Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Tech Tuesday – Calendar Juggling

Editor's note: Today's post was written by Richard Hanson.

When it comes to accurately documenting the comings and goings of our ancestors, nothing is simple – not even dates. That was aptly illustrated by John Jay's May 9 presentation described in yesterday's Root Cellar Sacramento Genealogical Society blog. Not only have there been different calendars, but the Gregorian calendar in use today was adopted at different times in different locations. Historic calendars include Julian, French Republican, Hebrew, Islamic, Persian and Chinese.

General information about multiple calendars:

Calendar conversion calculators:

One issue that came up during the discussion was the extent to which our genealogy database software supports calendar conversions. I use the Reunion software (Macintosh). After researching this issue using their online help and support forums, I found that Reunion does not do calendar conversions. But it does support custom dates.
Reunion custom date entry box. Screen captured by Richard Hanson.
Reunion stores both the entered custom date and the corresponding Gregorian value. But many users say that there is a better approach. Enter the Gregorian value into the database date field. Then enter into the associated notes field the original unconverted date plus the name of the calendar.

Readers of this blog, do you know how your genealogy database software handles the multiple calendar problem? Please check your software's online help and post your results here as a comment.

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