2009 is not a leap year, meaning we have no February 29, but Genea-Musings Saturday Night Fun suggests that we identify all our relatives who had a special event on that day.   To locate who those relatives are in a timely fashion required me to use my genealogy software.  Once I got those names I began to ponder what it must be like to, undoubtedly, deal with the jokes and confusion that is the consequence of a special event having either fallen on February 29 or was chosen.  Interestingly, just last night I was at a wine tasting party with about 20 people and, of those, one celebrated her birthday yesterday but she was born on February 29, 1960.  Each time someone became aware of her birthday the same comment was made telling her that she wasn’t old enough to drink as she was only 14 ½.  I’m sure that it becomes a bit trying to laugh at the same joke for years and years.  Also, in the group, my brother-in-law has a birthday today, March 1.

We celebrate getting another year older or another year of marriage each year but how would you know when to celebrate that additional year if your event occurred on leap day?  On a site called The Straight Dope I found an answer and the last paragraph is funny and relevant to genealogy.  I imagine that most people do not go to that level of precision but it was food for thought.

I have to say that figuring out how to determine what events occurred on what days in my genealogy program is a bit confusing.  There doesn’t seem to be a straight forward answer to the question in the help manual.  There may be more than one way to do it but here’s the way that I did it, using The Master Genealogist (TMG).

  1. Go to Report > List of… > Events
  2. In the pop up menu, select the radio button “all events” then click “print to file” and save it (I saved it as an Excel file)
  3. Click the “Print & Save” button

Once I had the file, I opened it in Excel and was able to use the sort and filter functions to easily and quickly determine who, in my database, had an event on February 29.  Now, to determine which of these individuals were actually related to me required using the date calculator in TMG.  If anyone reading this has a better way, in this software, please share it with me.  It seems that I ought to be able to create a focus group of those related to me and then get this type of list but I couldn’t determine how that might be done.  In this case the results would be the same.

I have 6,941 individuals with 13,138 events in my database and, of those, only 5 people had an event on February 29.  I double checked and each of these years was a leap year.

Date Tagtype Person Relationship to Kay Comment
29 Feb 1824 Birth Lineberry, Arlando Wood, D.D. 1st cousin, 5 times removed Methodist preacher in Guilford Co, NC
29 Feb 1840 Birth Jones, Elizabeth Jane 2nd cousin, 4 times removed Lived in Randolph Co, NC
29 Feb 1880 Birth Koch, Edwin Oswald my kids’ 2nd great grand uncle by marriage PhD from Ohio State and lived in MO, IL, IN
29 Feb 1928 Birth Lineberry, Living 3rd cousin, 1 time removed He is from Brookfield, Linn Co, Missouri
29 Feb 1944 Birth Lineberry, Living 2nd cousin, 1 time removed Her family is from Virginia

In my database the numbers of births & marriages surrounding and including the leap year date are:

28 February 8 births 3 marriages
29 February 5 births 0 marriages
1   March 5 births 3 marriages