[APG Public List] [APG Members] translate place names

LBoswell laboswell at rogers.com
Sun Oct 24 06:06:18 MDT 2010

Place the Polish name in brackets for the English speaking audience as a 
future English researcher will then have the Polish name too.  Not as 
necessary to put the English translation in brackets when presenting it to a 
Polish audience as it probably isn't necessary for any future research by 
Polish researchers (though I suppose if someone they looked at research 
previously done by an English speaking researcher it might be useful).

For me the more pressing issue is whether to use modern place names or the 
original period name.  Problem with modern names is that they continue to 
change and evolve constantly, with municipal amalgamations for example, so 
at some point the 'modern name' chosen will appear to a future researcher to 
be a old version of the future 'modern name'.  In one case here a city used 
to be in a county along with half a dozen other cities.  Now they're all in 
one new city.  The county is now in just one part of the city (rather than 
the original city of the same name being just part of the county!). 
Municipal names weren't static in the past, nor are the modern versions. 
The real question maybe is how to deal with change.
I use the period name with the current modern jurisdictional name in 
brackets. Even then the jurisdiction name used also varies by type of 

This is a whole area of genealogy that probably will never be satisfactorily 
defined as to what's right and wrong.

There's a good article on this latter question (period name or modern one) 
that I've been planning to start a discussion about on another list.

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Stephen Danko
  To: Rolgeiger at aol.com ; apgmembersonlylist at apgen.org ; 
apgpubliclist at apgen.org
  Sent: Sunday, October 24, 2010 4:02 AM
  Subject: Re: [APG Members] [APG Public List] translate place names

  I have been struggling with this same issue with place names in Poland.  I 
have decided that the language in which I will spell place names depends on 
the target audience.  If I am writing for an English speaking audience, I 
translate place names into English.  If I am writing for a Polish speaking 
audience, I use Polish language place names.  (By audience, I don't mean 
just the audience at a lecture, but also the readers of my written work.) 
Language differences don't exist for all place names, however.  Warszawa in 
Polish is spelled Warsaw in English.  However, Nowa Wieś in Polish is never 
translated as New Village in English (although the kreska "s" ś is not used 
in English).

  Best regards,
  Stephen J. Danko

  From: "Rolgeiger at aol.com" <Rolgeiger at aol.com>
  To: apgmembersonlylist at apgen.org; apgpubliclist at apgen.org
  Sent: Sun, October 24, 2010 12:01:59 AM
  Subject: [APG Public List] translate place names


  I wonder whether it make sense to translate place names from the origin 
language into my own.

  Like German Koeln into Cologne or Niedersachsen into Lower Saxony. Or 
Bavaria which originally is Bayern.

  I think it leads into trouble once I have to do with orignal documents 
from that area for they will not have translated their names into any other 

  I realize that Cologne is about the way an English speaking person would 
pronounce the German sound "Koeln". But doing research about emigrants in 
upstate New York, I don't translate for example "Perkinsville, New York" 
into "Perkinsweiler, Neu York". Would not make sense for no records exist 
with "Perkinsweiler" but all with "Perkinsville".

  Same with names having a "sch" which are pretty much often transformed 
into the common Englisch "sh".

  Mit freundlichen Gruessen

  Roland Geiger, St. Wendel, Deutschland (= Germany)

  PS: Sorry, I just got up and had had no coffee yet. Otherwise I may not 
have asked that question. 
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