19th century date system
Margaret K. Thayer
mthayer at FIELDMUSEUM.ORG
Fri Sep 9 15:36:14 CDT 2005
On a few staphylinid beetle specimens that my
student Dave Clarke borrowed from BMNH, he found
dates written in a system that I can only partly
figure out. Both seem to use fractions of years
rather than months, but the details are a little
uncertain. The full label data are quoted verbatim below.
(1) Hili Madjedja N.Nias 4 de trim.'95 I.Z.
Kannegieter/ M. Cameron Bequest. B.M. 1955-147.
I think in this one that "4 de trim.'95" refers
to trimesters (3-month periods), but am not sure
if the "4 de" (with the de printed as a
superscript) means the fourth trimester
[presumably Oct-Dec] or the fourth (day) of
(which?) trimester of 1895. The first seems more
likely, though I'd feel more confident knowing
exactly why the "de" is there. (For example, if
it were in English, I'd expect "4th trim.",
German, "4. trim.", or French "4me trim.",
possibly with superscript suffixes in the first and last.)
(2) Bedagei. int. Sumatra's O.K. ± 600' 2. de
Sem.89. I.Z. Kannegieter/ M. Cameron Bequest. B.M. 1955-147.
In this one, it appears that "2. de Sem.89"
probably means the second semester [=half-year,
presumably July-Dec] 1889, though the exact
interpretation of "de" (also a superscript) is
puzzling here, too, as I would expect "2nd Sem."
for English, "2. Sem." for German, or "2me Sem."
for French, again possibly with superscript suffixes in the first and last.
Does anyone know anything more about this system
of dating that could either confirm or refute what I've suggested above?
We have pretty well pinned down the localities as
being (1) on a small island (Nias) just off the
west coast of Sumatra and (2) inland from the
east coast (östliche Küste) of Sumatra (at ca.
600 feet elevation), but if anyone happens to
know further details they'd be welcome.
Thanks very much,
Margaret K. Thayer, Ph.D. mthayer at fieldmuseum.org
Associate Curator, Zoology -- Insects FMNH
personal web page: http://tinyurl.com/4g4zz
Field Museum of Natural History FMNH: http://www.fieldmuseum.org
1400 South Lake Shore Drive Beetle
Tree of Life project: http://beetletree.org/
Chicago IL 60605-2496, USA
PHONE: +1-312-665-7741 (direct-dial)
Austral Staphylinidae project, including Staphyliniformia databases:
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