Re-organising London, England Categories - Requests for Input

+13 votes
Hi, anyone who has tried to use the London, England categories will see that they are in need of re-organising.

The UK Project is looking for interested volunteers to give input on the proposed category hierarchy to be used for locations in the Greater London area as well as creating some naming conventions which are in keeping with those that are used for the rest of the UK.

If you have an interest in London, or categorisation, then please get in touch with me - we would really welcome your opinions!

in Policy and Style by Living Hoolihan G2G6 Mach 6 (62.0k points)
My instinct is to be very pragmatic with the London categories.  Unless you live here, or are a London historian, making a distinction between all the different civil/parish/county boundaries of London as they changed over the years does not bring any real added value when creating categories for Wikitree.  

I am working on some practical suggestions that will simplify the structures, as well as bring cohesion and respect the history.  I personally think we should retain categories linked to the old counties like Middlesex, but at the same time the County of London was created in 1888, so we have also to respect that some locations should not be linked to Middlesex (for example) after a certain time period.  

If you are interested in reviewing my suggestions, as said above, send me a message with your email address or state your interest here and I will be in touch.

The County of London 1889-1965 is a bit complicated. Yes, we have the LCC, but the City of London was something else again. At least by using Essex, Middlesex, Surrey and Kent you have covered the area.

You might want to look at Genuki and as well.

I certainly agree with categories linked to the historical counties like Middlesex. And determining when the boundary changes occur for a specific place is difficult. I generally use GenUKI to help with this.
Just want to say a special Thank You to Leigh for taking this forward on behalf of the UK and England Projects.   Thanks to everyone who is assisting Leigh in this mammoth task.   We really need your input and appreciate your involvement.
I lived in London for years but still find the categories confusing, for example my father was from Barking which has a postal address of Essex, but he always claimed to live in London, it is on the district line of the London underground etc. and at one time, perhaps still was in Greater London.  I have people there in several generations and if I don't categorise them all the same it looks as if they were in different places, yet I think historically some should be Greater London and others Essex. I would welcome clear direction on the best way to go about the categories in London.
My mother always said she was born in London but in reality it was in Essex.
Outer London borough's stretch well into the counties surrounding the city of London. I lived for some time in Hayes, which is in Middlesex, but is an outer London borough, and as such served by London transport, the red buses etc.

As such Barking, Essex is also the same. If you look at a London Underground map it gives you some idea of how far into surrounding counties the greater London region actually spreads.

3 Answers

+6 votes

Yes, very interested. I have a lot of Londoners to put in and some that are there. I'd love to help sort the categories.

I've just had a quick look and my first reaction is to keep "London" for such things as Freemen of the City, Churches etc. and put all geographical name (I see Twickenham has got into London) into the relevant counties. That isn't far from what we have at the moment.

I don't think Greater London is particularly helpful.

by anonymous G2G6 Pilot (284k points)
I agree, with the counties reflecting where the record can be found. This would mean including the now defunct county, "Middlesex"
Anybody researching  ancestry needs Middlesex., so I see no problem with that. Personally I'd like to forget all the modern names, which keep changing anyway. I don't find many genealogical references to South Yorkshire, which is why I placed Brampton Bierlow in the West Riding.

One problem, of which I am guilty, is creating e.g. Hounslow, Middlesex and then placing it in Middlesex. It appears to be duplication, but it does mean that the category is clear on the profile. It's particularly relevant when two identical place names occur in different counties.

Many London references are to be found in the London Metropolitan Archive, but I think that is a different type of category.
Thanks Martin!!  It will be fun :-)
Two points:

Could you reply to my direct email response as I seem to have accidentally binned your email?

I've been looking at the UK/England Project and can't find anything about this. Is it out-of-date?
Sure Martin, will email you separately.   Not sure what you mean by "out of date", but Maria asked me offline if I would be willing to look at London categories as I did a similar exercise for all the Irish categories last year and she is also looking for a London sponsor as part of the UK/England project.
+3 votes
With all category review, I think it's important to start by reviewing the purpose of the category.  What is this particular kind of categorization intended to achieve?  Location on a GPS, excuse me, Satnav, this afternoon?  Identifying where the records of this individual might be found?  Identifying the location AT THE TIME that the person in the profile lived?  Particularly in England I've noticed that there are current day political jurisdictions but also ceremonial jurisdictions.  These are fundamental questions which, once you've got agreement on them, will make the actual work of categorizing much easier.
by Jack Day G2G6 Pilot (470k points)
Jack, you make an excellent point.  London records are stored all over the place (with records stored both nationally and locally as well as across civil boundaries) so creating a category framework linked to locations where records are stored will not be very practical.   I think it makes more sense to organise this around London places.   There are some good models for this in the other UK counties, and in the Irish counties, so I think it is doable.
+5 votes
One thing I have learned about genealogy in London is that it can be a right royal pain in the gluteus maximus. I am married to a born and bred Londoner, who,  when looking into his family tree, found he was being led in a direction he was sure was not correct (parish wise). He found that many London Hamlets have changed borough on numerous occasions in various land shifts. He found one map here: which he found very useful.

Good luck :)

by Wendy Sullivan G2G6 Pilot (160k points)
Thanks Wendy - a great link!
Yes, Mapco is terrific. I've used it a lot.

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