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Standardising Place Names


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#21 Robert Fletcher

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Posted 14 March 2016 - 09:04 AM

Thanks Jerry I see it all now. It only reads the Place Details for the record I want. Big learning curve from FTM



#22 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 14 March 2016 - 09:06 AM

You can but you need to Save the fact having chosen the Place before proceeding to select or add the Place Detail. Just a little procedural gotcha..

 

I don't understand the question or the answer. Sorry for being so dense on this one. But if I add a new fact and select an existing place, I can enter a place detail that does not yet exist for that place prior to doing a Save for the fact and all is well. So I must be missing something.

 

Jerry



#23 KFN

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Posted 14 March 2016 - 10:03 AM

While I agree in essence with Jerry, place is bigger than his concept. Remember that place is a point on a map not a name. Therefore the place structure should start with longitude latitude coordinates then describe the place by name in multiple languages and with the open endedness that allows the place to live in multiple countries, states, counties etc. over time. In many cases a place can have multiple names at the same time. For example the German population may call their town one thing and the local population call it another. Different religious groups may have different names for the same city, building, cemetery or other location all at the same time or at different times.

EDIT: Actually coordinates are not enough, a polygon or set of coordinates is far better.

#24 Vyger

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Posted 14 March 2016 - 02:18 PM

While I agree in essence with Jerry, place is bigger than his concept. Remember that place is a point on a map not a name. Therefore the place structure should start with longitude latitude coordinates then describe the place by name in multiple languages and with the open endedness that allows the place to live in multiple countries, states, counties etc. over time. In many cases a place can have multiple names at the same time. For example the German population may call their town one thing and the local population call it another. Different religious groups may have different names for the same city, building, cemetery or other location all at the same time or at different times.

EDIT: Actually coordinates are not enough, a polygon or set of coordinates is far better.

 

I agree completely with this post, there will always be contentious naming preferences, those who leave out United States, those who prefer USA, County, Township of not County Township. None of those preferences or differences changes where the point on the planet actually is, so if Rootsmagic can do anything to help it is in helping users accurately geocode their Places and Place Details.

 

I use my naming convention to aid searching for Place > Contains, probably a lot of users do. If the Rootsmagic Print Events Near a Place was improved to Print Events Near a Co-ordinate and was available as a tool to build Named Groups then I would be very happy to name my places as a simple 4, 3, 2 component structure for Standardized, Place and Abbrev so there is my first wish (well my second after better geocoding functionality)

 

When I present a report and people read the Place Details like The Lake Farm or ZaZa Market the same question always comes back "Where was that?". The geocordinates don't really help answer that question but the Place Details Notes do in the form "on the Antrim bank of the River Bann just where the river turns west before Portglenone" or "on the site of the new Aviva Stadium" the problem is these valuable Place Detail Notes are not reported out so only available to the desktop user after drilling down into Place Details. If a question gets asked repeatedly then there is something missing and that is another wish for option to the Place Details Notes of those Place Details used in the report is an appendix style at the end of the report.

 

I would say the individual Place Details geocoding is the specific place on earth and anything short of that is incomplete, and possibly may remain so. If I say he lived in Chicago that means very little in a city which now sprawls over 5.5k sq/Km so the Place Detail is the king. My Place Details list for Belfast containing Churches, Cemeteries, street addresses and the like is presently just over 1700, and I don't want over 1700 entries for Belfast in my Place List so the subdivision of the Place Detail is a winner for me. Belfast is a relatively small City but in my research the significance of those family ties in those on the east and west of the City are very revealing, the ability to narrow that further like All Events > Within 1 mile > of Co-ordinates would be even more revealing of the communities of a time.

 

Rootsmagic does export the geocoding for Places and Place Details, I know Legacy imports it but FTM seems to ignore it. I believe there should be an option to prefix the Place with each Place Details as used and use the geocoding of the relevant Place Detail in each instance to improve compatibility across the community.


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#25 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 14 March 2016 - 04:02 PM

I certainly agree that GPS coordinates are the best source of location information when they are available. Often, they are not.

