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Celestial symbols in baptism records

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Celestial symbols in baptism records

Postby annfaml » Thu Feb 22, 2018 8:48 am

I'm currently delving through St John the Baptist, Adel, Yorkshire baptism, marriage and burial records and alongside some of my ancestors names and dates are celestial symbols. They appear between 1686 and 1703. Has anyone come across this before? I'm assuming it was just a quirk of whoever was recording the information at the time or would it have some other important meaning that I am just missing?
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Re: Celestial symbols in baptism records

Postby JMcK » Thu Feb 22, 2018 9:43 am

By celestial symbols do you mean phases of the moon or something more elaborate? I’ve seen the former and that is what it was, just a record of the phase of the moon (and a note about the weather)
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Re: Celestial symbols in baptism records

Postby annfaml » Thu Feb 22, 2018 2:34 pm

They are in a separate column between the date and christian name of the person, no other information. They appear as symbols eg circle with dot in centre, number 4 with curved top to the left, T with backwards s, backwards jagged crescent moon. Sorry have to describe them as can't replicate them!. I first assumed they were astrological but too many different symbols were appearing in the same month.
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Re: Celestial symbols in baptism records

Postby peter kent » Thu Feb 22, 2018 3:20 pm

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Re: Celestial symbols in baptism records

Postby annfaml » Thu Feb 22, 2018 3:33 pm

Yes looks like most of them are, there's a few that look different. Any ideas as to why these would be in the records?
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Re: Celestial symbols in baptism records

Postby AdrianB38 » Thu Feb 22, 2018 10:59 pm

Capture.JPG
Capture.JPG (25.06 KiB) Viewed 1291 times

I suspect that they are symbols for the day of the week.

What I'm not at all sure about is whether these are just concocted by this chap or whether they are recognised. But ☉ means "Sun" and a quick sampling suggests "Sunday".

♀ means "Venus" and I think the linked weekday would be Friday.

♃ means "Jupiter" and I think the link would be to Thursday - Thor and all that. Err, not quite sure how!

I've not had time to Google this any further but should someone wish to take up the challenge...
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Re: Celestial symbols in baptism records

Postby annfaml » Fri Feb 23, 2018 9:19 am

Thank you for the suggestion, that makes so much sense. I've come across moon phases and saints days (instead of dates) lots of times but never these before. Whoever this clerk was, he was great with his information. Plenty of detail rather than the basic date and name that I see on parish records around that time. :D
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Re: Celestial symbols in baptism records

Postby Guy » Fri Feb 23, 2018 9:37 am

At first I thought the register was showing birth & baptisms but your example is of the burial register so that rules that possiblility out.
Cheers
Guy

PS
I do note 4 entries in a transcript on Genuki which may lead to clues on the original register.
The burials of the following four church officials

Dr William Brearey 06 March 1703/4 Rector
William Langcaster 02 January 1701/2 Sexton
David Clarkeson 21 December 1699 Sexton
Richard Nicholson 31 March 1689 Sexton

Do the above dates show any changes in the use of symbols on the original register?
Do they alter with an appointment of a churchwarden or vicar etc.?
Cheers
Guy
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Re: Celestial symbols in baptism records

Postby annfaml » Fri Feb 23, 2018 10:12 am

They appear alongside all baptism, marriage and burial records between 1686 and 1703. The original records I am looking at are from Ancestry: West Yorkshire baptism, Marriages & Burials 1512 to 1812; Adel, St John the Baptist. They usually show baptisms on the left page and burials on the right, with marriages appearing on both sides of the register. As these particular symbols end in 1703 I am assuming that Dr William Brearey was the one using them.
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Re: Celestial symbols in baptism records

Postby AdrianB38 » Fri Feb 23, 2018 10:30 am

A quick Google gives this linkhttp://www.dglenn.org/defs/daysymbols.html

So it does seem like they are days of the week and it's not just one guy. NB I haven't checked my previous suggestions to see if they match so there is always the possibility that the clerk might not have the same understanding as the link.

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