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#41 TomH

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Posted 27 December 2016 - 02:49 PM

I repeat again my belief the Standardized Place Name should be the shared Place information online and by gedcom where it is populated, County Check suggestions should populate this field rather than overwriting the users Place entry when selected, does anyone offer any objections to this model?

I cannot say that I agree or disagree. There are complications. Given the way geo-coding and County Check work, it seems that Standardized is the contemporary name that can be found on/retrieved from mapping software and that Place is intended to be the historical name. After all why apply geo-coded lookup name to one and check for the historical name of the County, State and Country for the other. Moreover, it is only Place and coordinates that are exported to GEDCOM and transferred to other databases, thus preserving the (possibly historical) name and the coordinates which all agree are more essential to locating something absolutely than is the name, whether "standardized" or historical. As I have demonstrated with the unorthodox use of the Abbreviation field, it is desirable to have not only the contemporary or standardized name and coordinates common to multiple historical names along with the historical names, but also a Display/Report name that allows the user to freely use such words and abbreviations as Village, Town, City, City of, Twp., Township, Co., County, Parish, Shire, etc... I'm pretty sure we have discussed this in the past and it is on the enhancement list; given there has been no support for transfer of any name other than Place added in the life of RM, the prospects seem bleak.

As a development direction and following on from the above post from TomH, perhaps a 4th Place field like Historical Place Name should be catered for which could detail Parish or other information describing that Place.

As I said above, I think the Place value is already the Historical name.


Edited by TomH, 27 December 2016 - 02:50 PM.

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#42 TomH

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Posted 27 December 2016 - 03:36 PM

0 @I1@ INDI

1 NAME Karol Józef /Wojtyła/

1 DEAT

2 PLAC Vatican City

 

One of the few cases where no comma is needed IMHO.

RM geo-coding returns just "Vatican" while FamilySearch Family Tree "standard" is "Vatican City". But the most detailed entry for this pope has the place as "Palacio Apostolico, Ciudad Del Vaticano, Roma, Italia"... which illustrates many challenges for standards - a more definitive location of the sort that RM suggests be put into its Place Details field, another language, a City State, the use of geographical hierarchy instead of geo-political...


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#43 SomebodySmart

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Posted 28 December 2016 - 12:34 PM

Now consider Mount Vernon, New York, United States 

 

By the way, "the United States" means much the same as "the State" does in a State statute or State constitution. It is not the name of a particular United States.  For that, it needs to be complete to be specific, United States of America is really the name of the country. United States by itself is kinda like Former Yugoslav Republic by itself.

 

Anyway, Mount Vernon, New York, United States of America needs to be an option for when a researcher finds documents which name Mount Vernon without saying whether it is the city in Westchester County or the locality in Erie County.

 

Moving on, Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Scotland, United Kingdom raises the same issue as United States does. There is also the historical glitch that, prior to the independence of the Irish Republic, it was United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and now it is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Thus if you use historical names you should use the one in vogue when the event happened, even for Scotland.

 

Moving on more, let me compare two sets of islands:

 

The Hawaiian Islands include Hawaii Island, nicknamed the Big Island, and numerous smaller islands, including Midway Island, which is not part of the State of Hawaii. 

 

The British Isles include Great Britain and smaller isles, including Ireland, a large part of which is not part of the U.K. The main isles are, of course, Great Britain, Ireland and Man. Note that Northern Ireland is not part of Great Britain, it is part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Residents of the Irish Republic might dislike being called British even though they do live on one of the British Isles. 



#44 SomebodySmart

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Posted 28 December 2016 - 12:42 PM


 

3. Each users preference for how things look in reports.

 

Don't you dare report that G.I. Joe married his bride in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam! He might insist not very politely that he married her in Saigon, South Viet Nam. Place names mean a lot. 



#45 SomebodySmart

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Posted 28 December 2016 - 04:00 PM

In geo-political naming, my ancestral towns which were in the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies prior to the unification of most of Italy, would be Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, and later the Italian Republic, not Italy.

 

Italy is a geographic area which also includes the Republic of San Marino and the State of Vatican City, neither of which is part of the Italian Republic. Ireland is the whole Emerald Isle, both the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland. America is all of North America, Central America and South America, not only the United States of America. The Republic of Cape Verde includes the Cape Verde Islands but not Cape Verde itself, which is on the African coast as Cap Vert, Senegal. (Kinda like calling Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket the Cape Cod Islands).



