Wednesday, September 5, 2012

What is a Double Date?

Recent blog posts talked about the Double Date "feature" withing Family Tree Maker. It's been in all of the versions of the program that I can remember, but rarely is it talked about, except the end user asks, "Why won't the date I entered remain the way I entered it?"

To help understand this issue, I did a search on the Ancestry.com Help menu:

http://ancestry.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/2311/kw/%22double%20date%22#D

and selected the Glossary, scrolled down to D for Double Date:

double date
More than one date given for an event. The practice of writing double dates resulted from switching from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar. This also relates to the fact that not all countries and people accepted the new calendar at the same time.
In my earlier example, I used 30 Mar 1629. The issue appears in January, February, and March, through 1752. There are other resources for the details of this calendar change, but this blog post is only to address how Family Tree Maker handles it.

I entered the Birth Year of 30 Mar 1629 for my earlier example, and entered 30 Mar 1659 for this example. See below and notice a Warning to the Right of the Date, just above the "pencil" ICON for the Place Name. This Warning is telling us something OR that we have a choice to make.




 Clicking on that ICON we see a box open up. These are our Choices:



Double date format:

  • Leave the date as it is. Example: 20 Mar 1659
  • Use double date formatting: Example 20 Mar 1658/59

and a choice

  • Always use this setting for double dates without showing this dialog
I normally want to see the double date as a warning to me, to take a close look at that date and to note it could be either of the two years, depending on how the data that I am looking at recorded that date.

For my first example, I chose the second option, so that I could see 1658/59.

The choice is ours to make.

Also, I want this Warning to appear when I do enter a date that falls into this category. It's that Exclamation point in the Date field.

We can control this warning, and other warnings, in the Tools Menu, Options Choice, and Warnings Tab.



These are the SAME options we have from the Date field. If you always want to see the Double Date format, then make the 2nd choice, rather then the Warn Me, as I have selected.

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Copyright © 2012 by H R Worthington

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