Standardization of Locations - a follow-up
November 04, 2009
This is a quick follow-up on last week's Location Standardization article which discussed the need to standardize your locations in Legacy.
While testing the new FamilySearch feature in the forthcoming Legacy 7.5, I randomly picked an ancestor, Hannah Hall, to see if the FamilySearch database had any more information than I had. It sure does. In the image below, the information I have about Hannah is in the "My Legacy Person" section. The information from FamilySearch is in the "FamilySearch Person" section.
FamilySearch has 41 different opinions of when/where Hannah was born. Some have sources. Some do not. That's just the nature of published information. These opinions were published by various researchers over the years. Most of the opinions are identical except for the spelling of the location. In this case, Taunton has 30 different spelling variations. Some are abbreviated. Some are misspelled. Some include the name of the country at the end. I suspect that most of this information was published to earlier FamilySearch databases, before the Standard Finder was implemented.
If, decades ago, when we started doing data entry of our locations, we had a standardization tool that everyone in the world had access to, we probably would not see many people with 30 spelling variations of the same place. And while the new Standard Finder, in its infancy, still has its limitations, it is laying the foundation for us to be more consistent in our data entry efforts.
You can begin now by cleaning up your own Master Location List. Watch this video for step-by-step instructions.
(Click on image to enlarge)
I followed the directions to standardize using the "Expand/contract" feature, and was certain there was something wrong with my program, as it only standardized about one quarter of my locations. When I studied my list, I found that every missed entry was in error! Even something as small as having entered the abreviated state but putting a period after it would throw off the auto-fix. And that was the most minor of my many infractions!! One glaring infraction was that I had put the name of a cemetery in the location in many cases. When I corrected this, I first went into options and opened the list of all those who had that erroneous location. I edited the location in the first person, creating an event for Cemetery and putting the name there. Then I used the clipboard feature to correct every other entry. All I had to do in each entry was to correct the burial date. By paying careful attention when I edited the location, using the proper format ending in ", USA", when I returned to correct my master entry, I could just delete it. The new location would be found in it's proper place, where I could combine the other erroneous entries of the same location. This tool took hours off the "one at a time" method. Keep up the good work, Joyce
Posted by: Joyce Rorabaugh | November 04, 2009 at 02:16 PM
Thakyou Legacy for reminding me that I needed to clean up my Master Locations. It was a huge task and took me 4 days. I used the "Expand/Contract" feature. It worked fine for some of my Locations. It also caused some other problems for me that required a manual location by location inspection. My first move was to purge all unused Locations. I deleted 1900 of them - mostly in the USA and Canada. Since I live in Australia and most places here Do NOT have a county - I found that the Geographic locator seemed to automatically slot the location name into the wrong slots and this then required a cut and paste to make it work. I also had many entries for the USA and Canada where a county, and state were the only record I had or I had a town and a state but no county as a consequence in many cases I was not able to fully identify the correct location of the place in the USA or Canada. Legacy offered plenty of options but I have no idea which town or county was applicable. I found in the end that working with Google maps in tandem with Legacy was a great help - but it did take time. The other problem is that there are many small villlages and towns both in England and in Australia that were not in the Legacy locator and I still have not located them for the purpose of the Clean up in the Master Location List. I still don't know what to do with the old German/ Prussia/ Silesia town names where today they might be in Poland and in yesteryear they were in Prussia or Silesia. I have made a best guess with these locations. I was amazed at the number of duplicate places I had in the Master list and how many items in the Master loction list had no business being in the list at all and required amendments to be made to the individual person record before deleting the incorrect entry. But thankyou Legacy for you timely reminder. It was an interesting task to go through.
Posted by: Mike Piercy | November 04, 2009 at 08:13 PM
I think that while there is a need for some standardisation, it can be overdone. For instance, I have a lot of ancestors in North Devon, particularly in the parishes of Pancrasweek, Pyworthy, Holsworthy and Bridgerule. All of these are in the "hundred" of Black Torrington. Legacy allows me to use the "hundred" between the parish and the county in the location list, and this is useful when sorting the location list, as it can show parishes grouped together in hundreds. This can be a useful tool in hunting for missing links, as people didn't tend to travel very far when seeking a spouse. Occasionally, I like to use other genealogy programs like FTM and RootsMagic; although these can read Legacy files, they aren't flexible enough to deal with hundreds, and don't recognise my locations.
Posted by: Colin Wilton-Davies | November 05, 2009 at 12:39 AM
T get it correct one should always use the location as it is known at the time of the event in many place this will change a number of time ad still changes today ie Woolwich Kent, England 1868-1889 Woolwich London, England 1889-1965: after 1965-1974 included in Greenwich Greater London, England Woolwich was created 1/7/1868 out of Greenwich and Lewusham and abbolished in 1/10/1969 so any program has away to go as in the states countise vary from time to time so it will be an interesting time.
Posted by: Arthur | November 05, 2009 at 08:32 PM
I am looking to standardize my location, but am wonder how/where to put cemetery locations. I have been putting them as part of the burial place location. I want them to show-up when I print Family Group Sheet or other reports.
Posted by: www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1086223552 | November 09, 2009 at 07:59 AM
Ralph - the burial address is a good place for the cemetery information. This is accessed by clicking on the Plus sign just to the right of the burial information. Click on Burial Address. If you want this to print in reports, in the report's Report Options screen, just turn on "Addr for birth, chr, death, bur., marr." option on the Include tab.
Posted by: Geoff Rasmussen | November 09, 2009 at 09:49 AM
Anyone know how to handle Washington, D.C. as a location? I don't think there is a county.
Posted by: Bill Hurley | November 13, 2009 at 10:01 PM
Colin. You said 'Legacy allows me to use the "hundred" between the parish and the county in the location list'.
How does this work? I've been trying and failing to insert extra information in the location list.
Posted by: Toby Carter | November 22, 2009 at 02:23 AM
I have lots of family in Washington, D.C and I believe it should be Washington, District of Columbia. Sometimes I see
Washington City, District of Columbia
Georgetown, Washington, District of Columbia
District of Columbia should be spelled out for sure.
Posted by: Amy Anderson | December 03, 2009 at 09:28 AM
I would like to know the proper way to do locations in England. For instance is it London, London, England, United Kingdom OR London, London, , England? If there is no province/state or county do you have to leave a blank?
Posted by: Mark | December 16, 2009 at 05:01 PM
My biggest problem is that the locations are designed for the USA, with town,county,state,USA and all my locations are in the UK or Australia where we only have town,state,Australia or town,county,Country (for the UK).
So, either my location list is full of town, something, , country or I have to go through the list and manually remove the redundant commas.
It would be really nice if the location list software was able to recognise the country and format entries accordingly.
Also, it would be really good to have two short names because sometimes I want just the town and county/state to appear and sometimes just the name. E.g. "He appeared in the 1901 English census in Sheffield, Yorkshire" or "His birth was registered in the March 1896 quarter at Sheffield"
Posted by: Tony Rolfe | January 12, 2010 at 03:31 PM
I am undertaking the standardized location task. Questions, if a family member lived in a "territory" before statehood, or in the "Colony of Massachusettes" how should those be entered?
Please recommend some resources that describe these type of situations and also some resources for foreign locations when they do not follow the same town/city - Couny/Parish - State - Country format.
Posted by: Cheryl Stegert | February 16, 2010 at 11:38 AM