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#1 SomebodySmart

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Posted 18 December 2016 - 12:08 PM

Both FamilySearch and Ancestry.com are trying to standardize the place names, which can be different from what the RootsMagic user types in. Here's my take: The word "County" should be included for U.S.A. and Canadian counties.

 

Consider:

 

Thornton's Ferry, Merrimack, New Hampshire, United States

 

...which the user types in to indicate a locality in the Town of Merrimack, which is in Hillsborough County. Now consider:

 

Concord, Merrimack, New Hampshire, United States

 

...which is the City of Concord, in Merrimack County.

 

Plenty of variations will cause misunderstandings, especially when a city with the same

name as a county is also not in any county.

 

Towson, Baltimore, Maryland, United States

 

...is the county seat of Baltimore County. The city of Baltimore is not part of that county.

 

 

 

 



#2 Renee Zamora

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Posted 19 December 2016 - 10:18 AM

RootsMagic and FamilySearch place name standards should be identical. 


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#3 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 19 December 2016 - 12:58 PM

RootsMagic and FamilySearch place name standards should be identical. 

 

.... and the word "County" is not included in said standard, nor is any other designation of political subdivision such as Parish or Township, etc.

 

Jerry



#4 zhangrau

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Posted 19 December 2016 - 01:47 PM

I think place names without level designations (county, parish, etc) are unnecessarily confusing. For example., in Michigan the city of Jackson is located in Jackson Township in Jackson County. So if a researcher notes an event occurred in Jackson MI, which is meant? There are many examples in the USA of other confusing situations. A city named Ripley in Pulaski County IN, while the city named Jackson is located in Ripley County IN. If a researcher notes an event in Ripley IN, where did the event occur?

 

In my implementation of place names, I feel it is ESSENTIAL to include the level designations.



#5 KFN

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Posted 19 December 2016 - 02:41 PM

I think that we need to look at data that we enter as if all readers were foreign to the data entry persons location and language.  We should write with a perspective that the reader is not familiar with the country we are writing about (be it the U.S.A. or Norway, England, Germany etc.) so that places are easy to find on a map, that spellings of places are as a gazette or Atlas might print them, and when we write notes or descriptions that we use short and simple sentence structure to any reader with a translation dictionary or a limited understanding of names and places, this way they can understand what is being said.

 

How many times have you read in a church book, census or legal document a piece of information and it is an abbreviation or zhangrau notes a location that refers to a place you cant find on a map because it is incompletely entered?  I myself while reading Norwegian transcripts will see a place statement that if I did not know the valley intimately would not understand the location or the person's name that was being referenced in the document. 

 

In my opinion, we as the collector, editor and publisher of data are tasked with connecting our readers to the data without creating ambiguous or complex reports and documents.

 

Place names are a particularly interesting and sticky subject.  While I as a historian would always want to record the actual name and spelling of a place as it was at the time in history the event took place, I also must acknowledge that many places have historically had several names or at least had various spellings of their name over time.  GEDCOM and most genealogy software programs provide only one location designation for each event and Since most readers of my work are not historians or know very little of the history of the place I am writing about I must find a solution (within the recording scheme) to express to the reader where the place is today so they can locate it on a map.  However I must also find a simple way to provide alternate place names for all events so that these same readers (and more historically oriented individuals) can know a little about the history of the place.

 

In GEDCOM I enter the modern or near modern location of a place.  Then I use the Place.Note structure to further define additional information about the location, such as alternate spellings, changes in the territorial or governmental affiliations.  If the source indicates a spelling or abbreviation that is different that my place name, I would include the actual text from the source in the source_citation.Data.Text tag for additional explanation.  Here too a picture of the source information is very helpful.    



#6 kbens0n

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Posted 19 December 2016 - 03:07 PM

Primarily, it's -ALL ABOUT- the commas.
They are the separators that enable top down place management and programmatic determinations. Without commas, it's basically 'malpractice'.
Jackson MI implies City, State. All children here are taught this paradigm. The data-entry person is responsible...

