[APG Public List] Historical vs Current Name Places

Michael John Neill mjnrootdig at gmail.com
Tue Mar 2 10:58:58 MST 2010

Why can't genealogy software be constructed so as to allow us to have
multiple names for a location, perhaps a current location name and a
historical location name? This would seem to solve the problem. I'm
constantly facing this dilemma whether with European locations or early
Virginia ones.

I'm not always a big fan of using genealogy database software for everything
either, although there are definitely tasks to which databases are extremely
well suited. It is just that not everything can be interpreted in those
terms. If that marks me as a Luddite in the minority, then so be it. The
more I research and the more I write, the more I am convinced that there are
many nuances in genealogy (as well as in life) that simply cannot be
quantified and that need written analysis and verbal exposition instead of
reduction to a database format--somewhat ironic for someone who was
academically trained as a mathematician/statistician.

Michael John Neill
Casefile Clues

On Tue, Mar 2, 2010 at 11:42 AM, Rondina Muncy <rondina.muncy at gmail.com>wrote:

> Renee,
> Whether writing or entering data into a software program, you need to keep
> both the older place name and the newer. I normally say, for example,
> "Providence, Burnet County, Texas, now Incorporated into Bertram." The
> Master Genealogist gives you enough fields to enter Providence; Bertram;
> Burnet County and Texas. Writing a genealogy or report allows a lot more
> latitude as the language is not repetitive. The important point is that if
> you look at a map of Burnet County, Texas you will not find Providence and
> Bertram has now incorporated a large area that was full of small towns. You
> need to know all the place names that a location went by.
> IMO, this is one of the downfalls of using a genealogy software program.
> The mind-set of a user can be that a tidy database has priority over
> accurate information. The limitations of the fields skew the ability to
> enter information or to cite it with exact accuracy. However, there is
> normally some kind of work-around that can be created. The logic of
> following the LDS method of only using current place names (which can change
> again) is also faulty. Compare this with the name given to a roll of film.
> The name reflects all or some of the contents, but is not necessarily the
> correct name given to the item filmed. The title given to a film is created
> by someone at the FHL as a finding aid. It is not to be taken literally like
> a library catalog entry.
> Rondina
> ________________________
> Rondina P. Muncy
> Ancestral Analysis
> 2960 Trail Lake Drive
> Grapevine, Texas 76051
> 817.481.5902
> rondina.muncy at gmail.com
> www.ancestralanalysis.com
>   On Mon, Mar 1, 2010 at 10:24 PM, Renee Zamora <harrisena at gmail.com>wrote:
>> I have a personal question and wondering if I could get a feel for how
>> others do this.  In the past I recorded name places based on where they were
>> located currently.  Simply because it was easy to lookup.  Then I started to
>> put the historical places based on the event's time frame.  Now my database
>> has part current and historical name places, simple because I never
>> transferred everything over.
>> Since starting to use new FamilySearch I see that they are trying to
>> record places as they are known currently.  Should I follow and change
>> everything in my database to reflect it's current location?  I could record
>> a place currently as "Queensbury, Warren, New York, United States" and then
>> in event notes put formerly "Washington County" to reflect the historical
>> event. Then in the individual summary it will note the change historically.
>> The benefit of doing this would help me keep my place list neat in my
>> database.  I just wanted to know how others are handling this, and the pros
>> and cons of each way.
>> Thanks!
>> Renee Zamora
>> www.harrisena.com

Michael John Neill
Weekly How-to Column Casefile Clues
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