North American Place Names Updated

+21 votes

Great news! The promised redesign of the Colonial American Place Names spreadsheet has been completed. You can access it by visiting the North American Place Names WikiTree space.

This new redesign contains historical names for all 50 states and includes historical notes for further details.

Steven Tibbetts and I, with assistance from volunteers, have been working on this redesign for the last 3 months. We hope you find it beneficial.

in The Tree House by Barry Sweetman G2G6 Mach 3 (30.0k points)
retagged by Ellen Smith

Brief screenshot guide showing notes, notebox, and how to use the links. The links will usually appear OVER where you hover but if it is too close to the top it will appear UNDER.

8 Answers

+9 votes
Best answer
Thank you, Barry! Everyone should bookmark this sheet.
by Natalie Trott G2G6 Pilot (967k points)
selected by Barry Sweetman
+4 votes
I did a quick check of some locations I know a lot about and was dismayed to find that the sheet does not seem accurate. There are historical records that list names of locations not accounted for in this list and with the added complexity involved with using it I will not use it. I know that it would be too large and complex to have a complete listing but there are enough glaring errors in the small part I checked to firmly state I will not bother even checking it again.
by Dale Byers G2G Astronaut (1.6m points)
If you have specific errors please present them her so we may review the sheet.
I do not have the time or inclination to do that.
Thanks for your comment.
I guess if you would rather blacklist it instead of helping to make it better, that is your call. But the amazing lack of info just leaves me stunned. We don't know from your comment if you even bothered clicking the links to get the detailed info. There were also the notes that you can find by the upper right corner of the cell being blacked.

I am saddened that you HAD the time and inclination to say how bad the sheet was in your opinion but there was no time and inclination to say what you thought was a problem.

You have to remember that the sheet doesn't replace a 600 page history book but it does potentially link to about 300 or more pages of data on wikipedia. And after spending 3 months working with Barry on this project, the goal was to make it as simple and straight forward as possible with tons of complexity available on demand.

Sadly, this sheet isn't for everyone. I guess Dale, you are a person it isn't for. :(
Well said, Steven!
Steven, These kind of "improvements" along with the rude comments get for just not agreeing with some is the main reason I have been doing most of my research somewhere other than WikiTree. I am remaining vigilant on the profiles for my family to make sure errors do not get made, at least to the extent I am able to do anymore, but most of my time lately has simply been removing my self from the trusted list of the other profiles I manage.
Dale, he brings up a good point. If you had the time to go to the sheet, and discover that there are some inaccuracies, and post a message here saying to that effect, then why not find the time to at least mention what those inaccuracies are?
+6 votes
Thanks for the update. It will be quite useful.

The Colorado entry skips/simplifies some things. In 1854 everything east of the Continental Divide was either Kansas Territory, Nebraska Territory or New Mexico Territory (1850). In 1850, everything west of the Divide had become Utah Territory.  38th parallel to 40th bound Kansas Territory. The Gold Rush started in Kansas Territory.

There was about a 4 week period after Kansas became a state and before Colorado Territory was formed that it was back to unorganized.

There were plenty of births, deaths and marriages in those territories. My wife's ancestors straddled Kansas and Nebraska Territories (Boulder, Central City, etc)
by Doug McCallum G2G6 Pilot (447k points)
There is a note for Colorado Territory which states:

 "Colorado territory was created from parts of the Kansas, Nebraska, Utah, and New Mexico territories"

Thanks for your comment.
The note doesn't give timeframes and the table implies it was unorganized territory during that period, especially if a printed version of the table is used.

What is the criteria used to sometimes list divisions and other times not?
Thanks Doug! We're looking into your comments to determine the best way to correct it.

I've looked at your comments and have incorporated them in the cell notes and will check to see if we can add more specific data to the timeline. Thanks again!
+10 votes
Please remember this is only a "Guide" with links to help you with further research. Just as sources are useful to direct you to further research, so is this spreadsheet.

Please keep in mind the statement in the North American Place Names which says:

"It is not the intent of this space to dictate which terminology is correct; but only to provide information that will help you decide which name would be correct for your given situation."

