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#1 Rick Landrum

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Posted 11 November 2019 - 11:01 AM

Seeking advice

 

I am running across numerous places in my research that have an historic location, but the modern location is listed as a different place. Is it better to record the historic location, the modern location, or the modern location with a note pointing to the old historic location?

 

If I try to keep the historic, RM pops up a message that the location does not exist, but I can keep it. This is somewhat confusing to say the least.

 

Example -

"Campbeltown, Argyll, Scotland" (found in many records from mid to late 1600's). RM offers "Campbeltown, Argyll, Scotland, United Kingdom". If I accept that one, I get another message saying the UK didn't exist then. A second choice presented is "Campbeltown, Argyll and Bute, Scotland, United Kingdom". This also prompts the message the the UK didn't exist then.

 

I see many similar issues with County name changes in the US. These names of places are clearly following the historic changes of the name, but I'd like to know how others are handling this in RM. My initial thought is to list the name that corresponds to the time period of the event, and put a note in the Place List. But this does not stop the prompts.

 

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

 

Thanks

Rick


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#2 Vyger

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Posted 11 November 2019 - 11:54 AM

Unless your event pre-dates 1326 I would say Campbeltown, Argyll, Scotland is the accurate representation, just ignore County Check or if it becomes a pain turn it off.

 

There are many examples of this FS derived database confusion, I have it turned off but do use it as a reference when I am not sure of the correct format combined with date.

 

Always record the event accurately as it was at the time it took place, anything else is false, many people appear to enter modern names which pointless as, for example, the place I live is a "Newtown...." which only came into existence 40 years ago.

 

I use Notes and media to further explain the geography and location and have wished for the option for an appendix report to include the further explanation of Places containing such information when they are used in a report. That way the reader would only need to refer to the appendix rather than constantly asking "where was that?"


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#3 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 11 November 2019 - 01:56 PM

In summary, record historically appropriate place names, include notes and media to explain further, turn off RM's County Check, do use RM's Gazetteer but as a quick reference only and not as an absolute authority, use other references for place names in addition to RM's Gazetteer and use the most authoritative references you can find.

 

I do worry that notes and media will be lost on data transfer in some cases. For example, suppose I record that Thomas Bryan Sr. was born about 1725 in Augusta County, Virginia and that he died in Feb 1793 in Rockingham County, Virginia. Suppose that I further include in notes that the part of Augusta County where Thomas Bryan Sr. was born became Rockingham County in 1788. If I'm really worried about my notes and media being lost on transfer, it would be very tempting to list Thomas's birth place as Augusta County (now Rockingham County), Virginia. This is a highly non-standard place name but it is one that is not too likely to be lost on data transfer. And it's a technique that seems to be used by many researchers of the area for many different family lines, not just me with my family lines.

 

Finally, I'm telling you a little fib because Augusta County itself was not created until 1738 and the government was not actually functional until 1745. But most researchers of the area tend (incorrectly) to say things like Augusta County (now Rockingham County), Virginia for events that either took place in Orange County or were recorded in Orange County if the current location is Rockingham County. Remember that some of these early counties were huge, sparsely populated or unpopulated, and  not surveyed. It's a very different situation than for areas of Europe that have been populated for many, many centuries. For an example of an event that is hard to record accurately, there was an important Bryan deed that was recorded in Orange County in 1739 even though the land was in Augusta County at the time and is now in Rockingham County.

 

Jerry

 



#4 Vyger

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Posted 11 November 2019 - 02:53 PM

Worth a read for consideration;

 

https://www.tamurajo...FzZsqr_xogJusTY


Keeping ones customers and their important views at a distance is never a good approach

 

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#5 Rick Landrum

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Posted 11 November 2019 - 03:36 PM

Thanks a lot !! 

 

This is very helpful, especially the tip to turn off the county check. Somehow I had totally overlooked that, and the popups were what was giving me the most trouble ( aggravation). I think I was on the right track by listing the place as it was known at the date of the event, and then supplement that with notes. It seems to make more sense to me that way. I was putting these notes in the persons record, as well as editing the note into the place list. I usually research the place's history on line and then save the results in the place list for future reference. 

