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  #1  
Old 21 April 2017, 01:18 PM
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Default State Names Change

I was sure this had been discussed before, but a search did not turn up anything.

A number of my wife's ancestors were born and/or lived in West Virginia. Some of them before it was West Virginia, back when it was still Virginia. When recording an event which occurred in West Virginia prior to 1863, what is the best way to record the state, as West Virginia (which didn't exist at that point) or Virginia? Or, maybe a better way of asking the question is how to record the state with the most accuracy and the least confusion?

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  #2  
Old 21 April 2017, 05:31 PM
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Question Re: State Names Change

I have a similar issue with state changes and county changes. What is the best way to post county's when they have been subdivided more than once?
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Old 21 April 2017, 05:32 PM
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Default Re: State Names Change

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Originally Posted by Bill Guion View Post
A number of my wife's ancestors were born and/or lived in West Virginia. Some of them before it was West Virginia, back when it was still Virginia. When recording an event which occurred in West Virginia prior to 1863, what is the best way to record the state, as West Virginia (which didn't exist at that point) or Virginia? Or, maybe a better way of asking the question is how to record the state with the most accuracy and the least confusion?
I would enter it as Virginia (now West Virginia). Others may have a different suggestion.
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Old 22 April 2017, 09:19 AM
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Default Re: State Names Change

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Originally Posted by Sara View Post
I would enter it as Virginia (now West Virginia). Others may have a different suggestion.
I would enter it as Virginia

There is not, and never has been, a place called "Virginia (now West Virginia)".

Roger
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Old 22 April 2017, 01:16 PM
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Default Re: State Names Change

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sara View Post
[Bill Guion

A number of my wife's ancestors were born and/or lived in West Virginia. Some of them before it was West Virginia, back when it was still Virginia. When recording an event which occurred in West Virginia prior to 1863, what is the best way to record the state, as West Virginia (which didn't exist at that point) or Virginia? Or, maybe a better way of asking the question is how to record the state with the most accuracy and the least confusion?]

I would enter it as Virginia (now West Virginia). Others may have a different suggestion.
According to masters of the craft, you should always use the place name current to the timeframe involved. Thus, your example would be: for a location (now in West Virginia, and before it was a state) should be referenced as part of Virginia because that is where those state level records will be found.

Since much of my genealogy can be accurately traced for more than 500 years, I have MANY locations that no longer exist by their then known names. One such location is Salem, Massachusetts Bay Colony (ca 1690s.) Today, that location is Danvers, Massachusetts.

And to be truly accurate, you should make note of the date of statehood, or county boundary changes and work that information into the storyline.
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Old 25 April 2017, 10:00 PM
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Default Re: State Names Change

Quote:
Originally Posted by AE Palmer View Post
According to masters of the craft, you should always use the place name current to the timeframe involved. Thus, your example would be: for a location (now in West Virginia, and before it was a state) should be referenced as part of Virginia because that is where those state level records will be found.

Since much of my genealogy can be accurately traced for more than 500 years, I have MANY locations that no longer exist by their then known names. One such location is Salem, Massachusetts Bay Colony (ca 1690s.) Today, that location is Danvers, Massachusetts.

And to be truly accurate, you should make note of the date of statehood, or county boundary changes and work that information into the storyline.
Arnold,

Thank you. This is almost exactly the idea I had developed, but two problems prevented me from going this way.

Problem 1 you solved - how to express these facts. It is clearly easy to say "Clarksburg, Harrison, Virginia" in the data recording field, and then explain that in 1863 West Virginia was created from Virginia and Clarksburg is now in West Virginia in the comments area.

Problem 2 I suspect is personal - How do I find out what this town, county, ect., was known as in 1850? Was it Clarksburg, Harrison, Virginia, or was it in fact known by some other name? Another aspect of this is that some sources, especially on-line sources, use the current names, not the names in effect at that time.

Again, thanks for supporting my concept. I'll have to come to grips with the rest of this on my own. But, if someone knows of a source where I can find the names of cities and counties in the past, I'd appreciate knowing what that source is.

-----===== Bill =====-----
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Old 26 April 2017, 10:05 AM
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Default Re: State Names Change

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Guion View Post
.........How do I find out what this town, county, ect., was known as in 1850? Was it Clarksburg, Harrison, Virginia, or was it in fact known by some other name? Another aspect of this is that some sources, especially on-line sources, use the current names, not the names in effect at that time............
An awful lot of places have historical societies and local genealogy groups with websites that have such information. Many of these can be found by digging into Cyndi's List (http://www.cyndislist.com/us/) or just using Google. I have found that most Wikipedia articles about cities, villages, counties, etc., etc., have this information (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page). Another good starting point for searching is RootsWeb (http://home.rootsweb.ancestry.com). Happy hunting!
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Old 27 April 2017, 09:25 AM
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Default Re: State Names Change

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Guion View Post
Arnold,

Thank you. This is almost exactly the idea I had developed, but two problems prevented me from going this way.

// cut //

Problem 2 I suspect is personal - How do I find out what this town, county, ect., was known as in 1850? Was it Clarksburg, Harrison, Virginia, or was it in fact known by some other name? Another aspect of this is that some sources, especially on-line sources, use the current names, not the names in effect at that time.

// cut //

-----===== Bill =====-----
I have found that the Google Earth app is useful in solving border changes in that it has a historical border timeline feature. This timeline starts in the 1600s and ends in present time. As you move the timer, the borders change in accordance with governmental activity. In all, it is very handy in resolving those sometimes mysterious boundary changes one encounters.
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  #9  
Old 27 April 2017, 05:40 PM
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Default Re: State Names Change

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Guion View Post
Problem 2 I suspect is personal - How do I find out what this town, county, ect., was known as in 1850? Was it Clarksburg, Harrison, Virginia, or was it in fact known by some other name?
This is one of the goals of the FamilySearch Place Research Tool. It links various names for a single location together and identifies when the name changes occurred. Unfortunately, it's very much a work in progress. In the case of Clarksburg, it does show that Clarksburg, Harrison, Virginia is the same place as Clarksburg, Harrison, West Virginia, but it does not give the date of the change. It also sometimes shows connections only in one direction (for example, the record for Stettin, Prussia lists Szczecin, Poland as an alternate name, but the record for Szczecin does not list Stettin). I believe WeRelate.org was trying to crowd-source a similar place name database at some point, but I haven't checked in on that work in ages.
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  #10  
Old 28 April 2017, 07:50 PM
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Default Re: State Names Change

This site might be helpful: Google: ATLAS OF HISTORICAL COUNTY BOUNDARIES. This is thru the Newberry Library. Choose a state and then there are some choices for interactive maps. Hope this helps.
Kaye
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