But, if you find corrections that need to be made, please do let us know and we will be glad to consider and correct them! Your help will always be greatly appreciated.
by Barry Sweetman G2G6 Mach 3 (30.0k points)
Thanks for the update.  Is there a reason why the links don't work directly (at least in my browser)?  A left click does nothing, and a right click opens a small window that says "Get link ..."  Is that intentional?  I'm using Firefox 60.0.1 in Windows 10.
if you hover over the text you should see the link pop up that you can click. It is just like the data doctor spreadsheet if you have used that at all.
I don't know much about Firefox but I do know that a recent update in Edge has been forcing me to a redirect. Could it possibly be something like that  The links work fine in Googke, of course  I still have to determine what setting I need to change in Edge it's,  not an obvious one.
Got it!  Steven's approach works, I had just not seen that type of implementation before.  Thanks.

There should be a link pop up when you hover over the text. Just click the link. Barry is having an "oversecure" problem with Edge because the links leave the sheet. The link will USUALLY appear over the cell but the top row may show it under. (just saw you got it, leaving it for others.)

+6 votes
I have been waiting with fingers crossed - really wish I could have helped you guys are great and I am going to go back through all my people and check when/where so I have that right as I add better sources to my stuff!  I am betting this will be the key to helping people find better sources as well as they will be looking for the right thing I am sorry you already have naysayers - a thing like this is not going to be perfect in every way for every one- but I can see every effort has been made to provide accuracy and considering the scope I can just say

by Navarro Mariott G2G6 Pilot (150k points)
edited by Navarro Mariott
Thank you for your kind words, Navarro! It was a huge effort and truthfully I'm glad it's done.
+2 votes
my screen/computer/browser ... maybe the combination? ... doesn't get along with the document and won't let me look at it (I forget the actual message). Is there a way to download it as a file from the URL?
by Liz Shifflett G2G6 Pilot (528k points)
Liz, if you can capture the error and post it I'll see if I can fix it. I'll also look into a download option.
Liz, if you are using microsoft Edge, Barry ran into a recent update where every link brings up a mostly blank page warning you that you are being re-directed. If this is what you are getting, it isn't wrong, it is over-vigilant.

Either use another browser or tell it that Yes you wanted to do that. We are looking for a solution.

BTW, File, / Download AS but it will download the entire sheet with all 4 tabs. You can just delete the ones you don't want when you open it with Excel or Openoffice Calc.
I get the message: "The current window is too small to properly display this sheet. Consider resizing your browser window or adjusting frozen rows and columns."

But don't worry about it. I think that my solution would be new eyes or a new computer - probably changing my screen resolution would work, in the sense that the document would then work on my computer, but I don't think I would be able to read the results. I can try it when I have an extra hour or two.

I was just thinking that if there was a download option, Excel might be better able to handle it than my browser.

Cheers, Liz
I gave you the download option if it will allow it. Also, lower screen resolutions aren't the right answer for old eyes. At higher screen resolutions you use CTRL+ and CTRL- to zoom on pages you have trouble reading.
thanks for the advice, but with old eyes, I also have arthritis - it's a tradeoff, but I prefer to avoid repeated Ctril+/Ctrl- and go with the lower resolution so it's what I need everywhere, every time, without needing to make adjustments.
+4 votes
A huge thank you and round of applause to Barry, Steven and all those who helped with this task.  I know I will find it very helpful and will feel secure that the place names I use will be correct.
+1 vote
Is it possible to make the popup window (yellowish thingy that you see when filling out place names in profiles) match the spreadsheet?  I've not seen 'Colony of Virginia,' for example, on that list.
by Robin Anderson G2G6 Mach 4 (40.6k points)
The sheet was shooting for legal accuracy but in all honesty most people today don't say "I live in the Commonwealth of Virginia", they just say they live in Virginia. The only time it gets critical is when it switches state names due to changing territory names or state lines.

I would be much more worried about Vermont than I ever would be about Virginia. I'm sure since 1607 the common man simply called it "Virginia".

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