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Part 1 of 3 Parts
Birth Data, Data Rating and Astro-Research

Birth Data

By DW Sutton

Abstract: Birth times and birth certificates play a vital role in astrology and Birth Data, Data-Rating and Astro-Research is essentially an investigation into the recording and accuracy rating of birth data over the past 100 years.

SubheadingsCalendars, clocks and atlases    The birth event     But.......    The birth time    Timing the birth moment    Births get timed to natural happenings    If the birth time's approximate — rectify    The birth place and its time zoneThe birth date    The birth year        Birth data gets updated and corrected

Calendars, clocks and atlases

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The ancients strove to make sense of the world just like we do and in their search for understanding they turned their gaze to the stars. They gathered astrological knowledge, but it's unknown if these ancient astrologers — operating in an unknown ancient land — had calendars, clocks and atlases. Their astrological legacy includes birthcharts, progressed aspects and authentic astrological information and thanks to Ptolemy, and the stars in the sky, humanity can now benefit from their astrological wisdom.

The fundamental astrological text that became the standard reference for all astrologers during the Age of Pisces — approximately 268 BC to 1881 — was Tetrabiblos, written by Claudius Ptolemy in the 2nd century. Working in the library at Alexandria — where 700,000 papyrus rolls were carefully cataloged — he summarized the astrology of the ancients. His famous text is an exposition of the art of astrology and a compendium of astrological law. In it he systematically explains the rules for drawing up a chart. The planets, he claims, exert their influence on the personality as do race, country and upbringing and the birthchart should be constructed for the precise moment of birth. But the precise time of birth is difficult to know without a clock and there wasn't one in the 2nd century when Ptolemy wrote Tetrabiblos.

A calendar divides the year into months, weeks and days. It's a method of ordering the years — an essential part of the astrological story. Way back...the Sumerian calendar divided the year up into 12 lunar months of 29 or 30 days and today the Jews, Chinese and Muslims have calendars based on lunar and solar cycles, each with a different starting date. But it doesn't matter where you are you just want to know what day it is. In 46BC the Julian Calendar was invented by Julius Caesar, but it had an in built error and in 1582 Pope Gregory eliminated the error and avoided its recurrence by restricting century leap years to those divisible by 400. The changeover to the Gregorian calendar was gradual and England didn't make the change till September 2, 1752 when the error amounted to 11 days. That's when September 3, 1752 became September 14 — and births before and after this date were referenced as Old Style or New Style. Germany had already made the change in 1700 but Russia didn't make the change till February 14, 1918. This calendar is the one you use today, unless you live in China.

Clocks time the hour and minute of the day, but the common wristwatch is a quite recent invention. Back in the 2nd century when Ptolemy was writing Tetrabiblos there were water clocks, candle clocks, sundials and hour glasses. They weren't very reliable — there was no hour or minute hand — but back then the need to know the 'time' wasn't a five-minute imperative like it is today. This seems to be a recent cultural phenomenon.

So fast forward to the 1500s when early time pieces only had an hour hand. Their accuracy was so poor that they were practically useless. Then, in 1657, a great leap forward occurred when Christiaan Huygens, a Dutch physicist, made a successful pendulum clock and in 1675 Huygens devised the spiral balance spring. This paved the way for increased accuracy — from perhaps hours per day to 10 minutes per day. Pocket watches now had a minute hand, but most people didn't have one. They were costly symbols of a person's wealth and social standing and this meant that only the rich were likely to own one. In the 1700s mechanical timekeepers — clocks and pocket watches — were uncommon. Then in 1854 the Waltham Watch Company in Massachusetts pioneered the mass production of watches — in 1900 wristwatches were mostly worn by women — and in 1969 the introduction of the quartz watch was a revolutionary improvement in watch technology. It made the precise timing of births — to the exact second — possible. Ptolemy is looking on with envy.

An atlas is a book of maps and the 0-degree line of latitude was determined by Ptolemy as early as 150AD. He explained it in his famous atlas Geography — his impressive attempt to map the known world giving the latitude and longitude coordinates of major places: And even though the coordinates were hopelessly inaccurate it was a standard source of geographical data until the 16th century! The first modern atlas was completed in 1594, but its accuracy standard was very poor. The 0-degree line of longitude doesn't have an obvious starting point — like the equator — so English navigators in the 1700s used the longitude of their home port, Greenwich. Then in 1759 John Harrison perfected his marine chronometer and this paved the way for accurate longitude measurements and accurate map making — and accurate latitude and longitude coordinates were just what the astrologer needed.