Vyger - that article was very interesting and helpful. Thanks

Rick


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#6 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 11 November 2019 - 06:02 PM

Worth a read for consideration;

 

https://www.tamurajo...FzZsqr_xogJusTY

 

The article is very well written, very well considered, very professionally done - and in my opinion mostly wrong!  :)  But I do think there are very serious and thoughtful people on both sides of this "to county or not to county" question.

 

I think a great deal of the problem with place names results from a disconnect between what needs to be stored in a database about place names and what needs to appear in reports about place names. And what needs to appear in reports can differ depending on the intended audience. An audience of genealogists is very different than an audience of non-genealogists at a family reunion. Unfortunately and for the most part, the only way to control how place names appear in reports is by entering the place names into a database in the same manner in which they are to appear in reports.

 

Jerry



#7 Vyger

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Posted 11 November 2019 - 06:04 PM

Vyger - that article was very interesting and helpful. Thanks

Rick

 

You're very welcome the Place discussion is a very old and varied discussion.

 

Gazetteer and County Check rely on databases which are outside the direct control of Rootsmagic so the frequently reported errors and omissions do not get corrected, best to just view them as another resource and not the best resource. Gazetteer is used for Auto Geocoding and another example is the very loose and inaccurate geocoding often applied some times miles from the city centre or beyond another village, you will see some of the shortcomings in my video linked below.

 

I have hopes RM8 will attempt to address the various needs and reservations regarding Places and accurate recording of historical Places whilst making geocoding easier, we must wait and see. In my opinion the discussion often falls into two camps, those wishing to see a particular 'text' in reports and those wanting accurate geocoding and therefore mapping, I believe both can be achieved.

 

https://youtu.be/qsgG8ch4BHU


Keeping ones customers and their important views at a distance is never a good approach

 

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#8 KFN

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Posted 12 November 2019 - 08:32 AM

In my humble opinion “IMHO”, the best solution is to move away from the GEDCOM way of entering places, (normally entered as comma separated, most specific place name -> most generic place and having only one output option) to a user enterable database structure where the entering individual can select a place that contains several alternative outputs depending on “where used”.

For example: For my fathers birth record says he was born in 1917 in Kristiania, Norway, his sister born in the same house in 1925 says Oslo, Norway. I could enter either Oslo or Kristiania and the system would know based on the dates that these are the same place. The system would have name values saved for, actual name on record, reports, mapping, long and short values, language options as well as a place to store a written history of the place.

When you output the data for a person, you could select the name value you want to use by person, report type or audience. Some people I create reports for don’t care about the history of the place name, just tell me dad was born in Oslo “I know where that is”, others want the specifics and accuracy (my wife’s father was born in a town in Poland that had two names concurrently, it depended on your national heritage, Germans called one thing, Poles called it by another).

Places names are the most complicated concept in genealogy. They are controlled by time, language, religious view, political view. The audience a report/document need to be made aware of these factors and good reporting will help them to understand your document better. The report generator should help you make this learning process easier.

#9 BradleyinDC

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Posted 12 November 2019 - 09:21 AM

Everything is going to depend on what each person wants: not just accuracy but importing/exporting, appearing in reports, etc. There is not universally perfect solution for all people in all situations all the time. We make judgement calls.

 

I think Tamura Jones offers the best foundation to start--especially if you're sharing information via GEDCOM.

 

So yes, I also recommend entering historically accurate place names (the name of the place at the time of the event), and to follow the city, county, state, country approach as much as is feasible. For me, YMMV, to make things as clear and accurate as possible, I use the historically accurate place then before the comma I add the contemporary county or other place name in [brackets, sometimes "now Germany" or whatever] so someone else reading it who might be less well versed in genealogy/history/family/etc. can read and understand. This approach helps me with research (sometimes things can be in both counties, eg) and it transfers via GEDcom which is important.



#10 Rick Landrum

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Posted 12 November 2019 - 09:33 AM

Thanks to all for the feedback. I think I have my main question answered. I am not a "genealogist", at most I guess I am an "amateur genealogist". However, I do have a desire to "get things right". My audiance (family and friends) are not genealogists either. They just want to know when and where something happened, expressed in a way that they can understand. It appears there are many differing opinions about how to handle place names.

 

I think the best solution, for me, is to follow Jerry's initial advice. Enter place names as they existed at the time of the event, enter clarifying notes as needed, turn off  RM's "County Check", use RM's Gazetteer as a quick reference, and use the most authoritative research available to help explain the name used in historical context.