#46 SomebodySmart

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Posted 28 December 2016 - 04:07 PM

If they don't want to include the word "county" what do they do for the County of Dukes County?

 

http://www.dukescounty.org

 

cf.: City of Atlantic City.



#47 TomH

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Posted 28 December 2016 - 04:20 PM

You guessed it: both County Check and Geo-code return "Oak Bluffs, Dukes, Massachusetts, United States". The former does not care what you name the municipality, only County or higher level. The Gazetteer has the entry "Atlantic City, Atlantic, New Jersey, United States" which County Check is okay with from 1837 on.


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#48 SomebodySmart

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Posted 07 January 2017 - 08:59 PM

Why is the place name useful?

 

1.) It often suggests a connection to the local community. There are many exceptions, especially for events happening in transit; but even then, a birth happening when the craft is within or over a country may confer citizenship of that country and that is relevant in genealogy.

 

2.) It is a specific fact of history of that person. In this respect the historical place should be used, i.e. the name of the place as it was at the time of the event.

 

3.) It helps differentiate a person or family line from an unrelated one. I recently connected with somebody who had family names from Italy but did not know where in Italy. I had similar names from Potenza the city, and suggested these might be. She sent me a copy of a 1910 U.S. Census page and they had one son born in Italy, named Vincent. I found a Vincenzo in the Potenza-the-city records born about the right time, making it much more likely that this is the family.

 

For this purpose, place names can be used to classify events geographically. That is the idea of my website, http://gedcomindex.com

 

For this purpose, modern place names should be used. For Great Britain, the pre-1974 reshuffle counties should be used, as these are still geographic areas. http://abcounties.com/However, for most other areas the most currect place names should be used, i.e. a church that was in Dakota Territory is now in either North Dakota or South Dakota, and events in that church should be classified with other events in the same community. A family name in Fargo, Dakota Territory may have descendants of that family name living in the Fargo area in North Dakota. If a township's borders changed and the location of the event is now in another township, and the location is only precise to the township and not to the institution, you might use the historic township name and the current parent area. This would be true for antebellum towns in West Virginia because you are classifying events geographically into small folders with geographic names.

 

Especially for this purpose, the drop-down selection menus are valuable because they avoid mis-match when a locality name is spelled differently or just plain wrong by a user. A correct orthography is suggested by the drop-down list. I have seen Massachussetts which I refuse to classify as Massachusetts.

 

An event in Georgetown, Montgomery County, Maryland, United States should be classified as District of Columbia, United States.

 

Also for this purpose, distinguishing the level is critical, and the word "County" comes into play. Baltimore city or Baltimore county? Towns do not typically grow up to be counties or States.

 

For this purpose, it is usually not necessary to specify "City of" versus "Town of" because it is a lot of unnecessary work to find out if Weymouth, Norfolk County, Massachusetts is or was a town or city on a given date. Upon promotion, a new city typically occupies the same boundaries as the town. Purchase, New York, however, is a township with a locality also named Purchase, and when you say Purchase, it tends to imply the locality and not other areas of the township.



#49 SomebodySmart

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Posted 08 January 2017 - 11:53 AM

It is important to remember that people have an attachment to their home town and home State, regardless of where the actual event happened.

 

http://www.gencourt....ml/i/3/3-23.htm

3:23 New Hampshire Native. –
    I. A New Hampshire native is someone who was born in the state of New Hampshire or someone born to a mother domiciled in the state of New Hampshire at the time of his or her birth.
    II. Nothing in this section shall affect official records.
    III. No person who in good faith proclaims himself or herself to be a New Hampshire native pursuant to this section shall be charged with perjury.

 

Genealogy software should allow for a RESI field because persons named on a pedigree chart framed on a wall will want that to reflect their residence location and not only the location of the hospital. Many persons from nearby Dunstable, Massachusetts travel to Southern New Hampshire Medical Center in Nashua to bear a baby. Plenty of residents of Hingham, Plymouth County, Massachusetts would rather see their name on a framed pedigree chart with Hingham and not Weymouth, Norfolk County, Massachusetts, where South Shore Hospital is located. Baseball cards show the player's birth date and home town, probably for that reason.

 

A family name, and birthplace Nashua, Hillsborough County, New Hampshire, United States could be one family from Litchfield, New Hampshire or a distinct family from Dunstable, Massachusetts; and the inclusion of a RESI tag could help in the search functions, by allowing the user to search on the RESI field.

 

A marriage in Las Vegas, Clark County, Nevada, United States may be impressive, too, and perhaps both the PLAC and RESI fields should display on reports. A birth location itself may bless/inflict citizenship and that is relevant in genealogy.

