Friday, October 24, 2014

Alaska’s Darned October 1867

Records say the darnedest things

We depend upon records to reveal the “truth” about our pasts.

Yet sometimes records have anomalies.
Some are amusing or humorous.
Some are interesting or weird.
Some are peculiar or suspicious.
Some are infuriating, even downright laughable.

Yes, “Records Say the Darnedest Things.”

Alaska’s Darned October 1867

Most genealogists know that in 1752 the calendar changed from the Julian Calendar to the Gregorian Calendar. Most also know that the calendar change occurred in different years in different countries. “Julian and Gregorian Calendars,” in the FamilySearch Wiki lists the years for several countries.

Most genealogists may not know about the oddity that is Alaska.

Stephen Morse, creator of the famous One-Step Website, wrote an excellent article titled “The Julian Calendar and Why We Need to Know About It.” It appeared in the March 2014 issue of the Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly on pages 36-42. Along with a general discussion on the conversion to the Gregorian Calendar, Morse wrote about the weird situation that occurred in Alaska when it was transferred from Russia to the United States.

The day before the transfer was Friday, 6 October 1867 in Russia. Russia was still on the Julian Calendar. The day of the transfer was Saturday, 7 October 1867, in Russia. That date corresponds with Saturday, 19 October 1867, Gregorian Calendar.

However, like a modern day traveller who gains a day flying from Russia to America, Alaska gained another day! It had two Fridays in a row. That made the official transfer day Friday, 18 October 1867, Gregorian Calendar. 

This is the Alaskan Calendar for October 1867:

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1 2 3 4 5 6  
          18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31    

Darned Alaskan October 1867!

Other Sources

“State of Alaska.” Alaska TourSaver. : accessed 24 May 2014.

Wikipedia contributors. "Alaska Purchase." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. : accessed 26 May 2014.

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