Saturday, December 4, 2010

How do you enter Place Names?

Location or Place Names are clearly important in our research. Having the ability to look at your genealogy application and see who had an event in that location.

The question here is:

What if the Place Name that you want to enter into your file is a Historical Place Name?

My ancestors came into Maryland. At the time the area was made up of Parishes. After the revolutionary was, the parish names went away and were replaces by counties. Over time, even those jurisdiction names changed as the boundary lines changed.

The issue that I have is some tools that use a mapping feature, where you can see, visually on a map, who had an event in a specific location.

I record what I see, for place names, and document where that place name came from in a citation.

However, the mapping feature may not know that "parish" name but I want to take advantage of that feature and to be able to generate a report of everyone who lived in that area or had an event there.

Knowing the Current Place Name, and with some features of various mapping websites, over laying the old name with the current name, I will enter the Current Place Name as well. A Source and Citation has to be created to let the reader know that the 'current name' is not the name at the time of the event.

Some of the mapping websites, genealogical societies, and historical websites may have information on when the jurisdiction lines changed, based on a date.

Any comments?


GeneJ said...

The mapping feature sounds great!

I record references to jurisdictions and places as I find them in sources (and citations/footnotes). In the body of material, I try to record the historical location name.

BTW,, has dynamic maps for some states, showing county formation and boundary changes.

Also perhaps of interest, articles for the _Register_ usually drop the county reference for towns in New England.

The most interesting mapping work I've done has to do with a project to trace my father's movements during WWII. In short, it's my objective to line up the location references I have for him (from Army Air Force documents, postal codes, notes on photographs, etc), and sources of information about those references. Some of those locations were temporary air bases, so that more formal locations didn't exist before the war; many didn't continue to exist after the war. I developed a pretty nice research log just for that purpose.

I know that some genealogical software comes pre-packaged with location information. Have read more recently that many prefer to delete the developers prepared lists in favor of developing their own location references as they input information to the program.

GenBox uses it's place list for the purpose of both sources (and related citations/footnotes) and the body or primary database locations (and uses "higher level"/"lower level" references). It was rather fun to use, that is until I ran out of "levels" when I wanted to enter the web name and address NEHGS' site, _NewEngland Ancestors_.

Hope this helps. --GJ

Russ said...

Just to be a little clearer on the Citation information about two formats or entries of a Place Name.

I can make Citation Text entries that can be included in EndNotes. I will make a note to indicate "current" place name, when the source has the place name at the time of the event. The Same Source and Citation information is used, just the note on the 2nd entry.

The First or original Place Name will appear in reports and the current name is there for the Map feature, the Citations would be there when the file is shared.