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Archiver > TMG > 2003-07 > 1058115522

From: "Peter B.Hill" <>
Subject: Re: [TMG] Quaker dates redux
Date: Sun, 13 Jul 2003 13:07:21 -0400
References: <>
In-Reply-To: <>

At 09:43 PM 7/12/2003 -0400, Linda C. Koehler wrote:
>I'm going to have to eat my words, or at least chew on some of them. I
>should know better than to state anything as an absolute. Especially
>since I'm not going to be able to cite my sources - I can't find the one I
>had in mind when I wrote my note.
>Anyway, I think Pete Hill is right about double dating in March until
>1752. Up to March 25, the year in a Quaker date _might_ be written as a
>double date, as anyone living during that time period might do. So March
>dates before 1752 might be ambiguous unless you have a continuous record
>to help interpret the practice of a particular clerk. I know I have
>abstracted some pre-1752 Quaker records from the original where the clerk
>did not double date at all in March. But I can't find them at the moment
>so I can't say where I saw it.
>So, to rephrase my previous reply: if a Quaker date was written simply as
>10th day 1st month 1751, I would assume that 1751 was the new year, and
>that the date could be interpreted as 10 Mar 1750/1751 by someone who
>preferred double dating - but I would want to see it in the
>original, hopefully with similar records written by the same clerk, such
>as in a set of men's minutes covering a number of years.
>And I still think that "1st month 1750" would mean March 1750 (i.e.,
>March 1749/1750), but I would probably hedge my bets with conditionals
>like "probably March 1750" if my only frame of reference was that isolated
I didn't mean to imply that Quakers invariably used double-dating
for dates between 1 January and 25 March, but most of the ones I have seen
did follow this practice. There were always a number of cases in which only
a single year appeared, and the reader is left to wonder whether the date
was New Style or Old Style. Sometimes context settled the argument (George
was born 27 10th month 1738 and named 5 11th month 1738) but in many cases
other evidence was needed to settle the problem.

In the instance you cite, where a single year is used to complete
a date in March (1st month), I think you are right to assume that the New
Style (later year) is correct. The writer, having just written "1st month",
is much more likely to complete the date with the New Style year. If I had
to make a choice of which to assume, in the case of 11th month or 12th
month (January or February), I think I would be inclined to assume the Old
Style (earlier) year.

But always keep in mind human fallibility. How many time this
past January (11th month) did you date your checks 5 January 2002?

Pete Hill

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