[APG Public List] Julian to Gregorian in source citation

eshown at comcast.net eshown at comcast.net
Mon Dec 21 16:59:07 MST 2009

>Not an American/Canadian thing, a Larry-ism 

Love that description. :)

>But that aside, the use of that kind of noting of the Julian date always
gives an inaccurate Gregorian date because it doesn't take into account the 

True, but as Barbara noted, if we copy the Julian date that is given and we
feel it is important to cite the Gregorian date, then the convention would
be to add that Gregorian date in square editorial brackets. I generally cite
these dates in one of three ways.

1 March 1748/9
This means that the document itself gives the date as 1 March 1728, but I'm
adding the /9 to indicate that it would be 1729 by our calendar.  This way,
I don't end up with situations in which people die before they make their
will, etc.

"1 March 1748/9" 
This means that the document itself uses double-dating--as many did during
the long changeover period.

1 March 1748/9 [12 March 1749, N.S.]
I use this when it is critical to account for both dates--as, say, when
dealing with an issue that involved both the French and the British in North

>What's the origin of noting the Julian/Gregorian date in this fashion? 

You've stumped me here.  Barbara, do you know?

(Actually, in my example it would be the Julian date that was cited in this
fashion. The "/digit" would represent only the Gregorian year, not the
actual date.) 

>In one search I had decided that there wasn't enough time for a certain
named person in an event in location A, at a given time to have been the 
similarly named person at another event in location B at a different time
because I was ignoring the extra days that an accurate Gregorian date would 

Excellent point.

>Normally we wouldn't accept such inaccuracy, where known.  Why do we accept
it by simply using the double year notation?

I don't see double-dating as an "inaccuracy." Not if we make our notations
precisely. All historians *interpret,* regardless of the kind of history we
are researching and writing. The essential thing, IMO, is to make it clear
what the original record says as opposed to our interpretation or
clarification of what it meant.  

Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG

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