Resource Roundup: Online Calendar Tools

Resource Roundup: Online Calendar Tools

Use these 11 websites to expand your research with online calendars.

Just as society has evolved over centuries, our method of measuring time—the calendar—has itself undergone changes throughout history.

Most of the British Empire adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1752, but many other countries didn’t immediately embrace it. Genealogy can get especially confusing when you try to wrap your mind around the “real” birth date of your sixth-great-grandfather or what 29 Vendémiaire I means in a French baptismal record. Don’t despair: The following calendar tools can help you convert dates and learn more about calendar changes throughout history.

Also consult the FamilySearch Research Wiki for help understanding different calendars and when they came into play. From the Wiki home page, search for the keyword calendar, or for the specific calendar you want to learn about (such as French Republican Calendar or Julian Calendar).
 

Ancestor Search: Genealogy Calculator and Tools This website has 13 tools to calculate ages and birthdates based on the dates on a tombstone. Share tools, which pop up on the left side of the website, allow you to print the information you find for easy reference later, as well as post it to social media.

Calculating Birth Year from Census Information
This site from Rose-Anne’s Genealogy Resources lets you choose a US census year, then match the reported age of your ancestor with the year (or year range, in the case of pre-1850 censuses) when he or she was born. As the page cautions, a reported age may be inconsistent from census to census, based on the actual birth date and the date the census was taken.

French Revolutionary Calendar
France adopted a new calendar for 12 years after the 1789 French Revolution, and then again for 18 days in 1871. This calendar stripped out religious and royal influences, replacing days named after Roman Catholic saints with the names of plants, tools and animals. Years were in Roman numerals, and months also were renamed. This tool displays today’s date in accordance with the antiquated French system, and provides a conversion for any date since Sept. 21, 1792.

Calculation of the Ecclesiastical Calendar
Need to know what day Easter or another religious holiday was held in a certain year? The Ecclesiastical Calendar calculates Western and Orthodox dates when you enter a year. For instance, type 1920 for the Western calendar, and you’ll get dates for Easter, All Saints’ Day, Christmas and more. Another calendar tool here, the American Secular Holidays Calendar, gives dates for federal holidays and events such as Election Day.

GENUKI: Dates for Easter Sunday and Perpetual Calendar, 1550-2049
GENUKI is a reference and resource website for UK and Irish genealogy research. This tool for Easter dates in Great Britain and her colonies is fairly straightforward: It’s simply a list of dates on which Easter fell from the years 1550 to 2049. Click on the year you’re interested in, and you’ll get a calendar for that year. Note that this calendar doesn’t include Scotland from 1600 to 1752.

Hebcal Jewish Calendar
Hebcal is a free Jewish calendar and holiday site that converts Hebrew calendar dates to Gregorian and provides a customizable Gregorian or Hebrew holiday calendar from the year 1 to 9999. You can download the calendar to Outlook, Google or your iPhone. Use it for genealogy or other needs, such as Shabbat times and Torah readings.

Ian’s English Calendar
This calendar calculator from a professor at Albion College calculates old and new style dates, regnal years (dates based on a monarch’s reign), the day of the week and ecclesiastical dates. Although it’s a great resource for these date calculations, the site explains that “it is also accurate for European history outside of England, with the exception of the period 1582 to 1752.” A companion iTunes app, Historical English Calendar, helps calculate dates on the go.

Old Style and New Style Dates for the Quaker Calendar

This reference tool is for those with Religious Society of Friends (commonly referred to as Quaker) roots. Quakers didn’t use names to refer to months, as our non-Quaker ancestors did. This can become confusing, especially when researching ancestors before England switched from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar. This tool can help you track these calendar changes (hint: March becomes January).
 

One-Step Web Pages by Stephen P. Morse: Calendar Tools
Many genealogists are familiar with Stephen P. Morse’s flexible One-Step forms for searching databases such as Ellis Island passenger arrival records, but his site’s other tools can benefit researchers, too. The Perpetual Calendar page lets you look back hundreds of years at dates in the Gregorian and Julian calendars. Other tools include an Elapsed Time calculator to help you determine an ancestor’s birth date based on ages and dates in records; a “When Did … ?” calculator to make such discoveries as what day a birthday fell in any given year; a Tombstone Dates calculator for deciphering Hebrew tombstones, and Muslim, French, Jewish, Julian and other calendar converters.

 

A calendar that displays a year of dates in an ancestor’s life can be especially helpful when you’re trying to work out a sequence of events. Choose a year and country, and this site generates a calendar. Then click Add Own Events to personalize it (requires a free registration), including customizing the look and languages. The site also has a host of tools such as a birthday calculator and date calculator. Click the Apps & API tab for a list of time and calendar apps.

Wolfram|Alpha
Wolfram|Alpha is a search engine with some unique, useful features. Instead of searching the web for the words you type, it answers your questions. Let’s say you find a newspaper obituary dated Aug. 15, 1876, that says your ancestor died “last Tuesday.” You can type into Wolfram|Alpha’s search engine:  Tuesday before August 15, 1876.Wolfram|Alpha will not only give you the date you want, Aug. 8, 1876, but will also tell you if it was a holiday and what other important events happened that day. Wolfram|Alpha converts Old Style and New Style calendar dates, computes ancestral relationships and helps you decipher handwriting. You can read more about this search engine at Must Have Genealogy Tools From Wolfram|Alpha.

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