The Creation of Leap Year and Its Effects on Genealogy

This Saturday is February 29th, a relatively uncommon occurrence as days go. It’s a leap day in a leap year. Unless you’re like Dinah Shore, Tony Robbins, or Ja Rule, all of whom share a birthday that day, you may not even notice. For the rest of us, it’s a subtle reminder that calendars change. For genealogists in particular, it reminds us that subtle changes in calendars require our attention in researching key times and places.

Our calendar, and the most commonly used calendar in the world, is the Gregorian calendar, named after Pope Gregory XIII who commissioned it in 1582. In order to best understand the Gregorian calendar and its significance, however, we need to first understand its predecessor, the Julian calendar, and its accomplishments.

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