Saturday, January 29, 2011

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - The Date You Were Born

From Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings, this week's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun has to do with date research:
  1. What day of the week were you born?
  2. What has happened in recorded history on your birth date (day and month)? List five events.
  3. What famous people were born on your birth date?
For each of the above, tell how you found out.

I used the Wolfram-Alpha search engine to answer all of these. Wolfram-Alpha is different from search engines like Google in that it delivers computations and factual information rather than linking out to external resources. It's not a resource I use often, but I decided to try it for this challenge, and I was able to answer all three questions with a single search.

I typed the date (month, day, and year) into Wolfram-Alpha's search box and received a page telling me not only day of the week, but other interesting facts such as time difference from today, official holidays or observances (if any), events taking place (including famous people born), anniversaries falling, and time of sunrise/sunset.

1. October 6 of the year I was born (I'm not telling which year) was a Tuesday.

2. As mentioned above, Wolfram-Alpha lists events and anniversaries taking place on a given date. Here are five for October 6th:
  • 1769 - Captain James Cook lands in New Zealand
  • 1889 - Thomas Edison shows his first motion picture
  • 1908 - Austria annexes Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • 1927 - 'Jazz Singer' premieres
  • 1949 - Mutual Defense Assistance Act is signed
Because Wolfram-Alpha is calculating these events based on the year I input in the search, everything listed takes place on or before the year I was born. To find events on recorded history that took place after I was born, I re-ran the search using month and day only. By omitting the year, Wolfram-Alpha defaults results to the current year (2011) and turns up a few more items:
  • 2000 - Slobodan Milosevic resigns
  • 1981 - Anwar Sadat is assassinated
  • 1979 - first pope to visit the White House
3. The famous people Wolfram-Alpha lists as born on October 6th are mostly people I've never heard of. So either I was born on an odd date, or my general knowledge of 'famous people' is limited. (Probably it's a combination of the two.) Here are some I've actually heard of:
  • 1887 - Le Corbusier (architect)
  • 1914 - Thor Heyerdahl (explorer)
  • 1970 - Amy Jo Johnson (actress - seems best known as 'The Pink Range' in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers)

1 comment:

  1. This was a really interesting approach to the challenge. I've heard of Wolfram-Alpha but never used it. Thanks for piquing my interest - I shall head over there.

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