But, by all accounts, astrologers during the Age of Pisces applied Ptolemy's astrology to inaccurate birthcharts. It begs the question — how could William Lilly, Elias Ashmole, Nicholas Culpepper and John Dee get it right when the clocks and atlases were wrong? Uranus was discovered in 1781, Neptune was located in 1846 and Pluto was discovered in 1930 so they mostly worked with seven planets and it was not until 1795 that a listing of the planets' sign positions appeared for the first time in Raphael's Ephemeris: And who knew what house system to use? The Italian astrologer, Placidus de Titus, had published his Table of Houses in 1650, but this wasn't translated into English until 1814. So our predecessors working with incorrect birth times, incorrect birth place coordinates and incorrect birthcharts couldn't get it right. They did their best with what they had and when the traditional teaching failed to provide a logical explanation they introduced fixed stars and mystical parts into their birthcharts. They did no evidence-based research: And it's now known that the non- astrological parts and symbols they placed in their charts should all be given an absolutely invalid — dirty-data — rating.

The birth event

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Every birth is different and every woman who has ever given birth has a different story to tell. Most have normal pregnancies and trouble-free deliveries but things can go wrong. Last minute complications do arise — forceps can be used to deliver a distressed baby — and the situational setting is not exactly calm and serene. There's an air of excitement and anticipation in the delivery room and out of this emotion charged atmosphere the astrologer expects to get a very precise birth time.

Child birth — yours included — is a glorious event. It normally occurs after 38 to 42 weeks of pregnancy and by about week 40 the baby turns and faces head down — a sign that it is ready to be born. Labour times vary greatly and during the second stage — which usually lasts around 20 to 50 minutes — powerful contractions push the baby out into the world. Nine months of safety and warmth inside its mother's body have ended in violent physical upheaval and now the baby must do for itself. And the very first problem it confronts is an urgent need for air. It has to take its first breath and fill its lungs with air.

Every newborn infant — you see — suffers from some degree of oxygen deficiency and at the time of delivery there may be no oxygen in the umbilical blood and when the umbilical circulation ceases the baby is no longer getting oxygen from its mother. Blood must flow to the baby's lungs — and thousands of uninflated air sacs must be filled with air — so during the birthing procedure the birth canal exerts pressure on the infant's chest. This along with the lack of oxygen and the sudden encounter with a cool new environment usually stimulates the baby to inhale — and the average healthy newborn begins to breathe (without any external stimulation) within seconds after it is born — even before the umbilical cord is cut. But taking that all important first breath is no easy task. It's been estimated that the first breath of life requires five times more effort than any ordinary breath. And while it's a dramatic first moment in the child's life it's not celebrated with a chorus of hallelujahs. In fact the event could almost go unnoticed except most babies signal their arrival by uttering a cry just after their initial intake of air — but it's unknown if this is a reflex action or an expression of distress, relief or joy.

The indications are that in normal deliveries and caesarian sections a child takes its first breath soon after its entrance onto the world stage: And in most instances delivery, first breath and the cutting of the umbilical cord all occur within seconds — let's say half a minute. So if the midwife, or whoever, glances at the clock and takes an accurate mental note of the time these events occur, and then notes this time on a birth certificate or baby card, the hour and minute that's recorded there should be within half a minute of the precise moment the baby was born.


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If you take 100 births — each attended by 100 different physicians or midwives with their own procedure for noting and recording the birth time — here's what the astrologer doesn't know.

For starters s/he doesn't know what part of the birth event was timed — the actual delivery, the first breath or the cutting of the umbilical cord — or if all these events occurred at approximately the same time or not.

S/he doesn't know the circumstances of the birth — whether it was easy with no complications or difficult and complicated. Serious complications could easily divert the physician's attention away from the need to note and record an accurate birth time: And s/he doesn't know if tiredness is inclined to compromise the accuracy of the recorded birth time for a birth that occurs sometime between midnight and 6.00am.