For the U.S. example it's:

[City/Town(ship)/Village/ETC], --> [County/Parish/Division], --> [State](,) --> [United States] (is optional but obvious, thus unnecessary)

Essentially, with commas, the words County or Parish are (optional but obvious, thus unnecessary) ie.'superfluous'

IS THIS HIGHEST ORDER COMMA-SEPARATED NAME a COUNTRY NAME? Process per country name hierarchical protocol
IS IT UNITED STATES or U.S.? Process per U.S. hierarchical protocol
IS THERE THREE COMMAS? Process County w/ State hierarchical protocol
ETC.

---
--- "GENEALOGY, n. An account of one's descent from an ancestor who did not particularly care to trace his own." - Ambrose Bierce
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#7 KFN

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Posted 19 December 2016 - 03:59 PM

Unfortunately, it is not all about the commas if you plan to have multiple countries in your data.  Standardization is important and required thus country is required.  Townships and City are not on the same level in the USA and are at different levels in other countries.  

 

If your software follows GEDCOM standard conventions then you could eliminate the county and state tags because you could substitute these values using the "FORM" or format tag.  This tag provides for a standard divisional labeling system and also provides for variations for non-standard place entries.

 

If you don't want to follow standards (or normalize your data) this of course is up to you, but it makes all the difference when producing good custom reports from your database.  I write custom reports for a living and if your data is not standardized normalized custom reports become very difficult when your data is not properly normalized. 

 

Many cities are not in one township or even in one county.  Thus county is very important and should be required.  Yes you can leave a place holder (a double comma) but when parsing out the data to place in a report based on county missing data can lead to issues.  



#8 zhangrau

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Posted 19 December 2016 - 08:55 PM

In addition to wanting my place names to be recognizable to my readers, I want them to properly sort in the Place Index at the end of narrative reports. By including the level designations consistently, my place indices become a clear geographical hierarchy of all of the places in that report. How often do my readers use the Place Index? I don't know. But I do spend a significant amount of time trying to ensure my own internal consistency.



#9 Nettie

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Posted 20 December 2016 - 09:39 AM

Each person doing their genealogy has a procedure [probably not standard] as how they want the places listed in their final report.

 

Since the big companies or..... do not have a standard that meets all ways of doing this, we need to do our own. 

 

Mine is all United States, and township, city, county, state are my way of doing them

example: North Hero Township, Walnut Grove, Redwood County, Minnesota  

or North Hero Township, Redwood County, Minnesota

 

I have based my procedures for data entry into RM database on how I want my end reports to look, to read & be understood by a non genealogist.


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#10 Vyger

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Posted 21 December 2016 - 05:24 AM

Consider:

 

Thornton's Ferry, Merrimack, New Hampshire, United States

 

...which the user types in to indicate a locality in the Town of Merrimack, which is in Hillsborough County. Now consider:

 

 

So does Thorntons Ferry constitute a Place or Place Detail?

 

When I put it into Google Maps primarily I get a school so it's not a Place and therefore should not be part of the place field. This is where Place sharing becomes so fragmented as it is a very common practice of many users to add Place Details to the Place field. In your example the Place is Merrimack, Hillsborough, New Hampshire, United States and the Place Details is Thorntons Ferry or Thornton's Ferry depending on how the user imports it but importantly are different entries.

 

The important thing outside any particular users preference is that Merrimack, Hillsborough, New Hampshire, United States is the same and for Ancestry and Family Search therefore matching those records and not creating duplication.

 

Another long standing objection is that users generally don't want that concise Place notation within their Place field, once geocoded this becomes part of the Standardized Place Field, I, personally,  would record Merrimack, Hillsborough, New Hampshire in my Place Field and Merrimack, Hillsborough in my Abbreviated Place field. The locality of Thorntons Ferry would be Place Details, can be geocoded separately with photographs and some history or explanation in the Notes field, but importantly not shared as a Place with Ancestry or Family Search.

 

I believe Rootsmagic should share the Standardized Place Name, where it is populated, with Ancestry and Family Search, that action would take us some way towards removing duplication due to freehand recording preferences.

