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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Perpetual Calendar

Want to know on what day of the week your grandfather was born?

Or, as a historian who writes novels or nonfiction, you would like to get your facts absolutely right?

A PERPETUAL CALENDAR is just the thing you need.

It might look complicated at first glance, but it is actually very easy to use.

Perhaps your grandfather was born on June 22, 1911.

Go to the box at the top left corner and run your finger over all the dates, until you find '11. (It's  in the seventh column, close to the top.)

Keep to that column, running your finger down to the lower box. You have a choice of 17, 18, and 19.  Because your grandfather was born in 1911, you opt for the column with 19 at the top. Run down to June, and you will land on the number 4.

Now go to the righthand side of the card.  Go to column number 4, run your finger down to 22 (the day he was born), and lo, you now know he was born on a Thursday.

Now, let's look at your great grandmother, who was born on February 5, 1872.

Back up to the top lefthand box, to find '72. Again, it is in the seventh column, but when you find '72, it is red. This means it was a Leap Year. When you look for February, seventh column, go to the red figures at the bottom. This time, you choose the column with 18 at that top, because your great grandmother was born in that century. And for February, you get the red number 4.

So again, you go for the fourth column in the box on the right.  Run down to 5, and your ancestor was born on a Monday.

This is a very old Perpetual Calendar, as I found it in an ancient desk in a very old house on Long Island.  Accordingly, you won't find the date of the week for anyone born in the 21st century -- but we're all historians, aren't we?

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