 

This would add the complication in people's feelings because a nursing home is often technically the person's legal residence.



#50 Vyger

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Posted 09 January 2017 - 02:59 PM

SomebodySmart, there is a lot of truth is much of what you say but how would you propose to have users sometimes use the historical place name but sometimes different?

 

This discussion is as old a genealogy itself and there can only be improvements never a definitive answer. There should be a standard and there is but not all users agree with the format of this standard, but why should they have to?

 

The proximity of events is a very importand indicator and that is only achieved by accurate geocoding so outside of personal styles I believe more importance, duplicate searching and reporting should be based on that component.


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#51 KFN

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Posted 09 January 2017 - 10:42 PM

Vyger,

 

I would agree that the location Longitude and Latitude are the only true location indicators we can have that are consistent, the label we assign to it city/country/street address/building name etc. can and do change over time/language/religion.   In many places in my genealogy that have multiple names at the same time due to what religion you follow or your ethnic background, we can also see depending on time countries, counties, territories, etc. also change.  And of course language is always an issue. It could be Norge (Norwegian), Norway (English), Norvège (French), Norwegen (German)... 

 

I would be far better for us to located the place on the map then have some other mechanism to assign the label when we report or display the data to the specific user requesting it so it can be translated for them into something they can understand.  



#52 Vyger

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Posted 10 January 2017 - 07:48 AM

And of course language is always an issue. It could be Norge (Norwegian), Norway (English), Norvège (French), Norwegen (German)... 

 

I would be far better for us to located the place on the map then have some other mechanism to assign the label when we report or display the data to the specific user requesting it so it can be translated for them into something they can understand.  

 

I didn't dare go into the language variations but I strongly believe more focus and encouragement should be placed on accurate geocoding. I believe Rootsmagic should assist more in helping users geocode and resolve their places through an embedded mapping utility.

 

The labels are very important to users with so many preferences as to the format they record but Rootsmagic already has 3 Place fields, maybe a 4th would be beneficial but the providing a choice of which place field to share by gedcom or online is important although I believe the most standardized one should be the preference.

 

I have no problem with places in the four component format of place/county/state/country but I do hope the Rootsmagician finds some way to maintain some standardization whilst overcoming the County or not County, USA or United States of America, arguments. These seem simple to overcome in my opinion through sharing of the Standardized Place Name, leaving users to choose between the Place and Abbrev Place for reports.

 

I do step out of the schema for my own needs with Parishes in Ireland, none of which are recognized by Rootsmagic Gazetteer, I believe the reference material to Gazetteer is a Family Search database but it does not recognize Irish Parishes. When I enter a new Parish I populate all three Place fields and geocode a central point within the Parish, I also generally populate the Notes field with some information and attach a Parish map to the Media.

 

As we are agreed the coordinates do not change between differing languages and personal styles so I do hope more emphasis is placed on those coordinates in the next version of RM for proximity reporting of events, duplicate searching etc. Regardless of any users personal preference to record "the label" for the Place those coordinates are the true location and proximity calculations based on that are flawless mathematics rather than trying to second guess the numerous user variations in the text input.


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#53 SomebodySmart

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Posted 11 January 2017 - 10:31 AM

Most people reading a genealogy report, or viewing a framed pedigree chart on a wall, would prefer geographic names to a bunch of numerals indicating longitude and latitude.

 

"Good morning, taxi."

"Come pick me up at the First Baptist Church."

"Well, there's more than one First Baptist Church in our service area. Which one are you at?"

"The one with Board on Geographic Names feature ID # 1915350."

"Oh, you mean the one at 42.7820325 North, 71.4672883 West and 57 meters above sea level?

"Yes, that one."

"Oh, okay, we'll be there in ten minutes."

 

There is a good proposal at the following link, but it fails to provide for a hierarchy of place names, i.e. country is superior to her subdivisions, which are superior to their respective subdivisions except in the case of an area overlapping the subdivisions. Estcourt Station got messed up when a surveying error was corrected and the Canadian border was re-drawn right through their community. An ancestor's autograph about genealogy might say her own ancestors were born in Estcourt Station.

 

http://wiki-en.genea...et/Gedcom_5.5EL

 

The place name hierarchy depends on the date of the event, i.e. Alsace and Lorraine changed hands between Germany and France; and the date of the event even depended on the place, i.e. the advances and retreats of Catholic and Protestant armies changed an area between the Gregorian calendar and the Julian calendar.



