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Calendar changes

My term "modern calendar" refers to the Gregorian Calendar ("New Style"). I include this for those who don't know that the calendar used in Britain and its colonies changed in 1752 from the Julian (Old Style) to the Gregorian, which we now (in the US and UK at least). These calendar differences are complicated, and I encourage those not familiar with them to research it. Only then will the various ways people recorded dates make sense. This includes the differences between using numbered and named months.
     The Julian year started on 23 March, the Gregorian on 1 January, so there was an overlap. Some pre-1752 records include a dual year for clarity, others don't, leaving the reader to wonder which year is meant unless there is clarifying context. In my vital records header and elsewhere, I always use a dual year for clarity when dates fall within this overlap. Some insist on an exact translation of whatever record the date comes from, and then clarify in small print. Given how many mistakes are made at internet genealogy sites, often by people who don't know about the calendar change, I choose not to go by "inexperienced genealogist beware." There's a certain level of arrogance to that, and it doesn't serve the entire genealogy community. My small print includes the actual record translation, if it didn't have a dual year to begin with.

Writing style and citations

This website isn't intended to copy the standard of writing in scholarly journals. While the research and reasoning is, the text is more informal, similar to a blog. In other words, it's not a texbook and doesn't need to be to convey useful and accurate information. I've created these pages partly for my family, but also for anyone of any skill level interested in genealogy. My citations generally follow scholarly standards, although as time goes by, those standards change. At this point, I find some of them obtuse and too numerous to mention here. When I have a source with content that doesn't change from one genealogy outlet to another (i.e. images of published vital records available at various for-pay genealogy sites), I don't give the exact outlet. I'm very keen on finding the original or manuscript record whenever possible, which often is more informative and sometimes more accurate than transcriptions. If that record is in the form of copy images at a specific internet site, I give that information. If it's a reference to images of pages from the published MA vital records series, for instance, I don't. I cite the book itself. If the reader wants to check that source, they can look for it at many outlets - libraries, pay sites, etc. Finding it at, for instance, is superfluous information. On a side note, the MA town vital record series don't always include the full record one can find in the original, and there are transcription errors. I don't consider these books a primary source. Both and now have images of the original town records.


If you want to copy things I've written, please credit me by name and a link to the page of interest. This has taken many years of work! I hope you enjoy what I have here. Thanks for visiting.

Doug Sinclair

all text and photographs © 1998-2022 by Doug Sinclair unless where otherwise noted