 

For rather a long time I have been including GPS coordinates for grave sites in the note for the burial fact. The only way I can get really accurate data is to visit the grave sites myself. The coordinates print out in reports I take to family reunions and in static HTML pages from RM that I post on my Web site. While these measures do not provide a map, anybody that wanted to could type the coordinates into Google maps to see what is going on. Or if they have an accurate GPS device designed for such things, they could use the device to find the graves.

 

I'm in the beginning stages of making screen captures from Google maps with grave sites marked on the map. For the time being, I'm simply posting these maps to my Web site.I'm also in the beginning stages of creating accurate maps for deeds, with the metes and bounds data overlaid on captures from Google maps or on captures from USGS topopgraphic maps.  It's an intriguing way to research, and I've learned a great deal. For example, I've learned that my paternal grandparents lived very close to each other at the time of their marriage when previously I didn't think they lived close to each other at all and I wondered how they met. 

 

What I'm doing seems to be well outside the domain of what RM or any genealogy program can really help with very much. Having the GPS data in RM associated with places or place details doesn't do very much to communicate the information to family members. The geocoding I'm doing is vastly more precise and specific than anything that RM can do with its automatic geocoding. Putting my GPS data into fact/event notes in RM and putting maps on my Web site seems to be the best I can do for now.

 

Jerry



#26 genealogy4primm@earthlink.

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Posted 14 March 2016 - 04:48 PM

The problem is most of these records had a street address or cemetery in the 'Place Details' and all these have been merged into one = a mess.

Robert….

The Place List has a subset of Place Details that allows the Place List location to have several associated Place Details (Note the Description field is NOT linked or associated). So if you type in Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England,, you can then go to the Place Details and start typing in an address, cemetery name, etc and it should offer up suggestions as you type (if you indeed have Place Details for said Place already stored). By merging all of the Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England Places, you have in effect cleaned up the Place List associations to that location (unless you missed some that were really spelled wrong or abbreviated). If there are now duplicate Place Details for that Place, then you can clean those up also, albeit one-by-one. That is how it should be and depending on whether you do all the data entry or import data (the worse of those two as far as accuracy goes), will affect the Place List trending to be more "fragmented & in need of maintenance" or "in shape".



#27 Vyger

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Posted 14 March 2016 - 05:43 PM

For rather a long time I have been including GPS coordinates for grave sites in the note for the burial fact.......

 

Putting my GPS data into fact/event notes in RM and putting maps on my Web site seems to be the best I can do for now.......

 

Jerry, I cannot see your logic at present for entering GPS coordinates into the Note field apart from the fact I believe you avoid Place Details ?

 

A small and mostly not noticed enhancement added geocoded Place Details to RM Mapping.

 

enhancement.png

 

This small update moved to overcome the shortcoming where Place Details were not plotted when the Place was selected on Rootsmagic Mapping whereas they did appear were when the People selection was used, another small step forward.

 

mapping-place-detail.png

 

I can also create POI snap snots for my GPS and use them on a visit to refine those GPS coordinates and add photo's and notes and plots to those specific burial Place Details or other. It seems perfectly logical to me to work to increase the accuracy of locations, enhance them through photographic evidence and try to achieve this within one software platform and work to develop that platform towards those aims.

 

I also fully understand the need for such detailed research to be available to platforms outside Rootsmagic.

 

For your information I have achieved many close GPS fixes through the overlay of historical maps on modern maps aligning topographical features and where possible supporting the location with descriptive text in the Place Details Note.

 

This is Ireland specific, but a few years ago when I bought a property I was reassured when my legal representative read from the land registry deeds that the property was at address in the townland of xxx in the parish of xxx, thankfully some things do not change.


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#28 genealogy4primm@earthlink.

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Posted 14 March 2016 - 05:46 PM

I have piped in on this Place Standardization issue before. I do not follow this Forum, but from time to time I do look at it. 

 

I appreciate what Jerry, TomH & Vyger have suggested.

 

The Standardized Place Name should be associated directly to a Current Place's GPS Coordinates (or in some cases to a defunct/last known/most commonly named Historical Place's GPS Coordinates).

