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County Checker Gets Confused with "Homograph" Places


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#1 leeirons

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Posted 22 January 2012 - 03:04 PM

Can't edit the title of this post. I guess a more proper term for what I mean is "hetero-toponyms." In other words, two different places that have the same spelling of name.

Example. In 1840, Ocean County, New Jersey did not exist. However, Ocean City, Monmouth County, New Jersey did exist. So when I type in Ocean, New Jersey, USA, intending it to be Ocean County, and I provide a date of 1840 (before Ocean County existed), County Checker assumes I mean Ocean, Monmouth, New Jersey, USA, and allows it. I confirmed this to be the case. When I use a leading comma and type ", Ocean, New Jersey, USA" in the Place field and "1840" in the date field, County Checker catches the error. But when I type "Ocean, New Jersey, USA" in the Place field and "1840" in the Date field, County Checker allows it.

I also noticed that if I enter ", Ocean, New Jersey, USA" to force the County Checker to assume that Ocean is a county, the County Checker corrects me by insisting that the leading comma be removed. This sets me up for again incorrectly using "Ocean, New Jersey, USA" with a date prior to its founding in another fact.

#2 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 22 January 2012 - 07:01 PM

Unspoken in these various discussions about County Check (or at least I think it's unspoken - I can't remember a reference) is that County Check and Gazetteer are both firmly grounded in so-called Standardized Place Names. Also (and I don't have access to New Family Search), I believe that New Family Search is firmly grounded in Standardized Place Names. ancestry.com seems to be firmly grounded in Standardized Place Names. And I suspect that most other genealogy software and sites and services are firmly grounded in Standardized Place Names. So it's no wonder that Bruce is firmly committed to Standardized Place Names.

I've never actually found a reference that defines the standard for Standardized Place Names. It would be much appreciated if someone knows a URL for the text of the standard. And I'm curious what the authority is that has established the standard.

Be all that as it may, it seems to me that the fundamental underlying problem with the standard as I've able to understand how it works is that the standard is just terrible. It really doesn't work. It needs to be thrown completely out, both baby and bath water, and a new standard needs to be developed that would actually work.

Jerry

#3 Laura

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Posted 22 January 2012 - 07:38 PM

Perhaps part of your answer on where Standardized Place names came from for the US at least is here.

http://proceedings.e...i-fed-uc_09.pdf

More on the US Board on Geographic Names
http://geography.abo...aphic-Names.htm

It is the BGN that maintains the US GNIS place name website.

I saw a link on Google that I didn't click on that was a similar board for Wales. Similar organizations for other countries are probably likely.

With RootsMagic, you have the choice of using the Standard Place name or entering your own choice.

For entering the modern place name, the Standard is fine although I usually add County into my county names. For historical places, I use the place name used at the time.

#4 Romer

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Posted 22 January 2012 - 08:22 PM

I'm somewhat with Laura on my practices. I've been with RM since RM1, so before these standards really began to be more widely used within the genealogical community. My practice developed years ago, then, has been to try to enter a four entity place name for United States localities:

Town/City/Etc, County (followed by the word "County"), State, United States

If I don't have one of the entities, I leave that component blank, but keep the three commas (, , Texas, United States) and spell everything out completely so as to try to avoid any ambiguity and possible misinterpretation for me or anyone looking at my data. I hope that County Checker will eventually be made compatible with my standards, but don't know how much can be done.

I also try my best to use the names of the entities that were in place at the time of the event, whether for the United States or other countries. I do have a relative reportedly born on the Atlantic Ocean, so had to be a little more creative with that one!

#5 leeirons

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Posted 22 January 2012 - 10:17 PM

The Master Genealogist solves the problem by giving each portion of the Place its own field. For U.S. places, it has fields for Addressee, Detail, City, County, State, Country, Postal, Phone, LatLong, Temple (for LDS). Thus, there is no confusion as to whether the name you are entering is a city name or a county name.

#6 Renee Zamora

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 11:31 AM

Confirming issue is noted in our tracking system.
Renee
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#7 APerson

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 11:09 PM

The Master Genealogist solves the problem by giving each portion of the Place its own field. For U.S. places, it has fields for Addressee, Detail, City, County, State, Country, Postal, Phone, LatLong, Temple (for LDS). Thus, there is no confusion as to whether the name you are entering is a city name or a county name.


That's a good solution - that should have been implemented by the first edition of GEDCOM. There was no thought put into places and that's caused much confusion ever since. Due to this, places could be listed as:

detail (specific address and/or place), city, county, state, country

city, county, state, country

county, state, country

county, state

state

country, state, city, county, detail

etc., etc., etc.

Of course, places also had to have some type of punctuation between each level to distinguish them from the others. That, of course, only makes things even messier with trying to import/export that data between programs.