The astrologer doesn't know if the birth time was verbally stated or mentally noted — or at what stage in the proceedings it was documented — or the time period that elapsed before it was documented — or who did the documenting. S/he doesn't know the attitude of the attendant physician to recording birth times or the level of attention to detail s/he possesses. A Virgo physician is much more inclined to note a very precise time with all the others running a very poor second. But this comment ignores training and cultural circumstance — the tendency for most physicians to do what is commonly done. And finally s/he doesn't know if the time on the clock or wristwatch that did the timing was accurate or not.

It's reasonable to assume that each of these factors will in some way influence the accuracy of the time that gets documented on the birth certificate. And if the hospital administrator does the paper work s/he must get the birth time from someone who attended the birth and this exchange of information could increase the chance for error. In individual cases mothers can shed light on things like the birth circumstances, but it's unlikely if most would notice if the clock on the delivery room wall was accurately timed, although some with an interest in astrology may be concerned about this issue.

The only thing that the astrologer knows is that a birth time was recorded on a birth certificate. Whether that time is absolutely precise or just approximate — and whether it has been accurately transcribed and transmitted from one person to another to eventually make its way onto the Astro-Databank website — remain the big unknowns.

The birth time

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By all accounts Frank Sinatra's birth was quite an ordeal. He arrived in the early morning hours after a long and difficult labor — weighed in at a massive 13 pounds — suffered damage to his face and neck caused by the doctor's forceps — and didn't breathe until his grandmother held him under a tap of cold running water. With so much going on one wonders who thought to glance at the clock to note the birth time and what event in the proceedings was actually timed? Frances McEvoy quotes the birth certificate for 2.55am — from Edwin Steinbrecher — and Lynn Palmer quotes Sinatra's father for 3.00am.

The actual event that signals the exact moment of birth is an important astrological issue — and there are three separate events that the attending doctor or midwife can consider as the birth moment. They are the time the baby is taken from the womb, the time the umbilical cord is cut, or the time the baby takes its first breath — and the circumstances surrounding the birth determine if these three events occur at almost the same time or not.

From an astrological perspective the exact moment of birth — and the time for which the birthchart should be constructed — is the time the child takes its first breath. This marks the moment when the electromagnetic forces previously provided by the mother become polarized to the child. It's the starting point of the child's independent life — the time when its temperature, pulse and respiration begin to function without the aid of its mother. To quote Elbert Benjamine: 'When the umbilical cord is cut is not material in timing the birthchart. But when the child draws its first independent breath, and oxidation gives it an electromagnetic form of its own, marks the time for which the birthchart should be erected. This usually coincides with the first cry.' But it's unlikely if the time on your birth certificate records this momentous moment as precisely as its importance warrants.

A child's life begins in time and space and the time it takes its first breath starts the journey. But the general public remain largely unaware of just how important this moment really is. It's the birth date — not the birth time — that gets all the notice and legal attention. Frank Sinatra was born on December 12, 1915 and each year he celebrated his birthday on December 12. He no doubt considered this an important bit of self-information — and like most people placed little or no importance on an even more important bit — his birth time. An almost accurate birth time gets recorded on the birth certificate, but there's a lot of evidence to indicate that many people don't know or remember the time that's recorded there.

Timing the birth moment

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A clock is needed to accurately time the birth moment and when Alexander the Great was born — around 355BC — there wasn't one. Clocks and watches are quite recent inventions so way back then sunrise and sunset were very popular birth times. Linking the birth moment to either of these major daily happenings didn't need a clock, watch or hourglass — it was just a matter of checking where the sun was. And the practice didn't stop with the invention of the clock. Abraham Lincoln was born at 'sun-up'; composer Richard Wagner at sunrise; actress Vivian Leigh at 'not long after the sun had disappeared'; and Carl Jung 'when the last rays of the setting sun lit the room.'

The records show — judging by the birth data collected by Michel Gauquelin from civil birth registers in France, Italy and other European countries — that most births in the 1800s occurred on the hour. And this forces the conclusion that births were not accurately timed. Clocks were around but they weren't used for timing births. Back then the birth time wasn't an important issue and the idea that a precise hour and minute should be recorded as the birth time hadn't been hatched. The birth hour was regarded as the birth time and if it wasn't known then any hour would do. In Europe the parents — not the doctor — registered a child's birth sometime after the main event and they very often gave an approximate birth hour. This practice was accepted throughout Europe and it's safe to say that most of the registered births didn't occur at the time that's recorded. So Alan Leo in England, recognizing this dilemma, sent out a warning.