 

This system could work for the four tier Place Name (City, County, State, County) or More: Place Detail (building or address etc., common name, Jurisdiction minor name (subdivision/ward 1), City, County, State, Country...it just depends on how it is set up & managed. Not to mention the option to ALWAYS Print the Text "County" or "Co.",  if City is not present/blank - can be a user global setting/definition.

 

The end user should be able to enter a name of a place in a query field (or set of fields as Jerry suggests) and get two concatenated suggestion fields based on 1) Date of Fact recorded 2) Syntax & Spelling in query field. 

 

If there is a positive match, then the GEDCom passes its suggestion as Historical Place Name & also as Current current Place Name (like Gazeteer). If either of these are not an Exact match, then the end user can Scroll though other possible Historical Place Name matches (again similar to Gazeteer), Same can be done for Current Place Name matches. In the event the user selects an imperfect known match (not in database), then they would be able to click on an "Modification Submission Icon" and "submit a request to "Add Historical Place & Current Place Match" along with their supporting evidence, documents and reasoning1. If the end user can not find any matches, then an "Add Place Submission Icon" can be utilized for an Add Place Request that opens up a dialog that end user can then provide supporting evidence, documents and reasoning for said Add Place.

 

If the match is exact and satisfactory to end user, then they should get those two (or more?) concatenated fields below that offer suggestions 1) Historical Place Name that fits the time-frame of Date on the Fact 2) Modern day Place Name of that Fact. So far we would have three fields2 where the end user can choose how they understand the place to be named in their view and reports. They could also select a global default as "Historical" or "Current" or" Both" to be "what they see" in their own database on RM ( as well as a select "switch" in reports). The standardized Gedcom GPS location Place Name is a exact match to the referenced Standard Place Name on Family Search, along with the Historical Place Name and Current Place name as alternate names in notes or in a similar set up in FamilySearch (some people wouldn't recognize a Historical Place Name, but know current Modern Era Names).

 

If, when on FamilySearch, someone attempts to change the Place Names (any of them) the Show all Changes on FamilySearch records the original set of Places and can be restored. This could also be done in RM, at least saving the paticular persons last Place Name Edits up to two or three times back - I could have used this in the past - which would allow them to restore to a previously entered Place set.

 

 

 

1 I have come across some Census records that have the wrong place recorded - or a odd spelling variant on the record itself and especially in record name of transcription- & some that have Historical/defunct locations. 

2 Or three concatenated Place Names - as per Jerry's individualized Split out place data entry where Place Description (if used), Address (if Used) City, County, State & Country all have their own enter as you wish (I think a drop down selection is better - with option to free type as well) field.



#29 genealogy4primm@earthlink.

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Posted 14 March 2016 - 06:04 PM

While I agree in essence with Jerry, place is bigger than his concept. Remember that place is a point on a map not a name. Therefore the place structure should start with longitude latitude coordinates then describe the place by name in multiple languages and with the open endedness that allows the place to live in multiple countries, states, counties etc. over time. In many cases a place can have multiple names at the same time. For example the German population may call their town one thing and the local population call it another. Different religious groups may have different names for the same city, building, cemetery or other location all at the same time or at different times.

EDIT: Actually coordinates are not enough, a polygon or set of coordinates is far better.

 The polygon being similar to how Google Maps indicates Counties in the USA? (usually highlighted polygon in red).



#30 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 14 March 2016 - 06:16 PM

 

Jerry, I cannot see your logic at present for entering GPS coordinates into the Note field apart from the fact I believe you avoid Place Details ?

 

It's so the GPS data will appear in narrative reports on paper and on my Web site. Are you saying that if I used Place Details that GPS coordinates would appear in my reports?

 

In general, it seems to me that there is a lot of data that I put into RM that nobody but me can ever see. I really want to get the data out to where it is visible. Here's an example. One of the things that I really like about RM's old static HTML pages is that if you click on a citation superscript, the superscript is a link that takes you to the citation with a single click. Wouldn't it then be lovely if after getting to the citation I could get to the media for that citation with just one more click (for example, a census image). And of course I can't get to that census image at all from the Web page generated by RM with any number of clicks.

 

Jerry



#31 Vyger

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Posted 15 March 2016 - 02:06 AM

 

It's so the GPS data will appear in narrative reports on paper and on my Web site. Are you saying that if I used Place Details that GPS coordinates would appear in my reports?