Just think, the possibilities are endless! Ugh! Had this been dealt with in the beginning (and there was no reason why it shouldn't have been), life would be so much easier :) Also, think of the huge amount of time that would have saved by everyone who has used a genealogy program since then! (Note, PAF was first released with GEDCOM in 1986 - TWENTY SIX YEARS ago!) Now, each program has to figure out how to import/export that information and yet that really can't be done. The problems with place entry continues even now (just look at the topics on this board).

#8 Romer

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 12:13 AM

In TMG (or other programs that break out the location entities), how is the situation handled when a source gives a location, but it's not clear if that location refers to the city, county, etc?

#9 Kenzie

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 04:27 AM

I, too, would very much like the word "County" to appear after the county name in the place field and in the narrative sentence structure. The sentence structure for a narrative looks odd unless the word "County" appears after the county name in the sentence.

My default format has been: Effingham, Effingham County, IL

For example, Effingham, Effingham County, IL is less confusing and means more to me than Effingham, Effingham, Illinois, USA

I wouldn't care what the database records, as long as it sticks in the word "County" after the county name where I'm going to see it.


As for the problem of county name changes, I've usually just gone non-standard and written something like
Died: "Lincoln County, Kentucky (now Casey County, Kentucky)".

Additionally, I'd also like to have a way to express that the place an event occurred is uncertain. We have modifiers for dates (before, after, circa, between). I'd like to have an 'or' and a 'possibly' for places, such as
Born: "Kentucky or Illinois" and
Died: "Probably Effingham County, Illinois"

Sometimes I know where someone was buried, but am not really sure they died in that county, and I hate to leave the place blank. If I show possibilities or probabilities in the field, I will know that I've done research on the question and don't have to start from scratch when I pick up the research on it again.

#10 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 05:45 PM

As for the problem of county name changes, I've usually just gone non-standard and written something like
Died: "Lincoln County, Kentucky (now Casey County, Kentucky)".

Additionally, I'd also like to have a way to express that the place an event occurred is uncertain. We have modifiers for dates (before, after, circa, between). I'd like to have an 'or' and a 'possibly' for places, such as
Born: "Kentucky or Illinois" and
Died: "Probably Effingham County, Illinois"

Sometimes I know where someone was buried, but am not really sure they died in that county, and I hate to leave the place blank. If I show possibilities or probabilities in the field, I will know that I've done research on the question and don't have to start from scratch when I pick up the research on it again.

Strictly speaking, if you know when an event happens, you shouldn't have to say "Died: Lincoln County, Kentucky (now Casey County, Kentucky)". The convention is that you specify place names as of the date of the event. So for this one, you would just say "Died: Lincoln County, Kentucy". Period. However, I understand the desire to display the modern location - for example, so that one of your readers would know where to go to find a cemetery that's now in a different county than it used to be. In cases where this is important enough to me, I will put the "now Casey County, Kentucky" information as a part of the fact note. That provides the reader with needed information while keeping my places and place list clean.

It's a personal convention that I have to explain to people, but I use square brackets to denote uncertainty of places. For example, someone might have died in [Tennessee] rather than having died in Tennessee if I'm uncertain (or if there is no real proof). I'll also specify things like Born: [Sevier County], Tennessee if I'm certain they were born in Tennessee but I'm uncertain of the county, or Born: [Sevier County], [Tennessee] if I'm uncertain of both. There's nothing in RootsMagic that specifically supports the square bracket convention, but there is also nothing in RootsMagic that conflicts with the square bracket convention. For example, GPS encoding still seems to work ok, as does the place index in narrative reports. Depending on the exact situation, I may include information in the fact note to explain the nature of the uncertainty.

Finally, I do have a number of Born in: Kentucky or Illinois situations, and when I have those I simply enter them into the place field that way. However, I'm trying to move away from doing that way. Instead, if there is more evidence in favor of Kentucky than Illinois, I will say that the person was Born in: [Kentucky] and then explain in the birth note that there is also evidence for a birth in Illinois and why I considered Kentucky to be a little more likely than Illinois.

Jerry

#11 Laura

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 08:08 PM

I enter the place as it was on the date of the event and put the (now Casey County, Kentucky) if I feel it is needed in the notes also.

But, you could have the place as Lincoln County, Kentucky. And (now Casey County, Kentucky )as a place detail. Or, Evergreen Cemetery (now in Casey County, Kentucky) for a place detail. You would need to customize the fact sentence.

Or you could have Lincoln County, Kentucky (now Case County, Kentucky) entered as the Abbreviated place name and customize sentences to [place:short].

I have gotten away from putting anything in the place for situations where there is more than one possibility for the place like Kentucky or Illinois. I leave the place blank and discuss the possible places in the note.