#54 Vyger

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Posted 11 January 2017 - 12:55 PM

Most people reading a genealogy report, or viewing a framed pedigree chart on a wall, would prefer geographic names to a bunch of numerals indicating longitude and latitude.

 

Very amusing, I just read my posts again in case of typos and I would suggest you do also.

 

You did not answer how you intend to have ALL users use the same data entry standard including the various language variations around the world, please do?

 

My point is regardless of these textual variations the coordinates remain the same, I did not advocate adding them in the Place field, you can enter whatever you wish there.

 

I am curious how you believe the 3 Place fields should be populated, geocoding is self explanatory, please post your proposals?

.


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#55 JohhnyCee

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Posted 12 January 2017 - 10:18 AM

I just noticed this post and I read it with great interest. I've just introduced place-related features in GedSite and I had to adjust how GedSite handled the ADDR, PLAC, and _PLAC records written to GEDCOM by RM so that GedSite could include mapping service links and support place notes, exhibits, etc.

 

KFN has commented on some non-standard GEDCOM records in the RM file and I'll throw my two-cents in. I agree that RM and other genealogy project managers should export the most compliant GEDCOM that they can, but we also have to acknowledge that the GEDCOM standard is poorly written and flawed in other ways. Add the usual difficulties and trade-offs involved in developing software and it's not surprising that GEDCOM is the can of worms that it is. Judging the RM GEDCOM content both on adherence to the GEDCOM spec and on the information it provides, I'd give it high marks.

 

Regarding the main topic of this thread, my primary reaction is that place name standardization is a very challenging problem. This thread includes some discussion of the technical challenges. In my opinion, even if we could wave a magic wand and solve some of those technical problems (like having multiple systems agree on place name standards and formats), we might end up with software we don't want to use. For example, if the introduction/insistence on place name standards interferes somehow with my data entry process, I'd quickly find my way to a different program.

 

Which leads me to this question: how important is place name standardization? I rarely encounter any real difficulty understanding places in my own data, in source material, or in genealogy reports produced by others. I suspect we have all faced problems where source information is not held where we expect because of jurisdictional changes, but I don't expect genealogy project manager software to solve that problem.

 

I am not using the Family Search feature. Perhaps I would feel differently if I were. Ignoring the desire to be consistent in the data entry and reporting of place names--which I suspect I share with most if not all of the people reading this thread--why is place name standardization important?



#56 robertjacobs0

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Posted 12 January 2017 - 12:51 PM

JohhnyCee has it right: "how important is place name standardization?" My answer, like his, is not very. If I say "I grew up in the the Bronx" anyone likely to read that will know where I grew up. It's the report that's important, not the technical storage: Bronx, Bronx County, New York City, New York, U.S.A. is absurd in a narrative or in GedSite or on some other web site.

 

Of course ambiguity is possible. Springfield is the most common post-office name in the U.S. There are 41 of them. Had I grown up in Springfield it would be incumbent on me or on someone reporting my genealogy to specify the location more clearly. Where it's important to know that Montauk, NY is at the easternmost tip of Long Island, that information can be conveyed in notes far better than with comma-delineated boxes.

 

Reporting — that is, conveying accurate and complete information — is  the center of the enterprise.



#57 Vyger

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Posted 12 January 2017 - 01:17 PM

I am not using the Family Search feature. Perhaps I would feel differently if I were. Ignoring the desire to be consistent in the data entry and reporting of place names--which I suspect I share with most if not all of the people reading this thread--why is place name standardization important?

 

Hi JohhnyCee and welcome to the forum.

 

This discussion always centres around the same things, users have a particular desire for how they like their reports to look but essentially if you share your data with me differing places cause duplication. I don't believe anyone is trying to create long winded reports in terms on Places but how you and your neighbours refer to a locality that would probably mean lettle to me. If robertjacobs0 was sharing his data with an Italian researcher they "Bronx" would mean very little and that appears to be another challenge where family history compilers appear to think in very insular terms noting places as people in their locality would easily recognize them but maybe not researchers from another State or Country.

 

Really there ways to cater for all even within the current RM database structure but it must be recognized that Sharing, Syncing and comparing is an important consideration to many users and I, for one would prefer not to need to edit every Place format from the sharees prefered format. I have said many time that the geocoding (point on earth) should be the comparison within RM for events and people that may be the same and I maintain that. I maintain the Standardized Place Name should be the one shared online and through gedcom standard, I am not trying to suggest anyone changes their personal habits or preferences.

