Tips for Research – Dates
You may find this information helpful in your research:
1. Regnal Years
Regnal years are calculated from the date that a monarch ascends the throne; some documents will show this rather than the actual year.
An example is Victoria ascended the throne on 20 June 1837. A document dated 20 October Vic 30 would equate to 20 October 1867.
It should be noted though that the date Charles II ascended the throne is 30 January 1649 (the date that Charles I was beheaded) and not the date of the Restoration on 29 May 1660.
Tips for Research – Dates No. 2
2. Quarter Days
Some documentation may mention quarter days. These were the dates when rents were due and often when servants were hired.
- Lady Day 25 March
- Midsummer Day 24 June
- Michaelmas Day 29 September
- Christmas Day 25 December
There are also cross quarter days which are between each of the above dates and these are:
- Candlemas 2 February
- May Day 1 May
- Lammas Day 1 August
- All Hallows 1 November
3. The Gregorian Calendar
In 1582 Pope Gregory introduced the new Gregorian calendar, it replaced the Julian calendar. Most of Europe adopted it, however, England, Wales and Ireland still used the Julian calendar until 1752. Scotland adopted it earlier in 1600.
In 1752 the beginning of the year was changed from 25 March to 1 January and it was also the year that lost eleven days! The calendar in September ran from 2 September to 14 September, there were no days in between.
Due to when the Gregorian calendar was adopted, some transcripts from 1582 to 1752 can be found with the date showing two years eg 24 Jan 1648/9, this is known as double dating. (Note this is only for dates between 1 January to 24 March.)