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  #1  
Old 19 June 2018, 12:33 PM
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Default Recording Place Names

Generally I have been entering place names as they have been recorded, but wondering if thats really the best way since there are so many variations of a single place.

Take for example: my ancestor was born in Chelsea, Middlesex, England. The census is Chelsea, London, England, and yet another record is Chelsea, London, Middlesex, England.

Am I approaching this the right way or should I follow some sort of naming convention to keep things consistent?
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  #2  
Old 19 June 2018, 02:31 PM
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Default Re: Recording Place Names

I think this is very much one of those each to their own type of questions.

I have noticed that the same church, in the same place, can be recorded by a number of different names at various times -
St Andrews Church, Westland Row, Dublin, Ireland
St Andrews Church, Dublin City
St Andrew's, Dublin City, Dublin
St Andrews, Westland Row, Dublin City

The most correct of these, in this case, is St Andrews Church, Westland Row, Dublin, Ireland.
What I've done is, in the Source Notes, entered the name as it is on the relevant document, but in the PlaceName field, entered it in full. This means that I can see everyone who used that church easily, in a list, without missing them. I also have the recorded name and I can search for that too.

Others will argue that using the name place record is more correct - I think both have merits, but you should do what works best for you.

Best of luck.
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Old 19 June 2018, 06:52 PM
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Default Re: Recording Place Names

Quote:
Originally Posted by eventide View Post
Generally I have been entering place names as they have been recorded, but wondering if thats really the best way since there are so many variations of a single place.

Take for example: my ancestor was born in Chelsea, Middlesex, England. The census is Chelsea, London, England, and yet another record is Chelsea, London, Middlesex, England.

Am I approaching this the right way or should I follow some sort of naming convention to keep things consistent?
My take would be to use the most accurate location definition. And then create a location table that records all of the variants. That way, anyone connected with the location can be searched and FOUND! You are suffering from what is known as lack of data normalization. REMEMBER, in the world of illiterates, spelling does not count!!!! Or in this case, variant naming does not count.
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Old 20 June 2018, 06:35 AM
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Default Re: Recording Place Names

Quote:
Originally Posted by AE Palmer View Post
My take would be to use the most accurate location definition. And then create a location table that records all of the variants. That way, anyone connected with the location can be searched and FOUND! You are suffering from what is known as lack of data normalization. REMEMBER, in the world of illiterates, spelling does not count!!!! Or in this case, variant naming does not count.
IMHO a degree of flexibility is needed.

A lot of my family comes from in and around Sheffield and at one time I had entries for Sheffield, Sheffield Yorkshire England, Sheffield England and Sheffield Yorkshire. I used the merge facility in the Places list to change all to Sheffield, Yorkshire, England. This is just an example; I’ve done the same for a lot of other places and continue to do so as I find other multiple references.

Now when Sheffield coms up I choose Sheffield, Yorkshire, England from the type ahead drop down menu to retain consistency.

But a problem arises when place names actually change. Sheffield acquired a cathedral in the 1800s, so some of my baptisms are at Sheffield parish church, some at Sheffield cathedral. I try to get the correct reference according to the date (which is more than many online sources do - they tend to plump for the cathedral irrespective of the date).
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Old 20 June 2018, 10:42 PM
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Default Re: Recording Place Names

Quote:
Originally Posted by eventide View Post
Take for example: my ancestor was born in Chelsea, Middlesex, England. The census is Chelsea, London, England, and yet another record is Chelsea, London, Middlesex, England.
I agree with John Hill that some flexibility is required. The reason for the variations in the specific places Desiree listed, is that a major part of Middlesex moved into what is now Greater London in 1889.

Therefore for this specific case, I use Chelsea, Middlesex, England for any pre 1889 event, and Chelsea, London, England for events in or after 1889. Usually I know whether I'm searching before or after 1889, so can use an appropriate search for places in the area covered by this change.
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  #6  
Old 21 June 2018, 07:44 AM
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Default Re: Recording Place Names

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Hill View Post
IMHO a degree of flexibility is needed.

A lot of my family comes from in and around Sheffield and at one time I had entries for Sheffield, Sheffield Yorkshire England, Sheffield England and Sheffield Yorkshire. I used the merge facility in the Places list to change all to Sheffield, Yorkshire, England. This is just an example; I’ve done the same for a lot of other places and continue to do so as I find other multiple references.

Now when Sheffield comes up I choose Sheffield, Yorkshire, England from the type ahead drop down menu to retain consistency.

But a problem arises when place names actually change. Sheffield acquired a cathedral in the 1800s, so some of my baptisms are at Sheffield parish church, some at Sheffield cathedral. I try to get the correct reference according to the date (which is more than many online sources do - they tend to plump for the cathedral irrespective of the date).
Ah. I, too, have run across this problem. The answer is, of course, to have two different place locations: one for the cathedral and one for the parish church. As long as the base location is normalized (in your case: Sheffield, Yorkshire, England) any searches will be accurate and complete.

The problem occurs when we humans introduce variations in place names thusly:
• Hiawatha Trail, Liverpool, Onondaga County, New York, USA
• Hiawatha Trl, Liverpool, Onondaga County, New York, USA
• Hiawatha Trail, Liverpool, Onondaga Co., New York, USA
• Hiawatha Trail, Liverpool, Onondaga Co, New York, USA
• Hiawatha Trail, Liverpool, Onon. Co., New York, USA
• Hiawatha Trail, Liverpool, Onondaga County, N.Y., USA
• Hiawatha Trail, Liverpool, Onondaga County, NY, USA
• Hiawatha Trl, L’pool, Onon Co, NY
Our brains are trained to recognize these entries as being the same place. Our computers are not so forgiving. They recognize each entry as discrete and different. In such cases, searches in Reunion return incomplete lists – sometimes missing critically important data points.
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  #7  
Old 21 June 2018, 11:47 AM
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Default Re: Recording Place Names

Thanks everyone. I think its going to take me a while to think about what to do - Most likely I will find some sort of standardization but I hadn't been considering that places like Chelsea may not always been part of the Greater London Area. Which makes me wonder when I see it listed sometimes as Chelsea, England...and was it always part of Middlesex? Looks like I need to study up on London!

Does anyone have any resources out there that I can use for reference on places in the Greater London Area and how its changed over time?
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  #8  
Old 21 June 2018, 01:03 PM
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Default Re: Recording Place Names

Quote:
Originally Posted by eventide View Post

Does anyone have any resources out there that I can use for reference on places in the Greater London Area and how its changed over time?
When I normalized my places list of Quebec Province a couple of years ago, Wikipedia was my friend. There was, almost always, a page for the old names that I had recorded from the old records. The page for a particular location usually had some sort of description about changes that have occurred (often times in 2002 when they completely changed names, borders, etc.). So I not only normalized variants, I modernized them as well so that a modern person would have a chance of finding the old location. I tried to retain the old names in a notes field also.
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  #9  
Old 22 June 2018, 12:08 AM
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Default Re: Recording Place Names

Quote:
Originally Posted by eventide View Post

Does anyone have any resources out there that I can use for reference on places in the Greater London Area and how its changed over time?
You might like to try GENUKI. It has a wealth of useful information.
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