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    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?
    Desiree Hendrickson

    #2
    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.

    Comment


      #3
      Re: Recording Place Names

      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.
      Arnold
      -----
      RESEARCHING: FRIESLAND (Holland); NEW BRUNSWICK (Canada); Maine, NYS & NJ (USA)

      Comment


        #4
        Re: Recording Place Names

        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).

        Comment


          #5
          Re: Recording Place Names

          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.
          Peter Cook
          Rossmoyne, Western Australia
          OSX 10.13.6 & iOS 12.1.2; Reunion 12.0 [190722] & ReunionTouch 1.0.8

          Comment


            #6
            Re: Recording Place Names

            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.
            Arnold
            -----
            RESEARCHING: FRIESLAND (Holland); NEW BRUNSWICK (Canada); Maine, NYS & NJ (USA)

            Comment


              #7
              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?
              Desiree Hendrickson

              Comment


                #8
                Re: Recording Place Names

                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.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Re: Recording Place Names

                  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.
                  Jan Powell
                  in Wellington, New Zealand
                  http://www.rellyseeker.nz/ourfamilytree
                  --
                  Apple/Mac since 1987, Reunion since 1993

                  Comment


                    #10
                    I try to keep my number of places down. But it always has looked strange to me to have an 1800's place name with a zip code, for example. So I have decided to enter the place name for the time of the record in question. Much of my genealogy is in FRance, where villages get grouped together for administrative purposes, or even destroyed, as in WWI. So I have my grand grandmother's village as Beine in the entries that are contemporary to her life. If something happened there more recently, I would enter Beine-Nauroy as it is known now.
                    In the case of churches, hospitals etc, I enter the name of the town in the place field, and the church or hospital in the memo next to it. Same thing for cemeteries.

                    Comment

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