s stored in the database?

    So, this is a conversation I should haave with my hosting co or something … Or is this just a dumb idea & I should forget it?

    Your host won’t be able to help.

    Search here in the forums for other discussions on old dates. Seems like this is more of a PHP limitation?

    There is a library for php for this,



    Just an idea from a fellow genealogist (and it is so outside the envelope, no guarantee it is not pure rubbish!)…

    Assuming this is a ‘faux’ blog with only historical characters participating so that only you can post/comment/cause anything to change a timestamp, then you could advance all your blog dates by 200 years (so that in WordPress Charles Thorp migrated in 2058.

    Then you’ll have to trap the date, and then change it by a nifty piece of regex in PHP. I’m sure you will have hours of fun doing that!

    Or you could hide that date entirely, and create your own ‘false’ date within the post.

    Over to you to think outside the loop!




    If there is a limitation on the Post date, as suggested by nthorpe’s testing (I did a short test and it seemed like in some places WP recognised the 1858 date, and in others, the date became 1963) it would have to be within the WordPress code itself.

    Yes, dates/times are normally based off the number of seconds since the Unix Epoch (01 Jan 1970 00:00:00), however, PHP can handle dates/times before then (they are handled as negative numbers) and MySQL can similarly handle datetimes prior to 1970.

    I have performed testing and found that MySQL will handle datetimes into the 1800s, but WordPress treats those datetimes as being 01-01-1970 (unsure of the hours:minutes:seconds). So, I would assume that WordPress is applying a rule to the post datetime and treating anything before the Unix Epoch as equal to the Unix Epoch.

    Whether this should be considered a bug in WordPress, or an unrealistic expectation on the platform (as there would be a very limited need to be able to enter posts from that time – when the first transistor was nay a twinkle in it’s daddy’s eye), I cannot be sure.

Viewing 8 replies - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
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