Dates and Calendars

. Home page . Site map . . this text transferred from home page to this separate page 21 January 2004.

Date Formats

Dates are British style: day/month/year or month/year. A range, e.g., 6/1833-4/1834 or 1-3/1866, is sometimes given when an exact date is unknown.
Dates in the form q2/1863 are invariably derived from, or refer to, a GRO Index.  They refer to the quarter in which the event is recorded in the index, which is often, but not always, they quarter in which it occurred.

Calendar Change - 1751

England used the Julian calendar (old style) until 1751, although other countries had by then been using the Gregorian calendar (new style) for many years.  By 1751 the Julian calendar was 11 days out of step with the Gregorian, and 11 days were omitted from September 1751 to bring the English calendar back into line.  At the same time, it was decreed that 1st January should be the first day of the year, instead of the previous convention of 25 March.  Thus:
1750 began on 25 March 1750 and ended on 24 March 1750 (old style) / 1751 (new style);
1751 began on 25 March 1751 and ended on 31 December 1751;
1752 began on 1 January 1752 and ended on 31 December 1752.
Thus a couple married in April 1737, say, might have a child in February 1737, ten months later, but apparently illegitimate by modern reckoning.
For some time prior to the official change, both styles were in use;  dates from 1 January to 24 March were given two years, one written over the other.
On the 'Miscellany' page of this website, a few dates are given in both styles, separated by a '/'.  Elsewhere on the site, a '/' usually denotes alternatives or uncertainty.  This is something I ought to tidy up sometime, but in the meantime I do not think there are many opportunities for genuine confusion.  Please let me know if you find any.