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Entering County Names

Counties Data model

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#21 Vyger

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Posted 13 November 2015 - 12:24 PM

Discussions like this have come and gone over the years, the problem remains that there are just too many standards :lol:


Customers should never be frustrated by things they cannot do.

 

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#22 Laura

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Posted 13 November 2015 - 03:46 PM

Well, it will never change as long as people have free will.

Even if there was a central agency that says " this is the standard for places", no one would have to follow it.

FamilySearch Family Tree, Ancestry, Geni, etc.  might or might not change their place standards for their sites to match.  But, that would be a lot of money spent  in new coding.

Individuals aren't going to use it if they don't agree with it.  I am in that group.  Who is going to send the standard place police to my house to make me conform?

 

If I put my database online at one of the online sites, I have obligated myself to use that site's standards.  If I sent an individual a gedcom of my database and they don't like my places, they are free to change them to match the standard they are using.

And, then, there will be those that don't even know that central agency has said " this is the standard for places".
 



#23 Vyger

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Posted 13 November 2015 - 06:37 PM

Well, it will never change as long as people have free will.

Even if there was a central agency that says " this is the standard for places", no one would have to follow it.

FamilySearch Family Tree, Ancestry, Geni, etc.  might or might not change their place standards for their sites to match.  But, that would be a lot of money spent  in new coding.

Individuals aren't going to use it if they don't agree with it.  I am in that group.  Who is going to send the standard place police to my house to make me conform?

 

If I put my database online at one of the online sites, I have obligated myself to use that site's standards.  If I sent an individual a gedcom of my database and they don't like my places, they are free to change them to match the standard they are using.

And, then, there will be those that don't even know that central agency has said " this is the standard for places".
 

 

My point exactly...


Customers should never be frustrated by things they cannot do.

 

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#24 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 15 November 2015 - 08:36 AM

Now that I'm using RM and it wants to remove the county designation and add country, I felt a need to "get with the program" and become a "true blue" RM user and change my data. 

 

I'm responding to your observation about RM that "it wants to remove the county designation and add country". In defense of RM, it might be said that it's totally flexible. You can simply turn County Check off and then it no longer tries to influence your data entry choices for place names at all.

 

I don't buy that argument. For nearly 50 years in the IT industry, I have been frustrated with software defaults. So my frustration with the way software defaults are set pre-dates my use of RM or any other genealogy software by many decades. I think that the way program defaults are set for a lot of software does not serve the needs of the user very well. Rather, the way software defaults are set often serves the interests of the software vendor in some way, or else reflects certain biases on the part of software developers on how their software should be used.

 

Examples of the software defaults that serve the software vendors are legion. Any time you install a web browser, it tries to make itself the default web browser. Any time you install software that can play music, it tries to make itself the default program for playing music. Anytime you install software that can display images, it tries to make itself the default program for displaying images. Etc. These kinds of default settings can be huge issues for software vendors, and sometimes they spend millions of dollars going to court about such issues. I get equally frustrated by such things as the default settings for Windows Update where Windows will try to update itself to a new version right before I'm planning to use my PC for a major presentation.  These kinds of things are just crazy on the part of the vendors. I don't think that RM engages in this particular kind of bad vendor behavior with any of its default settings.

 

But I do think that the fact that County Check is enabled by default reflects a certain bias on the part of the developers about how RM users should enter Place Names. As witness to this bias, you tried to be a good user and "get with the program", even if "getting with the program" might not be in your best interest. The fact is that most users most of the time simply use default settings for software. Hence, the default settings have a huge impact on user behavior.  And the default of opt-in vs. opt-out is huge throughout life, not just for software settings. An example that's popular at the present is whether your workplace's default for your participation in a 401(k) program is in so that you have to opt-out if you don't want to participate or out so that you have to opt-in to participate. And reasonable people can disagree about what the default should be in such situations.

 

In the case of RM's County Check feature, I think that the default should be off and that users should have to opt-in to use it. That is, I think that the use of Standard Place Names is not a good thing for most RM users, simply because the version of Standard Place Names supported by RM is such an unsatisfactory standard. Any users that affirmatively choose to use RM's support for Standard Place Names could opt-in if the default were off. But the unwary wouldn't be bitten by being encouraged to use a Place Name Standard that is very questionable at best if the default were off.