 

I have run numerous report tests including events with place names entered in this way, and everything seems to work fine.

 

Thanks again

Rick


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#11 Rick Landrum

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Posted 13 November 2019 - 01:27 PM

One last question in this regard.

 

What happens when you merge places? From what I have seen in my own updates, it appears that all records with a given place are updated to reflect the change when merged. For example, if the place list has a dozen different versions of "anywhere USA', and you update one of them and then merge the others to it, then everywhere that those places were posted would be updated to reflect the primary place description and notes after the merge. 

 

I just want to be sure I'm not missing something before I do much of this.

 

Thanks

Rick


RickL


#12 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 13 November 2019 - 02:06 PM

One last question in this regard.

 

What happens when you merge places? From what I have seen in my own updates, it appears that all records with a given place are updated to reflect the change when merged. For example, if the place list has a dozen different versions of "anywhere USA', and you update one of them and then merge the others to it, then everywhere that those places were posted would be updated to reflect the primary place description and notes after the merge. 

 

I just want to be sure I'm not missing something before I do much of this.

 

Yes, that's correct.

 

Behind the scenes in RM in RM, if you have John Doe was born in 1790 in Virginia, what is really stored in RM is that John Doe was born in 1790 in "place #42" or some such place number. Then RM has a Place Table and if you look up "place #42" or whatever it is in the Place Table, you would see Virginia.  But you also might have William Smith who was born in 1832 in VA. Behind the scenes it might be that William Smith was  born in 1832 in "place #97".  Then RM has an entry in the Place Table for "place #97" and it says VA. Of course, the "place #42" and "place #97" things are completely hidden from you in the RM user interface and they are not exported in GEDCOM or anything like that. All you see in the RM user interface is the Virginia and the VA and what is exported in GEDCOM is the Virginia and the VA. So if you merge Virginia and VA together, then "place #97" is deleted from your database and all the events that previously were listed as being as taking place in "place #97" are now listed as taking place in "place #42" which is Virginia and which is the desired outcome.

 

The only additional thing to worry about is whether or not you are using RM's Place Details feature or not. If so, there may be an additional level of merging where you have to merge Place Details together. For example, suppose our John Doe was buried in a Place of Orange County, Virginia with a Place Detail of Shadygrove Cemetery. And also suppose our William Smith was buried in a Place of Orange County, VA with a  Place Detail of Shadygrove Cemetery (the self same cemetery). After merging Orange County, Virginia with Orange County, VA the remaining Place of Orange County, Virginia will have two different Place Details that are both Shadygrove Cemetery. You will need to merge these two Place Details together.

 

Jerry



#13 Vyger

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Posted 13 November 2019 - 05:16 PM

Jerry is correct regarding Place Details and if used these may well need to be reconciled through the merge process.

 

My observations of merging places is the primary (first selected) will be the resulting Place name, geocoding, if it exists on this primary, will be the resulting geocoding on the merged set. Apart from that other attachments like Notes, Media and Place Details are combined on the merged Place.


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#14 Rick Landrum

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Posted 13 November 2019 - 08:09 PM

Pretty much just like I thought....I'll watch the place details though...hadn't thought of that.

Thanks again

Rick


RickL


#15 Elynn

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Posted 05 December 2019 - 04:38 PM

When I first started doing genealogy many, many years ago, I didn't use the word County/Province/Parrish etc so I would end up with something like John Doe was born in Dallas, Texas and died in Dallas, Texas.  However, if the person was ACTUALLY born and died in Garland which is in the COUNTY of Dallas, Texas, then that kind of messes up my logic.  So I started using County/Province/Parrish etc.  I don't like to do the extra commas like in ',, New York' when I only know that it was New York.  I don't ALWAYS spell out COUNTY though.

 

That being said, I don't generally add United States of America, but I DO put other countries.  So I am thinking about starting to do that too.



#16 SomebodySmart

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Posted 27 December 2019 - 10:03 AM

Places names are the most complicated concept in genealogy. They are controlled by time, language, religious view, political view. The audience a report/document need to be made aware of these factors and good reporting will help them to understand your document better. The report generator should help you make this learning process easier.