 

A story I will share is when almost 20 years ago I hooked up with two other keen researchers on a single name study, we each had a wealth of media and, of course, were overly excited to start exchanging files. It didn't take long to realize that we were creating massive duplication purely through different file naming preferences, we had to stop. We worked to agree a file naming structure which is almost unique and rigid, reconciled the mass of duplicate media files, renamed each of our collections to the new standard and started again. I still use that file naming structure today, you or anyone else could understand it and if I was to interact with one of those researchers again it would be without duplication.

 

Duplication is something, I believe, every serious genealogist should embrace as a goal otherwise we are all just working alone in our own little worlds of personal preferences and data entry habits.


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#58 KFN

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Posted 12 January 2017 - 08:58 PM

Don't tell a librarian that you think naming standards are useless or that consistent cataloging of names is a waste of time, their head may explode! Dewey would roll over and the Library of Congress would shudder! I agree that GEDCOM PLAC tag is not very well thought out as it relates to history, language and preciseness of location, but the standard set out is far better than just stating "The Bronx" I'm not sure where that is, as I'm sure no-one reading this knows where Naustdal is?

I Remember too those times when I went to read a church book from 200 years ago that indicated the place of birth for someone as "Nøstdal" and out of context that could be any number of places. We don't want our records that may be read 200 years from now to not contain all of the context we can provide, including Long/Lati if we can.

I always acknowledge that the current GEDCOM standard has flaws where it has flaws, but I always try to identify where the standard is not followed when it has an answer that, if followed, would solve a particular problem. I personally do not think that it is poorly written, it spells out precise grammar that should be familiar to data designers. It does in some cases contain a few errors that trained data designers can see through or understand what was intended, but as I've read on other sites, to dismiss the standard as being too flawed or being unintelligible to be followed (I'm not saying that anyone on this site or in this discussion said that) would be a mistake.

#59 SomebodySmart

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Posted 13 January 2017 - 07:13 AM

<< We don't want our records that may be read 200 years from now to not contain all of the context we can provide, including Long/Lati if we can.

 

Amen. I've built websites that are directories and I was amazed at how many idiots put up bank websites without saying what State the bank was in. To get in contact you'd have to use the online form. Or, "The Springfield Chess Club meets at the Springfield Public Library on Wednesdays from 6:30 to 9:00" without saying a.m. or p.m., or which Springfield.

 

This is why printed books have regular text, footnotes, end-notes and appendices. Don't forget good old-fashiened paper and ink for storing printed reports, and these can be stores at the Library of Congress for the copyright fee.



#60 SomebodySmart

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Posted 13 January 2017 - 07:39 AM

Some discussion will be in order for distinguishing between overlapping areas, on the one hand, and single place names, such as:

 

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Muscat and Oman

Newfoundland and Labrador

Rhode Island and Providence Plantations

Saint Kitts and Nevis

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

 

to name a few.

Consider:

 

2 PLAC Saint Mary's Cemetery, Peabody and Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts, United States of America.

 

Peabody and Salem is not the name of a place. Some of the graves are in Peabody and some in Salem. The above name is much more precise than simply Essex County, Massachusetts, United States of America.

 

The obituary may say that burial will be at Saint Mary's Cemetery.

 

"She was born in Chapel Hill, North Carolina on 1 January 1950." Fine. Most of the city is in Orange County but a small part is in Durham County. Maybe she even gave her birth place as Chapel Hill, North Carolina on a signed form.

 

2 PLAC Chapel Hill, Durham and Orange Counties, North Carolina, United States of America

 

has the problem that Durham and Orange Counties is not the name of a place.

 

It is worth noting that when the Kansas City Star says Kansas City, it means the Missouri side. However, I didn't know that when reading articles on line and some historians won't know it either.

 

Now, let's say you find somebody in the Social Security Death Master File, and the death residence ZIP code is simply 75501, which nowadays means Texarkana, Texas. However, until 1980, both the Arkansas and Texas sides shared the ZIP code. Old letters may have postmarks, TEXARKANA, AR-TX 75501.

 

The most GEDCOM-compliant solution would be to allow multiple entries such as:

 

2 PLAC Sault Sainte Marie, Algoma District, Ontario, Canada

2 PLAC Sault Sainte Marie, Chippewa County, Michigan, United States of America

3 _REPORT Sault Sainte Marie, Canada / USA Border

 

This would make it MUCH easier for software to match your Example family to other people with Example ancestors from Sault Sainte Marie.