 

 

 

Merrimack, Hillsborough, New Hampshire, United States


We are all limited by our visions and abilities

Whilst we can borrow from the visions of others we cannot always deliver.

 

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#11 KFN

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Posted 21 December 2016 - 11:00 AM

As far as I'm concerned there is no such thing as "Place Detail".  I base this on my requirement that ALL software must support correct and valid GEDCOM without misusing tags or creating custom tags where a real and valid GEDCOM tag exists. I also require that all places present information that will guide reader to a location without having to guess or know details about the place that I am describing.

 

Therefore all "Place" information includes all "nodes" (country, city, state, address, church name are nodes) with the leftmost or lowest order location the most detailed location of a place. 

 

In my world: Thornton's Ferry, Merrimack, New Hampshire, United States would be correct with the exception that maybe a county name maybe included or maybe the term "State" or "County".  Because most people outside of the USA (my audience) may not know that New Hampshire was a state or that Merrimack was a city (rather than a county).  Thornton's Ferry, Merrimack city of, New Hampshire State of, United States is more correct



#12 TomH

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Posted 21 December 2016 - 12:30 PM

I think the KFN world is pretty unique and inconsistent with the way popular programs and services work. So I'm not sure that messages to this RootsMagic forum about the KFN interpretation of GEDCOM are helpful or constructive. Every time I read one, my brain feels like it's in a strange land. How do I apply what KFN advocates to the way that I use RootsMagic? Is there any benefit in it for me? Is anybody getting anything useful from it?


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#13 KFN

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Posted 21 December 2016 - 12:46 PM

Tom,  I am very curious about what part of my concepts do not fit with yours, or the software industry as a whole. 

 

I've been part of the GEDCOM and genealogy world since GEDCOM 4.0, and pretty much know v 5.5.1 inside and out.  I've also had some activity in the "FHISO" and Better GEDCOM forums over the last few years.  As a computer and information specialist, database designer and Library profession I have a lot of background in data design and cataloging and I'm currently associated with genealogy centers both in the US and Norway.

 

Again I'm just curious where my work is not fitting in with others since my experience guides me in what I advocate.



#14 KFN

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Posted 21 December 2016 - 01:19 PM

One of the major issues with the way many software programs implement "Place" is that they don't provide for a "Format" contruct as outlined in GEDCOM.

 

Here is an example from the original question"

Thornton's Ferry, Merrimack, New Hampshire, United States

 

In GEDCOM I would enter the following:

n PLAC Thornton's Ferry, Merrimack, New Hampshire, United States
n+1 FORM Village, City, State, Country

 

This construct tell the system and anyone reading the document to look for a place called Thornton's Ferry (a village within the city of) Merrimack (in the state of) New Hampshire (within the country of) United States.

 

This "FORM" tag can be set globally so that all PLAC tags without a subtag of FORM uses the standard default.  Therefore in many cases only a few outlying (non-standard) places would need a FORM tag to describe the data.  So most of your entries will not need a county if you don't want to record it, but for a few of the places that have cities of the same name in different counties then add a FORM tag and tell the system that the county is included in the place.

 

This is actually the way I do it, but since almost no software programs that I have come accross use the FORM tag I would be forced to use the example above with the city and state in the names.



#15 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 21 December 2016 - 01:20 PM

This thread does get a bit into "how to do genealogy" as opposed to "how to use RM", but...   Suppose that you consider it very important to record cemetery information as a part of recording burials, and suppose you consider it very important to share you research at FamilySearch Family Tree. And suppose RM is your tool of choice for recording your genealogical data, and suppose RM is your tool of choice for interacting with FamilySearch Family Tree.

 

I think that these circumstances put you between a rock and a hard place. If you record cemetery information in RM's Place Details, your cemetery information will not be shared with FSFT. And if you record your cemetery information in RM's Place field, you will not be in accord with the Place Name Standard that is shared by RM and FSFT. And even if you record your cemetery information in RM's Place field and exchange the data with FSFT, another FSFT user is likely to remove the cemetery information because it is non-standard.

