Being a non US user I accept I am probably not understanding this in as much detail as others ........
I think it's a shame that the Rootsmagicians attempt to improve the quality of data has come under such fire and also believe if County Checker works on the Standardized Place Entry this problem could be overcome (maybe I am missing something)
I agree that it's unfortunate that County Check has come under so much fire, even though I'm one of the sources of that fire.
I think your excellent comments certainly deserve some additional discussion. Much of these questions have been asked and answered before (and by many others, not just by me), but I thought I would make an attempt at consolidating some of the ideas. So, ....If users are so upset with County Check, why don't they just turn it off and quit complaining?
I can only speak for myself, but I really like the concept of County Check and I really do want my place names checked. The problem is that to make County Check quit alerting about my valid place names, I would have to adopt Standardized Place Names as the way place names are stored in my database. And having accepted Standardized Place Names as the way place names are stored in my database, I would have to accept Standardized Place Names as the way place names are printed in reports. I cannot abide the way reports appear if all the place names are Standardized Place Names. So I do turn off County Check, and therefore I lose out on all of its benefits.Standardized Place Names do not include the words "County" or "Parish". Why are users who are so upset about County Check so insistent on including the words "County" and "Parish" in their place names.
Again, I can only speak for myself. It seems to me that there are actually several different reasons.
Standardized Place Names do include the words "United States" for place names in the United States. Why are users who are so upset about County Check so insistent on omitting the words "United States" in their United States place names.
- The most commonly cited reason and the reason based most on logic is that without the word "County" or "Parish", many place names are ambiguous. Many counties have the same names as other political subdivisions in the same state - the city of Los Angeles in California and Los Angeles County, California, for example. The city of Los Angeles is in Los Angeles County, but there are other cities in Los Angeles County. And there are many cases where the same named political subdivision is not even in the same county that is its namesake. The forum archives are full of such examples.
- There is another much less commonly cited reason that is based less on logic than reason #1 and which I suspect comes closer to being the "real" reason people want to keep the words "County" or "Parish" in their place names. Namely, including the words County or Parish is the way place names are used by normal people every day in common usage. For example, I live in Knox County, Tennessee. Nobody speaks of the "Knox Schools" or the "Knox Courthouse". Everybody speaks of the "Knox County schools" or the "Knox County Courthouse". I live very near the Anderson County line. If somebody asks me which county I lived in, I would almost never say that I live in "Knox". I would say that I live in "Knox County". So it is very jarring to see in a family history report created by RM that a couple was married in "Knox, Tennessee" rather than in "Knox County, Tennessee". Nobody says "Knox, Tennessee" in the real world, and family history reports that are manually created (with typewriters in the old days, with word processors these days) are not written that way.
- Some implementations of Standardized Place Names get into what I call "counting commas". RM doesn't really go quite that far, but I certainly cannot abide a family history report saying that somebody was born in ",, Tennessee, United States" or that they were married in ", Knox, Tennessee, United States". The business of the extra commas comes into place when an implementation of Standardized Place Names becomes so rigid as to insist on providing a place for every possible political subdivision, including those that are unknown or are otherwise omitted. Such rigid implentations of Standardized Place Names would, for example, write the city of Oliver Springs, Tennessee as "Oliver Springs,, Tennessee, United States" if the county were not known, and as "Oliver Springs, Anderson, Tennessee, United States" or "Oliver Springs, Roane, Tennessee, United States" or "Oliver Springs, Morgan, Tennessee, United States" if the county was known (Oliver Springs straddles three counties). And then the counties alone if the city were not known would be ", Anderson, Tennessee, United States" or ", Roane, Tennessee, United States" or ", Morgan, Tennessee, United States". As I said already, I simply cannot abide such names in reports. I think that "Oliver Springs, Tennessee" is just fine if the county is not known, and that "Oliver Springs, Anderson County, Tennessee" is just fine if the county is known. And I think that "Anderson County, Tennessee" is just fine if further political subdivision is not known or is not applicable. Indeed, sometimes there is not a further applicable politial subdivision and writing ", Anderson County, Tennesee" is like the sound of fingernails on an old fashioned chalk board.
Again, I can only speak for myself. It seems to me that the basic reason is the same as reason #2 above for including the words "County" and "Parish". Namely, Americans in everyday speech typically do not say that they were born in "Tennessee, United States" or that they were married in "Knox County, Tennessee, United States". They would typically just say that they were born "in Tennessee", and as long as the state was clear from context they would typically just say that they were married "in Knox County" - (and certainly not "in Knox"
). And in addition, including the words "United States" for place names in reports quickly makes the reports read in a fashion that is extremely redundant and ponderous sounding.
I will grant that including the words "United States" does not introduce any ambiguity into a place name as does omitting "County"or "Parish", quite the contrary. It might sometimes be necessary to include the words "United States" to distinguish the state of Georgia in the United States from the country of Georgia in Eurasia. But normally a state name is sufficient to disambiguate a place name, even for folks who are not from the United States. It was certainly my experience living and traveling in Europe that everybody understood American state names. People would ask me where I was from, I would say "Tennessee", and they would know exactly what that meant. In fact, they usually had already figured out that I was an American from my accent and from my clothing and from my body language, so when they were asking me where I was from they really were asking me "which state?". (Well, folks in Europe typically knew "exactly" that Tennessee was an American state. But they often didn't know "exactly" where it was beyind the fact that it is "somewhere in the middle".)
So what's the solution? Well, even if you don't use Standardized Place Names it is already the case that RM is storing Standardized Place Names for you along side your preferred place names. I think Vyger has it right on with his suggestion that County Check might check against the Standardized Place Name rather than against your preferred place name, and that an alert might be raised only if County Check detects a problem with the Standardized form of your place name instead of complaining about the preferred form of your place names. Or maybe there could be three options instead of two - check, don't check, and check only against the standardized form without alerting on the user's preferred form.