In 1001 Notable Nativities published in 1911 he wrote:

But there is another factor, and that is the accuracy of the stated birth time. General experience in connection with the varied work of 'Modern Astrology' office shows that the average recorded birth time may be presumed correct within ten minutes or a quarter of an hour — i.e. within three or four degrees of the MC. The reader may therefore feel quite safe in allowing (but not exceeding) a similar margin in regard to most of the horoscopes in this book, remembering that time is likely to be more accurately known when birth takes place during the day than during the night.' He concludes; 'It is quite true it is very difficult to obtain perfectly accurate birth times, and that in consequence most published nativities must be regarded as more or less approximate.

But now — in 2010 — there's been revolutionary change and improvement. Births are accurately timed and recorded and the time on the birth certificate can be accepted as almost accurate rather than approximate. The practice of rounding off the birth time that was so common during the 20th century has almost ceased and this is good news for the astrological research worker seeking authentic astrological knowledge. It's dependent on an accurate birth time and chart.

Births get timed to natural happenings

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Everyone considers their birth date a very important bit of self-information so it's most unfortunate that an even more important bit — the birth time — is given little significance or relevance. The general public including physicians, doctors, nurses and midwives remain unaware of the importance of an accurate birth time — and when there's no recorded time family members and biographers can link this key life event to a natural happening.

Sunrise and sunset are the most common and if you haven't got a clock the sun's position in the sky can provide an approximate time of birth. But the birth information is far too vague for an accurate chart and astrological research. In some countries the sun can set for ages and after it sets there can be a long period of twilight so the issue is: When did the natural happening actually occur? Here are some colorful birth moments timed to natural happenings that have teased and entertained astrologers.

Dame Nellie Melba was born 'as the sound of church bells floated through the window on the evening air.' Architect Frank Lloyd Wright was born 'in the evening in the middle of a storm.' The biographer of Argentinean President Juan Peron states that he was born 'on a very cold night when snow was falling.' Thomas Edison's daughter claims that her father was probably born between 1 and 2 am — on a night of heavy snowfall. And Dolly Parton's biographer tells a great yarn regarding her birth. The story goes that the doctor/minister travelled ten miles on horseback to deliver Dolly in 'the early morning hours' and then travelled back home to deliver a sermon. It became more fantastic when the time on the birth certificate stated 8.25pm.

When asked when he was born Carl Gustav Jung replied 'when the last rays of the setting sun lit the room.' Vivian Leigh was born 'not long after the sun had disappeared' and writer HFK Fisher wrote 'I began in Albion, MI, 'leaping forth a few minutes before midnight.' British actress, Joanna Lumley, wrote in her autobiography that she was born in the 'early evening' — the doctor finished just in time to sit down and have dinner with the family. And British politician Francis Foreman when asked for his birth time replied: 'My mother told me that this great event took place at about 4.15am'. He was born on March 25, 1943 with the Sun in the first decanate of Aries!

The birth time is a very important bit of self- information. It represents the precise time the birth event took place so the public need to be informed that births occur at precise minutes and not when the sun rises or disappears, or church bells chime, or blizzards occur, or snow falls or just in time for dinner. But they are great events.

If the birth time's approximate — rectify

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Ever since Alan Leo told the astrological community in 1911 that the 'General experience in connection with the varied work of Modern Astrology office shows that the average recorded birth time may be presumed correct within ten minutes or a quarter of an hour' and that 'most published nativities must be regarded as more or less approximate' it decided — with spectacular naivety — that the only solution was to rectify the given birth time and chart. And during the 1930s and 1940s that's what happened with spectacular regularity.

This was a time of great political and social upheaval and astrologers were striving to makes sense of what was going on. This required the birth-data of the political leaders and other change-agents directly involved in the revolutionary transformation and accurate birth times were hard to get. Community awareness of astrology was on the rise, but accuracy standards were low and many astrologers couldn't construct an accurate birthchart. In the rush to get birth-data the need to validate its authenticity was neglected and then it was decided that the approximate birth time and chart required rectification. The end result was an astonishing array of rectification techniques all promising amazing results.

