Dates With Double Years


This article was prompted by a discussion on Family-Historian-User Rootsweb, in August 2006. For a more detailed explanation of the use of Julian and Gregorian dates see this article.

Between 1582 and 1752, dates sometimes have two years mentioned, separated by a / e.g. 24 March 1748/9.

In short this was because, correctly, some recorders treated 25th March as the then New Year's Day, whilst others used, as we do now 1st January. Thus this is only relevant for dates between 1st January and 24th March.

You may therefore see an entry for, say, 24th March 1750, which dependent on which system the recorder was using, may mean 1749, if they were using the Julian Calander (April > March), or 1750 if they were using the Gregorian (Jan > Dec). A later transcriber has included both systems, arriving at the 24 March 1749/50 entry.

For the UK and its Dominions, then including North America, in 1752 Parliament ceased this duel system making 1st January New Year. Note that other countries to the UK differ in their dates, please see external links for more detail.

How Family Historian deals with this

If you enter 24 Mar 1701/2 in Family Historan you will be prompted to save the entry as a Date Phrase. It will appear as "24 Mar 1701/2" and will be useless for purposes of calculations etc. as Family Historian will not recognise it as a date. It is therefore important that the date is entered in the format 24 Mar 1701/02 or alternatively click on the three dot icon when you get to the date field, to open up the Date Entry Assistant, and use the fields there, chosing Gregorian as the Calander, or enter the date in the Record Window, click the three dot icon and then use the interpreter option in the Date Phrase tab to state the date as you want it.

Whatever way you chose, Family Historian will then recognise the date and calander and calculate accordingly.

Further Reading

See the FHUG wiki article: Using the Julian and Gregorian Calendars

The Family Historian manual gives a good explanation of why, between 1582 and 1752, dates sometimes have two years separated by a / e.g. 20 March 1748/9.

Family Historian Online Help - "Simple Date Fields" and "The Gregorian Calendar"

Family Historian Manual - FIXME Link required

External Links:
Http:// - Quaker Dates differ slightly from that explained above but are apparently generally in line with the Julian system.
Julian calendar at Wikipedia

Cliff Webb's "Dates and calendars for the genealogist"

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