Wednesday, November 28, 2007

What Day of the Week was That?

On a Tuesday, April 25 1904, Emma Gleffe married Leo Schröder in Muttrin, Germany. Almost two years later, my great-grandparents, Emma and Leo, arrived in the Port of New York. Traveling on the SS Amerika, their journey ended on April 1, 1906, which happened to be a Sunday. Have you ever wondered about what day of the week important events in your family tree took place? Well, wonder no more.

Herb Weiner created a Web site that calculates calendars for years past. You can display a specific month of a specific year, or you can display the entire year. The Web site, aptly titled, “Calendar Calculator” even takes into account the year different localities changed from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar. (For example, Italy changed to the Gregorian calendar in the year 1582, while the American Colonies and Britain didn't make the change until September 1752.)

The Web site,, at first blush seems a little imposing, but once you read through it, you realize you don't have to use all the options given.

If, like me, weird little facts make your world go round, you might also like to check out a companion Web site, Claus Tønderlings, “Frequently Asked Questions about Calendars” at

Okay, not even I needed to read all 63 pages of his PDF file. (You can also read the information in text or Webpage format), but I did find some interesting little tidbits that made me ponder. For instance:

1. If you have ancestors born in Lithuania prior to 1915, chances are good that their dates of birth were calculated by the old Julian calendar because Lithuania didn't make the switch to Gregorian until 1915.

2. The Orthodox Greek Church didn't switch to a Gregorian calendar until 1920 and wanting to improve on the Gregorian calendar, they made a few changes on the way leap years are calculated. In the year 2800, their calendar will not match the rest of the world's calendar. (Goodie, one more crazy thing I can worry about!)

3. Did you know that the years 1800 and 1900 were NOT leap years?

4. If you see the date 12/01/07 do you know what date I am referring to?

In the United States, we would read this date as December 1, 2007.

In most of the rest of the world, it would be read as January 12, 2007.

If you were using the International Standard, it would read January 7, 2012 (although ISO standards require the year to be written as four digits).

So in ISO standard, today is 2007-11-28.

And on that note — Happy Ancestral Digging!

Note this post first published online, November 28, 2007, at Desktop Genealogist Blog at The News-Messenger Online

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