The Beginning of Time
The Bible:
Genesis Chapter 1

(Day four)
“And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
And God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.”

In genealogy research we fall victim to time, what day, what month what year, or what decade.

      Farmers or hunter gatherers set their time by the sun. Up with the sun and to bed at dark. They needed to know when to plant and when to harvest. Thus, farmers were keeping time by the seasons, they also used the moon being able to divide a year into equal parts. This grew into a need for a calendar.

      The oldest calendar that continues in use by the Jewish community is normally referred to as the Hebrew or Jewish Calendar. Using the calendar which is in widespread use today the Jewish New Year for 2008-2009 starts with Rosh Hashanah the beginning of Hebrew New Year 5769.

      The next oldest calendar in use is the Chinese, with Chinese New Year starting on January 26, 2009. The Chinese also give each year an animal name and this New Year is the year of the OX, 4707.

      The next calendar we look at is the Islamic calendar. Muslim New Year starts with the month of Muharram which begins on December 29, 2008 and is 1430 AH which dates back to the time Mohammad emigrated from Mecca to Medina {16 July, 622 AD (Anno Domini)}. AH means in the year of Hegira (anno Hegirae).

      Then we come to a calendar that most genealogist are familiar with which is the Julian Calendar which was invented by Julius Caeser, the emperor of Rome in the year 45 BC. This calendar was a very accurate calendar and was in use throughout Europe and the British Isle until the time of Pope Gregory XIII in the 16th century.

      Most of us feel it is difficult remembering what we should do to keep up with Standard and Daylight Savings time and try to use the saying "Spring Up and Fall Back" to keep track of which way to change our clocks.

      In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII ordered the advancement of the calendar by 10 days and introduced a new corrective device to curb further error: century years such as 1700 or 1800 would no longer be counted as leap years, unless they were (like 1600 or 2000) divisible by 400.

      If somewhat inelegant, this system is undeniably effective, and is still in official use in the United States. The Gregorian Calendar year differs from the solar year by only 26 seconds—accurate enough for most mortals, since this only adds up to one day's difference every 3,323 years.

      Despite the prudence of Pope Gregory's correction, many Protestant countries, including England, ignored the papal order. Germany and the Netherlands agreed to adopt the Gregorian Calendar in 1698; Russia only accepted it after the revolution of 1918, and Greece waited until 1923 to follow suit. And currently many Orthodox churches still follow the Julian Calendar, which now lags 13 days behind the Gregorian.

British Calendar Act of 1751
A very long night!

      It was ordered that Wednesday evening, September 2, 1752 millions of British subjects in England and the colonies went peacefully to sleep and did not wake up until twelve days later. Behind this feat of narcoleptic prowess was not some revolutionary hypnotic technique or miraculous pharmaceutical discovered in the West Indies. It was, rather, the British Calendar Act of 1751, which declared the day after Wednesday the second to be Thursday the fourteenth.

      Prior to that cataleptic September evening, the official British calendar differed from that of continental Europe by eleven days—that is, September 2 in London was September 13 in Paris, Lisbon, and Berlin. The discrepancy had sprung from Britain's continued use of the Julian Calendar, which had been the official calendar of Europe since its invention by Julius Caesar (after whom it was named) in 45 B.C.)

      The earliest of keeping tract of the correct time was accomplished by each village setting of clocks in towers that chimed the hours daily and the citizens adjusting the time according the local time piece.

      Then more accurate clocks were build through the years and were transported from place to place adjusting clocks to the correct time.

      The central location established was Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London and Greenich Mean Time (GMT)was generally accepted by the British Railway system in 1747. Since trains were turning into the main transportation in country and between countries railways had to have a standard time thus GMT was accepted as the standard time through out Europe, Russia and the mideastern countries.

      GMT was established by drawing a line north and south through Greenwich England and indicates when the sun crosses this line as exactly high noon. assignating this as Zero Meridian and establishing 12 plus + time zones continueing east to the international date line (180 degree longitude) and 12 minus – time zones west to the International Date Line. This line is the division between dates, today on one side and tomorrow on the other. Zero Meridian is a straight line but the international date line meanders around islands so that they do not fall in to different dates on a single land mass.

      This remained the standard until sicentists starting developing the “Atomic Clock”. The first Atomic Clock was built in 1955 and since has become the time standard throughout the world. It is claimed that the Atomic Clock is more accurate then the movement of the Sun.


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