What day of the week was it?

We don’t think about this very much, but as I was looking at some dates related to my philatelic pursuits, it struck me that it was likely that a lot of records wouldn’t have been dated on a Sunday.  But how do we know what day of the week any particular date fell on in history?  UNIX systems include a utility called “date” in almost all distributions. 

To those of you who don’t have UNIX or Linux systems handy, which is the great majority of genealogists that I know, take a look at a site currently called The return of Calendar.  Using a cgi script, the site calls the date function on the web server with year numbers dating as far back as 1582.  The output is a full year’s calendar in the Gregorian calendar (the calendar that most of the Western world uses today).


Victor Tabbycat said...

For dates from 1900 to present, you can do this in Excel. Enter the date in cell A1 as mm/dd/yyyy and in another cell, enter =WEEKDAY(A1). The result is a number from 1 to 7, where 1 = Sunday and 7 = Saturday.

Nancy said...

If you have a genealogy program (PAF or RootsMagic, and probably most of the other ones, too) you can go to tools and find a date calculator and a calendar where you can type in the month and year. Sometimes old death certificates tell age in years, months, and days. It's interesting to find out if their calculations are accurate (sometimes they're not) by using the date calculator.

I haven't tried your other ways but I'll keep them in mind.