 

Jerry



#16 TomH

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Posted 21 December 2016 - 01:21 PM

I respect your knowledge of GEDCOM, KFN, but typical RootsMagic users are not GEDCOM experts. Your posts have said in the past that you do not use RootsMagic or do only secondarily and that you have your own system. Your posts almost always are about GEDCOM and your interpretation of it and seldom, if not never, about how we might use RootsMagic to better advantage. It is of no help to me if you disagree with the way RootsMagic interprets and applies GEDCOM - well maybe it would be in the long run if you could persuade the RootsMagician and the services with which RootsMagic interfaces that there is a better way and cause them to adopt it! 

 

Your example "Thornton's Ferry, Merrimack city of, New Hampshire State of, United States" is a case in point. Try that in RootsMagic or FamilySearch Family Tree and see the objections raised by the systems, not to mention the users when they read their reports. It's academic, not practical.

 

To be relevant in this forum, talk to us about using RootsMagic and about its data interchange with FS and its upcoming data interchange with Ancestry when it's out (are you signed up as a beta tester?)... We are, for the most part, users wanting to do the best we can with what we have and pushing for incremental improvements for which there would be immediate benefit. Yes, we're all in favour of some new standard for data exchange that would be complete and transparent among all the major players but it's been 20 years since the last "standard" was published and variously interpreted and most of us cannot wait for the distant day when that will come.    


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#17 KFN

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Posted 21 December 2016 - 01:45 PM

Tom,

 

I wanted to use RootsMagic and I wanted to use Family Tree Maker.  Over the years I've wanted to use several other programs as well.  None of these programs allow me to use all of them together since they do not follow and standard data interchange and therefore lock me and my data into their program.  This is very wrong in my book. 

 

Why do I want to use all of them together?  Well none of them are the best at all things.  Some have better reports, others have a better user interface or create better maps.  Some do a great job of creating a website others produce none at all or require me to place my data on a proprietary system that they use to sell services to others.  Some have open and usable databases (a draw I had for RootsMagic) while others encrypt the data.  All of this is counter to my data needs.

 

I wish I did have some influence over the "RootsMagician" and I actually started out on this forum trying to influence some thought and discussion toward that endeavor.  If long time users like yourself, someone that has actually looked inside the database and written utilities to fix or augment the data, or someone like myself that can and would write software that generates a whole slew of other content like websites, printable books, newsletters to family, etc.  Every one of our databases contain large quantities of data that can be used in various ways to inform and teach others about our/their family or connect use to other families or people, turning data into information and then knowledge is a very powerful process, but the data is only as good as what can be pull out in an orderly way to generate this content.  I think you as a database guy might appreciate this concept.

 

If what I am saying is so out there that a discussion can't be formed around it then fine, I can live with that since I will have no other reason to be here, I'll try to never say another word.  It will be hard and you may actually here my screams across the pond when I see a question that has an answer if only "this" was implemented.  But so be it.

 

I just want to be sure that everyone knew that with a simple implementation of the FORMat tag from GEDCOM that this question about places would be solved.



#18 TomH

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Posted 21 December 2016 - 02:44 PM

KFN, I'm not wanting you to feel unwelcome in this forum and I'm only one who is asking

  • How do I apply what KFN advocates to the way that I use RootsMagic?
  • Is there any benefit in it for me?

If a post about GEDCOM or data interchange between RootsMagic and others in any form has answers to these questions, I'm interested.

 

If it proposes a specific enhancement to RootsMagic that would benefit me, I'm interested. If it requires a global sea-change, I can't get enthusiastic because I don't see it happening any time soon.

 

What seems to motivate the RootsMagician, and undoubtedly most software developers earning their living therefrom, are opportunities to generate revenue. Integration with FSFT, WebHints for MyHeritage and FindMyPast, and the upcoming interface to Ancestry along with great efforts to vastly improve imports from TMG and FTM were all opportunities to expand the RootsMagic market and revenue. If you can make the case that reinterpreting or replacing GEDCOM for all the major players is a revenue growth opportunity, then there is potential for movement in that direction. Since nothing of the sort has happened over the course of 20 years, perhaps they remain unconvinced... And that lack of revenue potential lies at the base of the growing backlog of unfulfilled items on the RootsMagic Wish List. Developers do just enough to keep their existing customers from bolting while pouring their efforts into attracting new ones.

