Manuscripts and Special Collections
   
   
  

Introduction to dating documents


Diagram showing time zones and major cities set around a globe, [1834-1839] (LT 210.G/P4)
 

The different dating conventions employed in historical documents can cause problems for even the most seasoned of researchers.

Early documents, such as medieval deeds, for example, may be dated by reference to a day of the week, a nearby religious feast day and the year of the reigning monarch - a system which has little in common with the current method of noting day, month and calendar year. Furthermore, even where a recognisable date is provided, it may not always be what it at first appears.

The information provided within this skills unit aims to identify and explain some of the most common difficulties and pitfalls and to provide sources of assistance.

Throughout the unit, illustrative images are taken from the collections held by Manuscripts and Special Collections at the University of Nottingham.

This unit was written in September 2005.

 

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Manuscripts and Special Collections

Kings Meadow Campus
Lenton Lane
Nottingham, NG7 2NR

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 4565
fax: +44 (0) 115 846 8651
email: mss-library@nottingham.ac.uk