What could be simpler than a calendar? The printed one from the local real estate office shows twelve months, each with 28 to 31 days. Simple, right?
Well, it hasn’t always been so simple. After all, I keep stumbling upon genealogy records that are logged with “double dates.” That is, a birth record might state “22 February 1732/3.” Which was it: 1732 or 1733? Well, it actually was both. Just to make things more complex, back in those days, most of our ancestors didn’t know what day it was. You see, most people in the early 1700s and earlier were illiterate. They couldn’t read a book, much less a calendar. Most people did not know what day it was or even how old they were. Very few remembered their own birthdays.
Throughout history, learned men kept track of the days, months, and years in a variety of ways. The ancient Egyptians began numbering their years when the star Sirius rose at the same place as the Sun. The Egyptian calendar was the first solar calendar and contained 365 days. These were divided into twelve 30-day months and five days of religious festival.