Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tuesday's Tip: French Republican Calendar Explanation and Conversion

   I've started trying to back-trace my great-great-great-grandfather's family. Step 1: determine his birth year. Using his children's birth records, which state his age, I was able to make a good guess for his birth year. It's somewhere between 1794 and 1797. Step 2: where was he born? The family records are in pretty much in the same place, so I'm leaning towards that town. Of course, the search ran me head on into something I wasn't expecting - the French Republican Calendar.
    All I really knew about the French Republican Calendar was that it was used in the French Revolution. Kimberly Powell's history of the French Republican Calendar gave me a nice overview. I can use her chart to figure out what month I'm probably dealing with. But what does 6eme annee (sorry for the lack of accents!) mean? Time for a calendar converter...
   I like Steve Morse's calendar converter with a few reservations. For Luxembourg, the French Republican Calendar dates would all appear in the first century. Unless you realize this, you will end up confused quickly. Make sure that your screen is set correctly. It's on the first line. Don't touch the second line if you're converting from the French to modern calendar. The third line is the one you'll need to change. The first number is the year. If your record says 6eme annee, put in 6. The second item is the month. The last is the day. Entered properly, you'll be able to return a modern date.

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