This is largely a repeat of many previous discussions for the benefit of anyone new to mapping. Whilst geocoding (the pin in the map) is the only precise notation of a site it is not yet adopted by many users or research providers. Outside of geocoding the various styles, preferences, “County” or no “County”, “USA” or “United Stes of America” use Place Details or concatenate them with the Place is really a moot debate. Rootsmagic users appear to circle a deficient ‘standard’ mainly due to the difficulties of manual geocoding within the program.
Regardless of all the styles, concatenation or reporting preferences, if your pin in the map is very close to mine in the same time frame then we should maybe look for a connection.
From a research perspective the benefits of robust geographic recording varies from Country to Country, the availability of information to hand and to some extent the reliability of land divisions over time. The user and researcher must also gain some benefit from investing this additional work apart from simply visualising little dots on a map and that may not be realistic for a lot of users. The repeating discussions regarding what is the correct way are pointless as the co-ordinates of the Fort, Castle, Farm, Hospital or Cemetery are the same regardless of how researcher a, b or c name that site/location and geocoding also transcends language variances.
My research in Ireland benefits greatly from geographic analysis and this is supported by a land division system which has remained largely unchanged for many hundreds of years, however I am fully aware from limited USA research that is not the case in that territory. However from the USA records I have examined I can say they do compare favourably to UK & Ireland records in terms of detail to help prove family links and that adds further weight to geographic importance this side of the Atlantic.
Where a person came from in Ireland is historically noted at the Townland and there are ~65 thousand Townlands in Ireland contained within Parishes and therefore the names frequently repeated. That neatly leads me to The Standard the majority of RM users tend to dislike, I believe that standard is of Family Search origin, I find it very USA centric, inaccurate and sporadic in other countries and woefully bad in Ireland. So I was faced with a choice between skewing and misrepresenting my locations to fit a very poor RM standard simply to achieve Auto Geocoding or to create my own Ireland Standard which aligns with Ireland Place descriptions and manually geocode those locations myself, I chose the latter and I remain very happy with how it has helped progress my research.
Typically an Irish Place will be noted as a Townland name leaving the challenge to find which Parish it belongs to and the geographic location. More official records like land registry and census returns will note Townland, Parish, Barony, County like the Family Census return below;
The actual Parish of Ballyculter only cover an area 8.6 square miles in total or 5,471.2 acres and still contains 18 Townlands. Parishes often contain few Towns or major settlements and therefore would never be recognized by Rootsmagic Gazetteer and it’s a tall ask to ever expect such accuracy. Therefore I decided on the reliable land definition of the Civil Parish as my Place and the Townlands within as Place Details resulting in a Place print like below.
You can see that Patrick and Sarah both have events only a few years apart in both Strangford and Ferryquarter. If I prefixed the Place with the Place Detail that would create two distinct Place entries which, outside of geocoding, would have no direct association, these two Townlands are only 500m apart so certainly deserve to be associated within my database. Listing these visually would require Rootsmagic to provide an on screen hierarchical Place View which it does not. I can also see within the Parish a burial of Arthur De Grâce and with this name originating from French Huguenot a geographic family link still to be discovered.
You will see on the map below that the Townlands of Strangford and Ferryquarter are essentially the same geographic location, the difference between one location and the other could be as simply as a different building on the family farm, the Place print above associates these family events to my benefit.
Whilst this Place related discussion has gone on endlessly without any real consensus Places and time frames are one of the more important research indicators and each user must adopt a system which primarily works best for them in their Country of research. Whilst the system I have adopted is not understood at all by Rootsmagic and the Family Search standard it is internationally understood in the genealogy community. Whilst the Irish Parish is internationally understood I believe prepending the Place Detail with Townland, Cemetery etc. would only serve to lessen the likelihood of online text Place matching.
The final graphic below is the Parish of Ballyculter in its entirety and for reference purposes only, as I previously stated is only covers 8.5 square miles in total area. Interestingly Rootsmagic version 8 appears to be adopting OpenStreetMap which is the source of these map copies, on the example above the dotted lines and ancient Townland boundaries. The other software I am currently preferring also uses OpenStreetMap, will usually resolve a Townland search, as it does not depend on a fixed Place reference such as Gazetteer, facilitates Drag2Map geocoding and provides a time slicer so mapping events can be visualized over time.
I do hope taking time to document an approach which has worked well for my research in Ireland may help other researchers reconcile their own Country peculiarities and decide on a system which works well for them in the future.