Double dates work as follows: you can type either Jan 1, 1493/4 or Jan 1, 1493/1494; both display as January 1, 1493/94. If you don't type in both of the years, Family Tree Maker interprets the year you typed as the second year. For example, if you type January 1, 1494, it's displayed as January 1, 1493/94.
To disable double dates, from the Prefs menu, select Dates & Measures. (If you're using version 4.4 or later, from the File menu, select Preferences, then Dates & Measures). Set the cutoff date for Double Dates to 100 and click OK.
The practice of writing double dates resulted from this switch from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar, and also from the fact that not all countries and people accepted the new calendar at the same time. For example, England and the American colonies didn't officially accept the new calendar until 1752. Before 1752, the English government still observed March 25 as the first of the year, but most of the population observed January 1 as the first of the year. For this reason, many people wrote dates falling between January 1 and March 25 with both years, as in the following examples.
|Julian or Old Style||Gregorian or New Style||Double Date|
|December 25, 1718||December 25, 1718||December 25, 1718|
|January 1, 1718||January 1, 1719||January 1, 1718/19|
|February 2, 1718||February 2, 1719||February 2, 1718/19|
|March 25, 1719||March 25, 1719||March 25, 1719|
By the time England and the colonies adopted the new Gregorian calendar, the discrepancy between the two calendars was eleven days, instead of ten. To resolve the discrepancy, the government ordered that September 2, 1752 be followed by September 14, 1752. Some people also added 11 days to their birth dates (a fact which is not noted on their birth certificates).
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