Since my last post I’ve been trying to get the calendar ready for a beta release. I have been trying to figure out why a lot of other similar services do not seem to follow the Gregorian calendar style in the year 1744. I’ve also spent some time in finalizing the list of named days to show. In this post, I’ll describe this work and the beta release.
The calendar service has been online for a while. You can enter a year and see the Danish calendar for that year including where the named days fall in the year. As you can read about in earlier blog posts, I have a lot of ideas for other features. However, in recent work, I have just focused on removing unfinished stuff and make it easier to use. Please click the button below to try it out. The page will ask you to subscribe for news on the progress of the service. Currently I write news approximate once a month and the emails will have an unsubscribe link. When you confirm being signed up to the list, you will taken to the calendar.
Easter 1744 issue
As described in my previous post, I compared my calendar calculations to some other services and found an issue with the year 1744. Here several other services (morchslaegt.dk, rmadsen.dk, dinslægt.dk and Familysearch wiki) indicated that Easter Sunday fell on March 29, while my calculations indicated it fell on April 5. I have tried to reach out to all four of the services. It was difficult to get email addresses that worked and I only managed to get a response from Preben Mørch behind the service at morchslaegt.dk. His response was helpful and got me to study the copy of R. W. Bauer that I have gotten after implementing the service.
In the beginning of R. W. Bauer’s book there is a listing of years with indication of which of the 35 calendars in the book to use for a pertinent year. Under each calendar there is also an indication of when it was used in the different countries focused on in the book. For the year 1744 it is indicated in the beginning that calendar 15 (leap year) should be used - and there is also some cross sign after the calendar number. This indicates there should be some note related to this, but I haven’t been able to find it. Looking at calendar 15 and checking when it was used in Denmark the year 1744 does not show up. However, it shows up under calendar 8, which matches the four services I listed above. I have tried googling Easter 1744 and have found an old discussion in a Norwegian forum, where one of the posts explains that the footnote in R. W. Bauer apparently says that Denmark chose to follow calendar 8.
I have found in that discussion and elsewhere an indication that Denmark and other Protestant countries chose by the reform in 1700 that it would use the astronomical equinox, which would result in a difference from the Catholics in 1724, 1744 and 1778. However, for some reason it wasn’t observed in 1724. In the year 1744 it was observed although there is some indication of confusion as calendars were printed with Easter falling similar to the Catholics, which had to be redacted. Before 1778 it was apparently decided to follow the same rules as the Catholics, so 1778 was not special in that regard in Denmark.
Named church days
For the named church days, I have chosen to have most of the same as in R. W. Bauer. A few I haven’t gotten around to add yet. Regarding Annunciation (Mariæ Bebudelse) I let it follow the changes that were introduced in Denmark and that I have written about earlier - rather than just letting it fall on March 25 always.
I’m very interested in feedback. So please let me know, if you think some named days are missing and should be added.
Until next time
My focus in the coming time will be to try and promote the calendar service and see if I can get anybody to use it. If not, perhaps I should just stop the project and leave it at that. However, if I can get anybody to use it I will try to choose one of the features I have written about earlier and try to implement that. Some potential features may be:
Help to search for a specific date by name
As a user one can input what can be read from old documents like a church book. The service will then try to look for something matching variations of that, considering the Latin names and other synonyms for the named days.
Calendars for other countries
Most likely I would start with some of the neighboring countries of Denmark.
Convert dates between calendars
It may be useful to be able to convert dates from one country to another, as the different countries switched between the Julian and Gregorian calendar at different times. The Gregorian calendar was first introduced by Pope Gregorius XIII in 1582, while the last European country to switch, Greece, switched in 1923. And there were still other countries outside of Europe switching later. In addition, the switch took several years in some countries, and in the meantime they didn’t strictly follow either of the two calendars.
Calculate date from age
In some cases one may be able to find only the death of a relative in the church books, but with an indication of the age. In this case it may be beneficial to be able to calculate back to the birth date of the relative.
As always I’m interested in feedback, and would like to implement what is most relevant to the actual users of the service. So, please feel free to write me at email@example.com.