 

 

I see what you mean Jerry and I have wished for enhancements to the Place index and including GPS, where it exists, should be another one. I want to see the option to print Place Details Notes and/or Media, these Notes, in my case, are often useful descriptions of the location or history.


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#32 Vyger

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Posted 15 March 2016 - 04:06 AM

What I have done is to try to go through place names one-by-one. Not an easy task as my main database has over 5000 place names. In cases where the name is confused enough that it does not properly geocode to a standard place, I prepend a dot "." to the place name so that it sorts to the top of the place list.

 

Don, I also use this method and this is another area RM could improve on. FTM highlighted what they called "unresolved places" on the index list with a "?" beside them, RM could do something similar and it would be nice if the Rootsmagician facilitated a filtered list of unresolved places. Then we could drop those prefixes and allow the entries to sit alphabetically where they should.


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#33 KFN

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Posted 15 March 2016 - 05:27 AM

Single point "map" locations, associated with every place in your database can be transmitted/shared to others via GEDCOM (as can notes). Unfortunately most software does not support this.

Recently I've use http://www.freegeocoder.comwith some success to find long/LATI of a place.

#34 mleroux

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Posted 15 March 2016 - 05:38 AM

I have just realised that if I enter a new person and say record the birth I can choose the birth from the list but I cannot add “Place Details” this is not like FTM.

 

You can but you need to Save the fact having chosen the Place before proceeding to select or add the Place Detail. Just a little procedural gotcha... and not what Jerry was getting at.

Robert, just to expand on what Tom has written: When you add a new person to RM you get a "Quick Entry" form that allows you to enter the basics - birth, death etc. On this form you can fill in the place, but not the place details. Once you click ok you go to the main person display. At this point you can click on the specific fact, such as birth, and fill in the rest of the details such as the place location, notes and sources. It's a two step approach, but you get used to doing it this way fairly quickly.

 

There is a high learning curve for RM, but it provides a lot of functionality. As another recent convert there are quite a few things that I find frustrating, but as with most software, you adapt after a while


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#35 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 15 March 2016 - 06:04 AM

 

When you add a new person to RM you get a "Quick Entry" form that allows you to enter the basics - birth, death etc. On this form you can fill in the place, but not the place details. 

 

Aha, this must be the issue that people were talking about earlier in the thread that I didn't understand where they couldn't enter the Place Details until they had done a save. I thought they were talking about the Edit Person screen, but they weren't.

 

The Quick Entry form (a good name for it, but I think it's officially called the Add Person screen) is so extremely limited that I do as little data entry there as possible - just enough to get the person into the system. Then, I do the rest of the data entry from the Edit Person screen where you can do everything you need to do.

 

For me, the inability to enter Place Details on the Add Person screen is among the least of the problems. You also can't enter sources and media. Well, I don't enter much media for facts/events because of most of my media is entered for sources. But sources are extremely important to me, so I work in the Edit Person screen much more than in the Add Person screen. I think it's unfortunate that that Add Person screen and the Edit Person screen are so radically different.

 

Do be aware that you can customize the Add Person screen.  But the only thing you can do is add additional fact/event types. You can't do anything about the lack of Place Details, media, and sources on the screen. But more than that, the Add Person screen just has such a very different look and feel from the Edit Person screen that it's very annoying. For example, the muscle memory that your fingers have for hotkeys and for moving from field to field just doesn't transfer between the two screens.

 

Jerry



#36 Robert Fletcher

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Posted 15 March 2016 - 06:37 AM

 

Robert, just to expand on what Tom has written: When you add a new person to RM you get a "Quick Entry" form that allows you to enter the basics - birth, death etc. On this form you can fill in the place, but not the place details. Once you click ok you go to the main person display. At this point you can click on the specific fact, such as birth, and fill in the rest of the details such as the place location, notes and sources. It's a two step approach, but you get used to doing it this way fairly quickly.

