Re ; [APG Public List] Julian to Gregorian in source citation

Barbara Mathews bmathews at
Mon Dec 21 13:38:23 MST 2009

>From my point of view, there are really two mechanisms at work in
considering the calendar switch:

1) The difference in days of 12 to 13 days that correct the slippage over
time of the solar calendar.

2) The difference in the "New Year's Day" date when the year switches

Thus, one frequently encounters the note that George Washington's birthday
is given "new style" when it is given as the 21st of February. In this
context, "new style" means that the missing days have been factored into the
date that is given. See, for example, that Julie gave a date as "9 June 1905
(22 June 1905 NS)."

The other issue is when the calendar year switched over. That happened in
1752 in the U.S. If something happened between January 1st and March 25th,
there could be ambiguity in the numerical value of the year. It is to avoid
that ambiguity that we write the year as 1701/2. 

My personal choice when creating transcriptions or abstracts is to use the
date as it literally appears in the document. I then put in square brackets
my comment on what I interpret that to be. My preference is not to change
the data in the document at all.

In my work on colonial-era families in the U.S., I encounter this issue very
often. Generally, I simply deal with the year ambiguity and leave the
slippage error unanswered. 

The few times that I've encountered something altering the slippage of days
as well as the year is in particular documents from the era of change. These
are documents that relate to men who were born before the change but who
reached the age of 21 after the change. The interpretation of the law at
that time was that to reach the age of majority, a man had to have lived 21
full 365-day-years. Thus, his birthdate would be re-expressed (as
Washington's was) so that the date on which he reached majority would be
celebrated as his birthday.

My two cents from colonial Connecticut.

Yours, Barbara Mathews

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