Sunday, March 14, 2021

Checking the Calendar

A summary of past posts on this topic.

(The above video was created from a still wedding-day photo colorized and animated using MyHeritage software)

My Great-Grandfather, Barney Newmark, was born in 1886, 135 years ago. He celebrated his birthday on March 17th, and claimed to have been born in Dublin, Ireland. It's significantly more likely that he was born in Warka, Poland - on the outskirts of Warsaw. The dates of March 25th and April 14th also appear on some documents as his date of birth, but no birth records have been uncovered, so anything is possible.

There may be some significance to the fact that there are 20 days between March 25th and April 14th. 12 days adjustment between the Gregorian and Julian calendar, and 8 days between birth and circumcision. Due to a superstition against celebrating birthdays, it was common for Eastern European Jewish males to celebrate the dates of their circumcision instead. I have uncovered several instances in my tree where there are birth records, that the observed birthday was 20 days later.

There is another possibility with Barney. There are also 8 days between March 17th and March 25th. And April 14 is exactly 1 lunar month after March 17. What’s the importance of a lunar month? Not much I can find - except when converting to the Hebrew calendar, Barney was born in the 2nd leap month of Adar. In leap years on the Hebrew calendar there are two months of Adar. Those born in Adar II are *supposed* to observe their birthday in Adar in non-leap years. But some people born on Feb 29 observe their birthday on the 28th and others on March 1. If Barney decided to adjust forward a month it would explain all three dates. It would also make March 17 his actual date of birth, which would make several in my family happy. In this scenario none of the dates are Julian. Without being able to ask Barney directly, though, this is all supposition.

This just illustrates when there is some conflict between dates in records, check the calendars. Plural. In some cases, more than 2.

In 2007 I wrote a blog post about Barney for St Patrick’s Day and a friend sent me a census record they found online. My eyes were opened to internet genealogy and the rest is Family History.

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