 

 

Consider the poor genealogist who has to decide whether to say Falkland Islands or Islas Malvinas. And consider the poor cartographers who don't dare draw solid lines for this: https://goo.gl/maps/XFzEXdcEnqqZCpzZ6



#17 SomebodySmart

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Posted 27 December 2019 - 10:07 AM

Thanks to all for the feedback. I think I have my main question answered. I am not a "genealogist", at most I guess I am an "amateur genealogist". However, I do have a desire to "get things right". My audiance (family and friends) are not genealogists either. They just want to know when and where something happened, expressed in a way that they can understand. It appears there are many differing opinions about how to handle place names.

 

I think the best solution, for me, is to follow Jerry's initial advice. Enter place names as they existed at the time of the event, enter clarifying notes as needed, turn off  RM's "County Check", use RM's Gazetteer as a quick reference, and use the most authoritative research available to help explain the name used in historical context.

 

I have run numerous report tests including events with place names entered in this way, and everything seems to work fine.

 

Thanks again

Rick

 

You may help yourself to my resources at http://gedcomindex.com/reference.html which I put into the public domain.



#18 Vyger

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Posted 14 June 2020 - 07:44 AM

This valid repeat of software limitations appeared yesterday on the Rootsmagic Facebook Group which I don't believe is the best area for constructed discussion so I'm updating this thread so the original poster can benefit from previous discussions;

 

"There are quite a few places in and around Hungary that changed names and countries through time (thinking of the last 150 years). As an example: there was Párkány, Esztergom, Hungary, then the same city was called Štúrovo, Nitriansky, Czechoslovakia, and now it's Štúrovo, Nové Zámky, Nitra, Slovakia. Now if I have persons born here in those different periods, what's the best method to use the place names? If I use the up to date name, that's not correct, as it's not even the same country. But if I add these names separately, then I'll end up 3+ names for the same city, what makes listings quite painful. How would you solve this?"

 

The objections are really two fold and stem from software limitations which are not only within Rootsmagic, also genealogy software developers need to remain Gedcom compliant so do have certain restrictions they need to work within. I need to qualify this discussion by restating that Rootsmagic loses Standardized and Abbreviated Place Names during Gedcom transfer at time of writing and the developers are aware of this.

 

Entering the historically correct Place name for the time the event took place is the only correct data entry, no one could argue differently, so why do people do otherwise?

 

One reason is that Rootsmagic relies on a poor and patchy Place look up source, the Gazetteer, so if it does not recognize your Place entry it will not attempt to geocode it and manual geocoding within Rootsmagic is such a painfully prohibiting process people just avoid it or don't know it is possible. That problem suggests two possible solutions, a much larger and more detailed Place reference source with the possibility of a custom user add on and drag to map geocoding functionality as present in other genealogy software.

 

The second and also valid objection is "people who read my reports don't recognize the Place", well firstly I see that as ignorance and an opportunity to educate the reader but could Rootsmagic or other software help overcome this limitation and reason for users entering inaccurate information? Many users who enter historically correct place names add Notes explaining the modern place name, personally I also geocode and often add old map snippets as media to further define the actual location. However there is currently no option to print such Notes or Media in the Place Index so they are not available to the reader as reference. So why not facilitate the printing of such supporting material in any report index where the Place or Place Detail has been embodied in the report? I see that as the most obvious answer and suggested the same 8 years ago.

 

http://forums.rootsm...or-media-notes/

 

Whilst the original Facebook poster wanted to remain historically accurate but not have 3+ entries for the same geographical location in the Place List the third reason I would cite is from a research perspective and some users may not even realize they are attempting to fulfil that need. 3+ textual entries and their associated individuals and families are essentially separate unless you consider the weight of the geocoding, one may as well be in Texas and the other in Outer Mongolia without any possible community or family connection. From a research perspective these geographic markers are important indicators and when I move my timeline slider in the mapping UI of another program I see these markers at the same point on the map regardless of Place name changes over time as the markers are derived from geocode information.

 

Thus far Rootsmagic has not given any indication of such a timeline date slider and I believe that would be a miss if not incorporated in RM8 mapping. I say that as a modern day event overlaid on a historical event of hundreds of years previous provides little value to my research and not really indicative at all.

 

mapping-timeline.png


Keeping ones customers and their important views at a distance is never a good approach

 

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