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Working title - Henry of MA
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Henry - Table of Contents
Robertson states: "The dates until the 3rd of Sept. 1752 in the old cemeteries and other records are old style dates and eleven days must be added to bring into new style. Also, the year 1656-7, for example, means the ecclesiastical year 1656 and the civil year 1657. The ecclesiastical year began on the 25th day of March - - the civil year on the first of January. Hence this double way of writing the year is found in January, February and March to the 24th."
Robertson 1947, p. 2. SeePublications for citation
Some dates in the "Essex" (Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County) entries are from the date at the top of the publication's page and may differ from the dates in the material.
Notes from emails with Jim Bullock (see Researchers)
JB: A date like 21 (4) 1639 was how they often were reported, especially by the Quakers. In this case it would be the 21st day of the 4th month (which was June in the old style) of 1639.
GKB: What's the reporting convention on these dates? What do you enter in your genealogy program? It seems to me one should use the actual record? And then make remarks about the adjustments?
JB: Regarding date conventions, I'll use George Washington's birthday as an example. When he was born, his birth date would have been recorded as the 11th day of the 12 month of 1731, or as February 11, 1731/32. (Sometimes the recorder would enter the year only as 1731.) Using today's calendar that is February 22, 1732.
If you're quoting the original source, you would write it exactly as it was recorded. But for entry into a genealogy program, we would usually enter it as 2/11/1731/32. We don't normally add the 11 extra days. If the date is even older (before 1600), only 10 days were added due to a leap year error that the English made. It is generally understood that dates before 1752 are the old style dates. Showing a year as 1731/32 clearly indicates the old style/new style dating convention. All dates before 1752 from January 1 through March 24 should show the year using the old style/new style convention, e.g. 1731/1732.
A problem comes up when the date is close to 1752 and you aren't sure whether a date was recorded using the old style or the new style calendar. Not everyone waited until the date of the official change-over in September. To further complicate matters, this convention applies only to England and its colonies. Other countries changed their calendars at different times--some earlier and some later.
Anyway, when genealogists see that I have 11 Feb 1731/32 as George's birthday in my computer generated reports, they would assume that it is the old style and is off by 11 days. I would not have to explain it in my notes for the individual. Since I have several thousand dates before 1752, it would get rather tiresome to add a note to every one of them.
Comments from Jeff Green (see Researchers) when I asked him what to say about the dates.
Most people are happy with the dates they find in the records and a have a general understanding of the double dating woes. Every genealogy program I've seen (with the exception of one from Germany) gives you the ability to automatically convert the dates to the double year prior to the cutoff in 1752.
The one problem I've run into, and it would drive perfectionists bonkers, is unless you're getting the date from the actual original record, you don't know if someone has made the conversion themselves unless they make note of it. Many of the vital records I have are one way or the other.
I just enter the date as I find it and make corrections later.
I would say something like:
Dates are entered as found and may be subject to revision as some original records are not available and subject to error during records transcription. Double year dating is in use where applicable.
Do you remember the game of gossip? Well that applies here. We're at the mercy of those who came before us.
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