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Gentlemen : many thks for your very quick replies. Several points ...

1) I was wrong I think in assuming that LO Calc would be the same as LO Base. I did have trouble with dates in Base (see below), but now find that as far as I can tell, Calc accepts dates earlier that 1582 with no issues. Sorry for my mistake in this aspect.

2) After your posts I tried again in Base. I was using a Form, and had problems with early dates. Now I find that if I go back to the original table in Base, from which the Form derives its data, the table will accept dates earlier than 1582, as it seems does Calc.

3) The problem however persists with the Base Form. It will not accept dates earlier than 1600. In the Control(Properties) function in the Form Design view, there are fields where minimum and maximum dates can be set. No matter what I input into the Min Date field, it reverts to 1600. Dates earlier than this appear to be impossible in the Form, despite the fact that the source table will accept earlier dates.

4) Before posting my original query I did consult several web pages that document LO functions,(sorry I forget the sources), and there was documentation to indicate if I understood them correctly that Date has a minimum that corresponds to 1583. So I was pleased to learn from you that earlier dates can be used in the tables.

So once again many thanks.

I will be pleased to hear from anyone who knows about the Form issue.
DocTom.

(PS> I do know about applications for genealogy data, but I rather fancied doing my own - I am a retired old so and so, and I like to try my hand at new things.)