Faust Family U.S.A.

The state of  Pennsylvania is holding two unclaimed life insurance policies for  the descendents of Nora Faust, born late 1800's.  One is a Metropolitan Life policy; I don't know what the other is or the amounts.  The information is online at the Pennsylvania Treasurer's website under unclaimed property listings. 

Historical Notes:  Calendars and their History

The following article was written and donated by Lee I. Reber of Las Vegas, Nevada, to shed light on the question of calendar years in genealogies.  It attempts to explain why you see dates written as 1619/20, as well as other discrepancies found in old European dates.  

Historical Note:

At times, when researching multiple sources in the first half of the 18th century, a difference of 10 or 11 days will be observed between two records of the same event, and sometimes even the year will be uncertain. These differences are caused by the change over from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar. The German Protestant states adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1699/1700, and the immigrants probably brought their calendar with them, but England and the colonies did not make the change until 1752. (The day after 2 Sept was 14 Sept in 1752.) Thus, the two calendars were probably in use simultaneously in the German areas of PA in the 1st half of the 18th century.

To make matters worse, New Years Day also changed from March 25th to Jan 1st. (For example, the Julian calendar marked the new year by advancing from March 24th, 1750 to March 25th, 1751.) Thus, Elizabeth Weber’s [1] birthday is given as Feb 1742/43, most likely indicating she was born in 1742 according to the Julian calendar and 1743 according to the Gregorian, with the day of the month lost in the confusion and, thus, even the month in doubt. It follows that the people who were born in PA in the first half of the 18th century and lived to a ripe old age could not have known accurately their birth date (year, in some cases; month, in others) unless the type of calendar used to mark their birth was also recorded.

For another example, and the one which led to this investigation, Maria Eva Bast's [2] date of baptism is listed as 15 Feb 1751 in one record, 25 Feb 1751 in another. If the difference is caused by the use of the two calendars, the difference ought to be eleven days instead of ten, and the year should be uncertain in addition. To illustrate, it seems the date ought to be 15 Feb 1751 (Julian) or 25 Feb 1752 (Gregorian), ignoring the discrepancy of one day. However, several other conclusions are possible, so this is one date which will never be resolved with certainty.

Out of curiosity, searches were performed on the CD, 'Birth Index for Southeastern PA' (aka Humphrey), for children born or baptized on 'the days that never were'. An example or examples were found for every day except the 5th and 10th of Sept, 1752. These findings reinforce the contention that dates prior to 1753 should viewed as being rather 'rubbery' because we have no idea which calendar the recorder was using unless it was an official, colonial record.

Conceptually, for the immigrants born in Germany after 1700 who died in PA after 1753, there should be no difficulty concerning dates because both places were using the Gregorian calendar at the time of the events. However, it appears the confusion caused by the change over was so universal that even these people were impacted.

In conclusion, the evidence indicates that both calendars were in use in PA in the early 1700s so dates for that period must be accepted with an open mind. The actual period of time, as it concerns us, can be narrowed further from about 1710 to 1760, the period of greatest immigration for our ancestors. After being born and reared under the Gregorian calendar, it seems natural that they continued to use it following immigration, at least in some cases. At the same time, though, the official colonial records were kept using the Julian calendar until Sept 1752. The differences between the two calendars are not trivial and should be kept in mind when pondering the mysteries surrounding the dates of some events prior to 1753, and it now appears (in 2003) that this note of caution inexplicably applies even to earlier centuries when all of Christendom was using the Julian calendar.

[1] The wife of George Reber, the oldest son of Johann Leonhardt Reber.

[2] The wife of Adam Reber, the second son of Johann Leonhardt Reber.

Lee I. Reber, Las Vegas, NV
Native of Schuylkill Haven, PA9 

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  This page last updated 22 July 2008