Today (in 2010) with so many important world figures having A, C and D rated data the rectification game is still being played. But the idea that you can start with a wrong birth time and chart and through a process of rectification end up with a right birth time and chart is a tad bizarre. The rectification process often involves flimsy evidence based on weird astrology — like the house position of a planet or the sign and degree on the ascendant or MC — and the end result is always a chart that might be almost right — or wrong. The easy techniques involve matching important life events with transit progressions to key birthchart markers and the most difficult involve complex mathematical calculations. Research reveals that the pre-natal epoch will calculate a precise birth time and precise ascending degree in seven out of ten charts when the approximate time of birth is known to be within half an hour of the actual birth time. It's based on natural law, but the resultant chart does need to be thoroughly investigated to confirm its validity.

The final comment on rectification goes to CC Zain:

In our research department we have found it better always to use the time of day given. The chart thus obtained may be a few degrees in error; but we believe the error introduced by using the approximate time and ascertained by a clock by someone present at the birth, is likely to be much smaller than the error commonly occasioned in trying to make the chart fit some theory.

The birth date

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The birth date is an important bit of self-information. It's documented on your birth certificate, but some celebrities have been known to fabricate a completely fictitious birth date — others seem to muddle it up — and some get it wrong due to human error. It's less inclined to occur these days, but the past provides some interesting astrological anecdotes.

The most famous fabrication involves actress Katherine Hepburn. She didn't fake the birth year just the birth day and month. She claimed to have been born on November 8, 1907, but in 1934 Howard Hammitt Jr quoting her birth certificate gave May 12, 1907. The contradiction had no logical explanation — both dates circulated through the astrological community for years — and Hepburn fuelled the uncertainty until 1991 when she confessed it all in her autobiography, Me: Stories of My Life. On April 3, 1921 — when she was 13 — she found her older brother Tom, whom she idolized, hanging from a rafter, an apparent suicide. He was born on November 8, 1905 and after his death she took his birth month and day as her own. Even though the correct birth certificate data was available all the time — born May 12, 1907 at 5.47pm EST, Hartford, Connecticut — astrologers continued to work with both dates — and then they fabricated some speculative birth times! Howard Hammitt Jr did not have an actual copy of the birth certificate — 'I just looked it up and copied down the information.'

Ralph Edwards (creator of This is your Life) gave his birth date to Doris Chase Doane — January 13, 1913 (at 9.13am) — but all those 13's look a bit suspicious. When the birth certificate became available it stated June 13, 1913 at 9.00am.

In the August 1938 edition of Student Astrologer Maria Major wrote an article on Yehudi Menuhin. The birth data she used — January 22, 1917 at11.30pm, New York — had been obtained by Howard V Herndon from Menuhin's parents. The chart is presented on page 35 of Course XX — The Next Life — with the comment: 'Data obtained from parents by H. V. Herndon'. Yet in his autobiography — Unfinished Symphony — Menuhin gives his birth date as April 22, 1916. So what's going on? If the birth date in the autobiography is correct why would his parents give another date — 9 months later? Or is the date he gave in his autobiography a fake? The mystery to my knowledge has never been resolved.

Another birth date muddle involves a mix-up with the date on the birth registration. Italian actor Marcello Mastroianni states that he was born on September 26th, 1924 but his birth record gives September 28th, 1924 — the day his parent's registered his birth. And the birth record of actress Tallulah Bankhead has her Aunt's wedding date recorded — she inadvertently gave it as the birth date. Bankhead was born on January 31, 1903(?)

The birth year

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Most people know their birth year. On rare occasions it can be a problem. Some try to conceal their real age by clipping a few years off the real birth year and there are those who like to engage in silly tomfoolery. But the harmless fun can be a problem for the serious astrologer.

Actor Richard Harris told astrologer Kathleen Johnson that he was born in 1932 — and then he stated 1930 and 1933. Jeanne Dixon — the psychic who experienced five minutes of fame by predicting the assassination of John F Kennedy — told everyone that she was born in 1918 but Edwin Steinbrecher quotes her birth record for 1904. Any film book will tell you that Claudette Colbert was born September 13, 1905; but when her parents entered the US (from France) they took two years of her real age so she could enter the country as a minor. She was born in 1903. Biographical sites on Wikipedia give Rue McClanahan's birth year as 1934. Her sister reckons 1939. The 'Golden Girl' stated — 'I never tell.' Astrologer Evangeline Adams claimed actress Jeanette MacDonald was born in 1907. Her biographer Robert Parish states 1903 and others state 1901. Bing Crosby was in much the same boat. His brother said May 2, 1901. He and his studio claimed May 2, 1904. The most recent evidence suggests May 3, 1903. And architect Frank Lloyd Wright claimed he was born on June 8, 1869, but his mother's diary entry states June, 8, 1867. Cole Porter could have been born in 1891, 1892 or 1893. Actress Susan Haywood also had three birth years — 1917, 1918, and 1919. The birth certificate states 1917. In the 1930's actress Norma Shearer was born in 1904. Now the movie books state 1900 — as given by Lawrence Quirk in her biography Norma. Conductor Arturo Toscanini wrote to Elbert Benjamine stating that he was born March 25, 1868 (at 2.00am LMT Parma, Italy). The birth certificate obtained by Grazia Bordoni states March 25, 1867 (at 3.00am Rome Time).