 

Jerry



#25 Laura

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Posted 15 November 2015 - 09:25 AM

Om.the Edit place screen, there is the box for entering the Place name of the user's choice which is the default. To the right of that box is a button, Use standardized place. That gives the user the choice to use the Stsndarized place in the Place name box. That is the option on/off for places.

How many times do we explain how to turn CountyCheck off? If a user doesn't edplore enough to find that it can be turned off, are they going to explore enough to see the CountyCheck feature is in RM and turn it on? I can see why RM has CountyCheck and some other features enabled by default.

RM's Standarized places are the same as many other companies' standardized places. The databases for Gazetteer and CountyCheck uses those standards. And, the standarized places were also requested by RM users.

Fortunately, we aren't forced to use those standards in RM.

ChountyCheck gives the choice to change to the standad place, it does not automatically force us to change our place names.

It is user's choice, and RM should support the user's choice if they decide to to use standardized places even if it is a choice you or I will not make.

RM can't do much about users's that don't make an informed choice.

#26 TomH

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Posted 15 November 2015 - 10:39 AM

I agree with Laura and understand the motivation of the software developer to have some new feature he has worked hard on to be enabled by default. Else the naive upgrader will be asking, "What's different? Why did I bother/pay to upgrade?". Power users who may be less than enchanted will readily find how to disable it.

 

Place name structures and database structures are related. The problem is that there are so many place name structures that there is possibly no database structure that can accommodate them all.

 

RootsMagic chose to have no structure for place name storage, or, what might be called a free-form structure; i.e., there is only one field for the place name - you can fill it with whatever you want. It recognises the comma as a level delimiter or parser for use in indexing and that's all. And it gives you another field for an abbreviation of the place name and one for a "standardized" version of the place name, both of which you are free to enter whatever you want with comma delimiters. So you can use any one standard format (self-discipline required) to every "standard" format or no standard at all (in both of the latter cases, the index will be a hodgepodge and essentially useless). 

 

OTOH, TMG applied structure to place name storage having several fields to store the individual parts of a place name. In order to cover a wide set of different standards, it allowed the user to pick something other than the user-selected default format on entering a place name. The format selected defined the label for each of the fields. Thus one format might be US Standard Style with labels City, County, State, Country and another could be Louisiana Style with labels City, Parish, State, Country. County and Parish would be stored in the same field in the database structure. From TMG Help:

 

Suppose, for example, that you want to use the label Parish for the County field whenever the data is from the State of Louisiana, which has parishes instead of counties. You could add a style called Louisiana with the Parish label already selected in the style. When entering data for Louisiana, you would use the Louisiana style.

Each style not only controls the data entry labels but also the output format. You could choose to enter "County" as part of the County name or have the output template append "County" to the stored name. Provided the user respects the entry labels, then a Place Index will be inherently well structured.

 

Of course, GEDCOM is the great leveller - back to the one Tag (field) with comma separators between the levels and TMG offered the option of outputting commas regardless if a field was empty or not. So if all you had was the country name, the output would be, e.g., ",,,Canada" so that an importing software which also supported separate fields could place each part in the proper level.

 

Different strategies, database structures, ease of use, complexities, pitfalls. Would a variation on the RootsMagic Source Template style system be a better solution for Place Names?


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#27 Laura

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Posted 15 November 2015 - 02:16 PM

If it involves me having to put the cemetery in one box and the city in another box, and the township another box, and the county in another box, and the state in another box, and the country in another box and there is not enough boxes for a more complicated place name, my vote is no.  I have been there and done that in Family Origins and will not do it again.

And, why complicate something that is so simple?  Type in the Place name in the format you want in the Place box.
 



#28 Nettie

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Posted 16 November 2015 - 01:27 PM

Be aware that St. Cloud, MN is in three [3] counties.  If east of the Mississippi River it is Benton or Sherburne County [dividing line is about 4 blocks south of highway 23],  West of the Mississippi is Stearns County and the county seat of Stearns.   I use  in my Place list, city/township, County using Co., state & country. Do not use United States , but if another county then it is added.  I also use Place Details.  