 

So, don't drop out. Just think about the readership of this forum and what its/our needs and interests are when you post. And maybe adding an auto signature as vyger, myself and others do would tell us succinctly from where you are coming in your comments (esp for newcomers) and provide a link to your advocacy.


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SQLite_Tools_For_Roots_Magic_in_PR_Celti wiki, exploiting the database in special ways >>> RMtrix-tiny.png app, a bundle of RootsMagic utilities.


#19 KFN

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Posted 21 December 2016 - 03:43 PM

Unfortunately, I have nothing to offer other than GEDCOM since I can't use RootsMagic without GEDCOM compliance.  Pushing for even the simplest of changes will never make the magician more money or gain additional users since most of these are only GEDCOM things for data portability and no-one cares about this function.

 

GEDCOM compliance and portability will never happen in my opinion because it will require massive database changes and for some programs the chance of loosing users if they don't match feature for feature.

 

So with that I wish everyone a great holiday time and a prosperous and healthy new year.

 

"Goodbye and thanks for all the fish"



#20 Vyger

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Posted 22 December 2016 - 09:10 AM

Therefore all "Place" information includes all "nodes" (country, city, state, address, church name are nodes) with the leftmost or lowest order location the most detailed location of a place. 

 

As a computer and information specialist, database designer and Library profession I have a lot of background in data design and cataloging and I'm currently associated with genealogy centers both in the US and Norway.

 

Again I'm just curious where my work is not fitting in with others since my experience guides me in what I advocate.

 

KFN, I also would not want you to feel unwelcome in this discussion but my interest is uneccessary duplication, with your involvements stated above I would think you would appreciate the needs for standards to be applied rather that every persons preference. Adding a Church to the Place is another component open to every users preference, 1st Presbyterian, First Presbyterian, Newmills 1st Presbyterian etc, all unique entries and not matches so unwelcome.

 

In the example used in this thread Merrimack, Hillsborough, New Hampshire, United States is the Place there is no question about that, Thorntons Ferry or Thornton's Ferry, another two distinctly different entries, describe a locality within that Place and are not recognized by online mapping utilities as a Place with a definable boundary. There are a number of old localities referred to in Belfast but they are difficult to research except for roughly where ther were located, if I had a street address in Place Details I might add "This address was in the area known as 'The Bone' in North Belfast"

 

My view on some other statements is that the commas are important and users should worl to fill any blank components. In Ireland I have Antrim, Ireland which refers to a county, and Antrim, Antrim, Ireland which refers to the town of Antrim within that said county.

 

Reports have also been mentioned and every user has their preference of reported format and that is fine, I repeat that the Standardized Place Name (where populated) should be the Place data shared with FS, Ancestry and others, not the users preferred entry style. For the purposes of genealogy exchange and data matching, again using this threads example, Merrimack, Hillsborough, New Hampshire, United States is perfect, additional information of differing standards just make the data convoluted.

 

Format discussions always centre around how the user wants the Place to appear in reports and rightly so, but Rootsmagic has 3 Place fields and if improvemetns were necessary then selecting how those Place fields were used might be the step forward desired. Sharing the Standardized Place Name (where populated) is the standard I believe needed for sharing so your data looks like and matches my data in terms of Places leaving you and I free to enter whatever format we wish into the Place field and Abbreviated Place Field, everybody happy.

 

Oh, I should reiterate my belief that County Check suggestions should give the option to populate the Standardized Place Name and not the users choice and style of Place entry.


We are all limited by our visions and abilities

Whilst we can borrow from the visions of others we cannot always deliver.

 

User of Family Historian 6.2.7, Rootsmagic 7.6.0, Family Tree Maker 2014 & Legacy 7.5

 

Excel to Gedcom conversion - simple getting started tutorials here

 

Root