In the October 1938 edition of Student Astrologer Maria Major wrote an astro-analysis of Shirley Temple — Hollywood's biggest child star. Major commented: 'It really is amazing how many people before the public eye are accredited with ages which are not correct. And, with all her fame, it was to be expected that the birth-data of Shirley Temple should be ground for dispute. That dispute however seems to have been quite definitely settled by Time, when it published a photograph of Shirley Temple's birth certificate, showing her birth as of April 23, 1929, 9.00pm Santa Monica, California. The chart here illustrated was erected for this data.' But it was all a big hoax played by Shirley's movie studio. The real birth year — validated by her real birth certificate — is 1928. The chart for the incorrect birth year is presented on page 67 of Brotherhood of Light Course XV11 — Cosmic Alchemy.

The birth place and its time zone

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An accurate birthchart needs precise latitude and longitude coordinates. They permit the chart's precise location but occasionally there's been a birth place muddle-up. Astronaut, Neil Armstrong, was born in three different places — Wapakoneta and St. Marys, Ohio according to the civic records and Auglaise Co., Washington Township according to his mother. She told T Pat Davis that the birthplace recorded on the birth certificate was wrong.

And an accurate chart needs a precise time zone — and even today there are huge problems with the time zone used by some localities. The situation in some countries is dreadful — and best avoided — and the situation in some parts of the US is an awful mess.

In Data News #11 Lois Rodden reported:

Arthur Blackwell writes that there is some question of whether Pennsylvania was using Daylight or Standard time (in 1917 and 1918), though war-time was in national effect. An article in Mercury Hour April 1987, page 65 noted that Philadelphia and Pittsburgh were on daylight in 1917 and 1918, however many small towns stayed on Standard until about 1930. Eugene Moore writes that hospital clocks were not turned to daylight from 1920 to July 1971. Pennsylvania is another gray area to approach with caution.

And Bonnie Beeferman wrote Data News quoting the Illinois State Registrar: 'Though the large cities in Illinois have observed DST since the Standard Time Act was passed by Congress, births and deaths have been recorded in CST until April 29, 1959, when the entire state legally took the prevailing time. The exception is during the war when the entire country including Illinois, used War Time: (And) Before July 1, 1959, all hospitals recorded births on standard time except the following: All Catholic hospitals; Lutheran Deaconess; South Chicago Hospital; Swedish Covenant; Lying-in and Highland Park Hospitals.' And when T Pat Davis wrote that the (Wayne County, Kentucky) 'section of Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky has just moved from Central to Eastern Time' Rodden commented: 'It is the fifth time-zone change in the last 15 years and will further muddy the waters for us astrologers. That area of the U.S. is already a minefield of misinformation.'

Quite a few charts have an uncertain time zone. Contemporary Sidereal Horoscopes gave the time zone for astronaut John Glenn as CDT. American Atlas and Michael Gauquelin gave EDT — and David Dozier, who thoroughly checked all sources in Ohio, confirmed EST. And while thorough investigation can clarify an uncertain time zone most charts in this situation must be automatically excluded from astrological research projects.

Birth data gets updated and corrected

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Updating and correcting birth data is essential, because in the end accurate data is what the astrological community needs and wants, but in Data News #88 Lois Rodden was forced to defend her practice of actively seeking data updates. It seems a disgruntled astrologer complained when her favorite data got changed. Rodden wrote:

I hate to change data, but the whole point of data integrity is publishing updated corrections. If I do not print (the incorrect) data in the first place, how could I ever reach the one person who might give us a corrected and accurate update? If I waited to be sure that every datum was precise before publication, half of it would not get into print. It has seemed slow at times, but gradually the world community is getting the idea that data without attribution is data that has no validity. If we cannot verify our data, we cannot verify our conclusions.