 

 

There is a high learning curve for RM, but it provides a lot of functionality. As another recent convert there are quite a few things that I find frustrating, but as with most software, you adapt after a while

I am amazed how this discussion has expanded. A lot has gone over my head. My main project at the moment is going through the Place List. I have got all that sorted. I do agree not being able to access the Gazetteer without exiting the place name editor is frustrating. Overall I am very happy with RM, I am running it under Linux Mint using Crossover and it works 100%. I gave FTM away when I gave Win 10 away.

 

Robert...



#37 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 15 March 2016 - 09:09 AM

I do agree not being able to access the Gazetteer without exiting the place name editor is frustrating. 

 

Experienced RM users talk about this problem a lot. Well, it's not so much the Gazetteer and the place list because that's just one example. It's the overall problem that all RM windows are modal. You constantly find yourself having to exit one window before you can do anything else, and you really need to have multiple windows open and active at the same time. The modal window design keeps things simple for new users, but it's very frustrating for experienced users. So one of the wishes for the rewrite of RM is that it will embrace non-modal windows. Nobody outside of RM knows if non-modal windows are in the plans or not.

 

Jerry



#38 genealogy4primm@earthlink.

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Posted 15 March 2016 - 09:26 AM

 

Robert, just to expand on what Tom has written: When you add a new person to RM you get a "Quick Entry" form that allows you to enter the basics - birth, death etc. On this form you can fill in the place, but not the place details. 

 

 

True, but you can Customize the Add new person Dialog to include more detail than the default.

 

One thing I have done is add " Use description field" to the Fact Types of Birth. This also adds that field to the "Add new person" dialog screen (Quick Entry form). However this creates a Place Description rather than a Place Detail entry (as one would expect). You can then cut and paste that Place Description into the Place Detail if you wish. Albeit is cumbersome, it is easier than trying to keep track all those Place Details you need to go back and enter (at least it is in the database), say after entering a married couple. I invariably have the Place Details more often than I have Place Description.

 

However a Data Clean > Place Clean that includes Place Details AND Place Description would be a tremendous help for those of use who have figured out a work around such as this. 

 

Also, a better overall approach, would be to add the Gazetteer functionality and Place Detail to the options of "Add new person" dialog screen AND the Place Details. I am still baffled as to why the "Add new person" dialog screen does not utilize the same "Place" functionality as the "Edit person" dialog screen in regard to the Gazetteer. I gather it has to do with the database structure. To that end it is sometimes easier to simply key in the Name and dates (if known) and then OK so we can get to the Edit person dialog screen to add/select the Place Detail data in the correct field.

 

I would even like to see that same functionality of managing Place List upon Import of a record from FS. This would surely save a lot of time and headaches in the long run, essentially forcing one to set the Place to a Standard (or create a new Standard of a Place). Of course allow the end user to turn this feature on or off independently as they can the County checker.

 

Harold



#39 genealogy4primm@earthlink.

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Posted 15 March 2016 - 09:57 AM

 

Experienced RM users talk about this problem a lot. Well, it's not so much the Gazetteer and the place list because that's just one example. It's the overall problem that all RM windows are modal. You constantly find yourself having to exit one window before you can do anything else, and you really need to have multiple windows open and active at the same time. The modal window design keeps things simple for new users, but it's very frustrating for experienced users. So one of the wishes for the rewrite of RM is that it will embrace non-modal windows. Nobody outside of RM knows if non-modal windows are in the plans or not.

 

Jerry

 

Amen to that!

 

I could not imagine working with RM, FS, MH, Ancestry & etc.. without having two physical screens. I open up one for RM, the other for my research on the Web or opening up my files - sometimes I even would like to have a third one :D .

 

Actually I thought I read here in the Forum that Renee hinted to this as "being considered for a future release" or some similar statement within the past few months.

 

Harold



#40 Vyger

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Posted 15 March 2016 - 10:36 AM

 

Actually I thought I read here in the Forum that Renee hinted to this as "being considered for a future release" or some similar statement within the past few months.

 

Harold

 

In respect of Places I believe the developers of Rootsmagic are well aware of the need to bring all Place related objects together into one new and modern UI and hopefully that will be realized in version 8.

 

The evolution of place management and new features being introduced in a "bolt on" fashion has led to the present fragmented functionality. The fact that Rootsmagic 8 is said to be a complete re-write is the perfect opportunity to address this and other long standing annoyances.


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