View Full Version : British counties

17 November 2007, 02:50 PM
Does anyone have an opinion on the issue of how to refer to places in the UK and their respective counties, whether to use their original (historical) designation or whether to use the county they belong to now.

My conservative instinct and respect for original records tells me to use the historical counties, but my forward-looking common sense says I need to know where these places are nowadays.

(The issue of Yorkshire ridings is even more complicated - a lot of places have had their riding 'shifted': I'm thinking of referring to places in West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire and the East Riding of Yorkshire as just Yorkshire...)

17 November 2007, 05:17 PM
I "try" to keep places listed as it was known at the time the event took place.

I guess the most obvious example of this for anyone with US research is the situation with places in what is now West Virginia, before 1863.

Stating that something took place in Kanawha Co., West Virginia, USA in 1840 just isn't right.

Now if Reunion would allow notes (and other data like latitude and longitude, and even multimedia) to be linked to places, then you could explain in the notes why you'd need to go to the courthouse in Kanawha Co., West Virginia to find the document, but that the event happened in Kanawha Co., Virginia.

I do similar for my place names in Scotland - if the events took place before 1921, then they occurred in Haddingtonshire, or Edinburghshire or Linlithgowshire, rather than the names they got given in 1921 of East Lothian, Midlothian and West Lothian.


Jan Powell
18 November 2007, 09:51 AM
I use the county as in the original source document. I have ancestors in Kendal which is now in Cumbria, ENG, but when I am entering information, eg from the census, I use Kendal, Westmoreland, ENG which is what it was at the time. When you look back in time, countries, counties and boundaries have been fluid. I think it is important to reflect the information as it was at the time and not confuse the issue with the current situation, which may change again in the future.

04 September 2008, 01:17 AM
Know what you mean it can get confusing. i also record the data as it is given in the historical document. I might consider making a note (dated) about the new status in notes.

For example I have ancestors in Liverpool - now Merseyside but WAS Lancashire, I have recorded them as Liverpool, Lancashire, England.

However - London is more difficult - what is called London could be in a number of counties - not crossed that bridge yet - but again where it has happened i try to record information as stated on document.