 

I am not doing gedcoms unless I really have to. 


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#29 CherylCh

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Posted 18 November 2015 - 04:21 PM

I do a lot of Virginia research, and the Independent Cities still give me grief.  I appreciate RM's flexibility in letting me enter these however I want.  I really don't appreciate Ancestry's looney tunes approach, where the search engine treats "Independent City" as a county, and all of the actual independent cities as being in that county.  So if you search for someone in the Independent City of Bedford, and expand the search to include "adjacent counties", your results will include people in Fairfax City, Norfolk, and Roanoke but not people in Bedford County, which actually is adjacent to the City of Bedford.

 

I know my data entry isn't consistent, but that's partly because I prefer some variation in the resulting sentences.  Endless repetition of "is buried at X Cemetery, Winder, Barrow County, Georgia" bothers me in narratives.  I'd rather have at least some entries leave out the county in these situations.



#30 Laura

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Posted 18 November 2015 - 05:53 PM

You can enter an Abbreciated place name for a Place.

To use that abbreviated place name in a sentence use [Place:Short] in the sentence template.

My hometown Place name is City, [County] County, State.

The abbreviated place is entered as just the City.

My parents married in my hometown and lived there the rest of their lives.

The Place name for their marriage is the full place name, [Place].

I customized the fact sentences for facts after the marriage fact that uses that place to print the abbreviated place, [Place:Short] so it only prints the City.



#31 CherylCh

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Posted 19 November 2015 - 10:31 AM

Thanks, Laura.  I didn't know that functionality existed.  I'm still learning, but the more I learn about RM, the better I like it.  



#32 ShirlMcNeely

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Posted 20 June 2017 - 10:21 AM

I hope I am putting this in the right place. This has been bothering me for some time now.

 

When I enter the city, county, state Roots Magic asks if I want to chance to city, just the name of the county but not the word county in the question so I usually just put keep the original.

 

Why does it keep wanting to drop the word county in the name?

 

Thank you for your time in this matter that bugs me.   :)



#33 TomH

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Posted 20 June 2017 - 01:02 PM

That's the way the County Check database was created. "County" is implied because the entire database is just counties. It knows nothing about Cities. Lots of people frustrated by the omission of "County".


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#34 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 20 June 2017 - 07:30 PM

And beyond Tom's answer, County Check was created the way it was because the Place Name Standard does not include the word "County". RM is attempting to follow the standard.

 

Jerry



#35 kbens0n

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Posted 21 June 2017 - 10:01 AM

Many online genealogy services such as Ancestry, FamilySearch, etc. also utilize the short form convention (without the word "County") whenever full place names come into play for search blocks or browser screen displays to maximize what fits for presentation.

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#36 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 21 June 2017 - 10:44 AM

I should also mention that many genealogists support the use of the place name standard whereas many other genealogist criticize the place name standard and prefer not to use it. RM users can leave the County Check feature turned on or they can turn it off. The County Check feature is based on the place name standard.

 

Even if they leave County Check turned on, RM users can choose to make note of the recommendations made by County Check and then override the recommendation, for example by including the word County even though the word County is not included in the County Check recommendation. Besides the inclusion or exclusion of the word County, there are other aspects of the place name standard that are in dispute among many genealogists, such as the inclusion or exclusion of the country name when the country name is clear from context, and such as how the name or abbreviation of the country name is spelled. Another issue is modern vs. historical names for places and the resultant geo-coding of places.

 

Another option for RM users is to turn County Check off and nevertheless to seek guidance about place names from RM's Gazetteer feature. Like County Check, the Gazetteer feature is based on the place name standard but Gazetteer is not as intrusive in making suggestions as is County Check. Which is to say, County Check can pester you to death if you are not following its recommendations exactly, but Gazetteer only makes recommendations when you ask for them. And just as with County Check, you can choose to make note of Gazetteer's recommendations and still override those recommendations to meet your needs.

 

Jerry



#37 Don Newcomb

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Posted 24 June 2017 - 06:01 AM

I use the form "Houston, Harris, Texas" for cities and towns but "Harris Co., Texas" for facts where only the county is known. RootsMagic doesn't like this but that's too bad.







Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Counties, Data model