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Tip of the Month - Handling Incomplete Places


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#1 Renee Zamora

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Posted 07 April 2014 - 09:35 AM


Tip of the Month - Handling Incomplete Places


Have you ever entered an event in RootsMagic where you didn't know the place, but didn't want to just leave it blank? Maybe you only know the place detail (like the name of a cemetery), but don't know the location of that cemetery.

Try adding a place to your database called "a place unknown" or "in an unknown place", and you can then use the event description and/or place details to make sentences read well without customizing.

For example, say you have a document stating that an ancestor died in 1864 during the Civil War, and was buried in "Green Cemetery". You could then use "a place unknown" along with the description field and place detail as below when entering the death and burial facts.

Event: Death
Date: 1864
Place: an unknown place
Description: during the Civil War

Event: Burial
Date: 1864
Place: an unknown place
Place Detail: Green Cemetery

The default sentences then read "Tom Green died during the Civil War in 1864 in an unknown place. He was buried in 1864 in Green Cemetery in an unknown place."

You can use a phrase like this any time you are missing the place for an event, or you can use it more judiciously in events where you want to make it clear you don't actually know the place yet (like in the burial example above).

Renee
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#2 John_of_Ross_County

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 02:57 PM

Out of town obituaries are bad about this. They may say the burial is in XYZ Cemetery without the context of where it is, although local residents may know exactly where it is.

I did a RootsMagic "Search Everywhere" for "Pleasant Hill Cemetery" and found this cemetery name in three different locations.

So Renee's suggestion would work fine with the caution that Green Cemetery in an unknown place may not be unique. It would be confusing to have:

Place: an unknown place
with
Place Detail: Green Cemetery
Place Detail: Green Cemetery
Place Detail: Green Cemetery

where the three cemeteries are three different distinct locations.

#3 c24m48

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 06:56 PM

Out of town obituaries are bad about this. They may say the burial is in XYZ Cemetery without the context of where it is, although local residents may know exactly where it is.


There are tricks that can sometimes tease out the context of where XYZ Cemetery is located. If you know the location of the newspaper where the obituary appears, you might find the cemetery with the USGS database. Our you might Google the name of the cemetery and the location of the newspaper. Or you may search for the burial at findagrave (or equivalent). Etc. These tricks are not perfect, but often they work.

Jerry

#4 Vyger

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Posted 11 April 2014 - 01:38 AM

Within my database "a place unknown" is widely used as a PLACE as I tend never to leave the Place field blank. I could go to extremes and enter Ireland or USA which I do but there are a lot of cases where I genuinely don't know for sure even the country.

In the case cited above what about the following qualifiers until resolved:

Place Detail: Green Cemetery (IL?)
Place Detail: Green Cemetery (PA?)
Place Detail: Green Cemetery (Ireland?)

This would have the extra benefit of being able to run a report of Any Fact - Place Detail - Contains "?" for future resolution.

Most users should know my desire for a complete makeover of the Place Management UI and I do hope the Rootsmagician builds in some more intuitive programming to resolve incomplete Places and Place Details and combines all the Mapping and Place Tools in one UI.

Edit: Also in such cases I would use the Place Details Notes field to record where I had checked in my attempts to resolve the place details and any hunches feelings about where the Place Details might be. This is especially useful if the Place or Place Details remains unresolved for a long time and can be replaced with a new Note describing the location when it eventually is resolved.

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