Over the years there have been many instances where the original birth-data — particularly the birth time — has been updated and corrected by a more reliable, authentic source. Here are just a few.

The original birth-data for US President Theodore Roosevelt came from him — October 27, 1858 at 11.45am LMT. The Church of Light used 10.58am LMT. Stefan Lorant in his book The Life and Times of Theodore Roosevelt gives 7.45pm — from eyewitness accounts at the birth. This documented evidence indicates that the chart for Roosevelt presented on page 2 of Course 1X — Mental Alchemy — is incorrect.

The original birth time for Franklin D. Roosevelt was 8.00am and back in 1932 this was the time that everyone was using. It came from 'his secretary at the time he first ran for President.' But in the book Gracious Lady Rita H. Kleeman quotes his father's diary for 8.45am — 'at a quarter to nine my Sallie had a splendid large baby boy'. The incorrect chart is presented on page 163 of Course X1V — Occultism Applied. (It's right next door to the incorrect chart of Joseph Stalin, whose chart notes state that the chart is rectified — but in the end he had seven speculative times!)

It can be noted that FDR's chart stirred up more controversy within the Church of Light membership than any other chart. Being the one and only three term President, astrologers wanted an extraordinary astrological explanation to explain his extraordinary political achievement, but the Sun in his chart — the accepted marker for political success — wasn't that prominent. In the end his success was attributed to the Sun forming an exact trine aspect with the MC, but this explanation fell over when his almost accurate (AA) birth time came to light.

During the 1940's there were many birth times for Winston Churchill. The 6.00am chart presented on page 194 of Course X1V — Occultism Applied — is sourced to 'a close relative'. But Jennie — a biography of Churchill's mother — by R.G. Martin and Churchill — a biography by Ted Morgan — state 1.30am from family records. Birth-data sourced from family records does make a chart eligible for astro-research — it has an AA rating — but if the time comes from a biography it has a (B) rating and Rodden gives this data a B rating, which excludes it from any astrological research projects.

Charles Lindberg's birth-data — February 4, 1902 at 2.30am LMT Detroit MI — was sourced to his 'birth record', but the birth time was not recorded on the birth certificate in Michigan until 1906. The source 'birth record' is misleading — what birth record? Lindberg, by A Scott, a 2002 biography, quotes notes by Lindberg's mother for a birth time of 1.30am LMT. This new data makes the chart presented on page 195 of Course X-1 — Delineating the Horoscope — incorrect.

The chart of writer Noel Coward is presented on page 2 of Course X1V — Occultism Applied. It's stated there that the 4.30am birth time given by his mother in Astrologer's Quarterly had been rectified by a few minutes to 4.24am. (The rectifying of a given birth time, using the prenatal epoch, was common practice from 1930 to 1950.) But the time given by his mother and the rectified birth time are both wrong. A reproduction of his birth time — 2.30am — recorded by his mother in his baby book appeared in Noel Coward and his Friends by Cole Lesley. It was common practice at the time to round off the birth time to the hour, half hour or quarter hour so the 2.30am time won't be exact. Noel Coward would have been born sometime between 2.23am and 2.37am.

And one last instance of a data update involves actress Greta Garbo. In the June 1938 edition of Student Astrologer Maria Major wrote: 'A chart for (Greta) Garbo was published several years ago with the date 1906. But astrologers in Hollywood who are close to screen people in their professional work, and who commonly are right about such matters, use a chart erected for September 18, 1905, 9.00pm Stockholm, Sweden. And as the date of her birth, as given on the passport she now uses, is 1905 the chart here illustrated is the one for that year just as the Hollywood astrologers use it.' But the chart fell off a cliff in 1987 when Roscoe Hope obtained Garbo's birth certificate. The birth year — 1905 — was right but the birth time 9.00pm was wrong. The birth certificate stated 7.30pm — and this time, no doubt, had been rounded off to the nearest quarter hour. The incorrect chart — 'Data from passport and personal acquaintance' — appears on page 163 of Course IV, Ancient Masonry.

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Copyright 2014, DW Sutton,

Next: Part 2, Importance of Data Rating

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