Project folks and the use of New England period names

+3 votes
Concerning  Early Colonial New England, proper location names [ pre Jul 1776 ].  Without a lot of fan-fair WikiTree managers broadcasted a general request [requirement] for members to use ‘period names of town and counties in profiles but then they silent.  Without targeting the hundreds of members who have spent much time correcting profile, my question focus’s on WikiTree Projects / Project Managers / Project members:

I seems like “Project folks” are often some of the more knowledgeable WikiTree members yet so often the Protected Profiles ( New England pre 1776 ) do not include either Massachusetts Bay Colony nor Province of Massachusetts Bay.  Additionally, the date of 14 May 1692, the dividing date for the two names, is not advertised for those who don’t know the divide. .

Leaving off “Bay” from Province of Massachusetts Bay, is kind of like leaving off England after London.

So as a WikiTree novice I ask ……Do ‘Project’ folks have any chain of command that could help to revisit the general subject of using period names ( pre 1776 ) ( pre 14 May 1692 ).  Thank you   GW
in Policy and Style by Gregory Wood G2G6 (8.7k points)
edited by Jillaine Smith
Leaving off England after London would be perfectly satisfactory really.

Bogart didn't say "We'll always have Paris, France" just so people would know he didn't mean Texas.
I guess what made me smile is I know the tiny town of Paris,Texas very well.  I get your point, but it seems a proper name really does include first name and last name ie London, England / Paris, Texas.  In normal conversation we do not include the county connected to the city we spoke about but Fort Lauderdale, Broward, Florida, USA does help reseacher's that may live in Lisbon, Maine.
In the Wills of Stephen Hopkins, Edward Winslow, Edward Doty, and William Bradford, they each describe themselves as being of "New England".

3 Answers

+5 votes
Best answer

Oh, if it were only so easy!  At times were have gone through all the 'USA' endings and removed them, only to have downloaded Gedcom's put them back.

And at some point WikiTree's location field drop down lists changed (more than once) and then we had to go remove as many British Colonial America's that we could find, although I occasionally come across those too.

And then the drop down list changed again.

I don't believe the current list distinguishes between Massachusetts Bay and Province of Massachusetts Bay at all.  So anyone using that list, clicks on a place name by time frame, not necessarily the profile manager or a PGM member and we get a that version!

And some like early Barnstable, Pymouth have no further clarification, so I add in Barnstable, Plymouth, New England- but again, not a choice in the drop down, just my personal preference. 

And sometimes people remove New England, from any of the above, and/or change it to USA - not paying attention to the time frame.

We try, change them when we see them, but it's not easy to catch them all.

by Chris Hoyt G2G6 Pilot (892k points)
selected by Gregory Wood
Chris -  I was reminded that the basic conversation about period names has been discussed at G2G many times....I was not trying to pick a scab that has almost healed.  Your answer fit perfectly with my question by explaining more about  import  problems and the efforts to make the drop down menu's more correct (or helpful.).  I guess I had some interest in calling on Project Leaders (managers) / Project Folks (many super talented) to set a higher example by using the requested period names when the review & repair things we omit when making profiles. All the comments given helped me - and I thank each for taking time to help and I shall leave quietly.  I'm going to assume some 'Project Leaders' saw our conversation(s) and that together we are making WikiTree better for average members.  Thank You   Greg
+6 votes
Gregory, the PGM project (which covers profile of New Englanders 1620-1640) has about ten active volunteers (despite the number of people who carry the PGM project badge). Our primary focus is aligning these profiles with Anderson's Great Migration series, making sure that profiles are properly sourced. Editing place names is not high on our proactive priority list but done as we notice them.

If you'd like to help us correct place names, we'd welcome the additional support.  I'm sure that the other related projects would also appreciate the help.
by Jillaine Smith G2G6 Pilot (929k points)

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Thank you. I receive your answer completely. I probably do not fully understand how difficult it is to repair or touch up work done by other, some are amateurs in every sense.  My question may have had more to do with appealing to all Project folks to see and understand pre 1776 names for New England.  Most active member get weekly Wiki activities e-mail but Wiki does not ever advertise proper New England period names and their dates as something needing consideration. Yes, I do appreciate all the volunteers the work inside WikiTree and to that point, WikiTree advertising a few popular problem areas to members which might help the volunteer workload.   I guess I was hoping Project folks ( all ) have some kind of supervision and that supervision might revisit the general subject matter.

I have made a hundred corrections inside my family tree to others files concerning proper place names.  I currently rebuilding all my in-house record keeping / research stuff but will consider helping more as time permits.    Thank you for your work and reply GW

Those who migrated to the New England colonies were subjects of the English monarchy until the American Revolution.  I am of the opinion that the settlements, shires, towns, villages, counties, etc. in the Location Field could contain any one of the following names, as referenced in various English documents:  Petition for a Charter of New England by the Northern Company of Adventurers; March 3, 1619/20-"the territories where your petitioners make their plantation has been named, New England"; The Charter of New England: 1620-"New-England, in America"; The Charter of Massachusetts Bay: 1629-"Newe England in America"; The Act of Surrender of the Great Charter of New England to His Majesty: 1635-"New England in America"; Commission of Sir Edmund Andros for the Dominion of New England, April 7, 1688-"dominion of New England in America known by the names of our Colony of the Massachusetts Bay, our Colony of New Plymouth"; William Bradford, & c. Surrender of the Patent of Plymouth Colony to the Freeman, March 2d, 1640-" Corporacon of New Plymouth"; "New England"The Charter of Massachusetts Bay - 1691-"Our Province of the Massachusetts Bay in New England"; "Colony of the Massachusetts Bay in New England"; "Our Subjects in New England"; "Company of the Massachusetts Bay in New England"; "Colony of New Plymouth".  SOURCE:  Yale Law School, Lillian Goldman Law Library, The Avalon Project:  Documents in Law, History, and Diplomacy.

Many original colonies' land patents came from the corresponding country of control (e.g. England).  Most such patents were permanently granted.  This patents are still in force; the United States government honors these patents by treaty law, as with all such land patents, they cannot be change.

Our Honor Code, Section II, states "We care about accuracy".  Should all data be standardized in order for it to be considered accurate?  After all, "A rose by any other name..." etc.  SOURCE:  "Romeo and Juliet", Act 2, Scene 2; author William Shakespeare.

+3 votes
There is no chain of command which will strictly enforce a naming policy.  You can start a G2G post and we can discuss it as we have done a million times.  I think you will find there are many different opinions.

Personally, I think strict adherence to the "their conventions not ours" policy is misguided and often fails the test of common sense.  It is not how place names are handled anywhere else in the genealogical world, including the, the NEHGS, NYGS, etc.  The idea was to decrease confusion and conflict over place names, and instead the policy has done just the opposite (it increases confusion and conflict).

Specifically with regard to the Province of Massachusetts Bay, I find it excessive, unnecessary, and ugly.  It is not equivalent to leaving off 'England,' it is equivalent to insisting we write out in full Commonwealth of Massachusetts, United States of America.  Putting simply Massachusetts was never incorrect in any time period and was understandable in 1650, 1750 and today.

I know I will get lots of people who will disagree.
by Joe Cochoit G2G6 Pilot (265k points)
Joe, thank you. I do recall you telling me Massachusetts is never wrong ...and I agree basically.  I agree the policy did and has caused confusion, I guess I was trying to conform to Wiki stated policy ....if there is a policy lets all get on board,  type of thing.   If anyone should follow policy it seems that the Project folks should be the firs to do names as asked for by Wiki.

Yes, it is troublesome / ugly may be a little strong / but confusing is very proper.  I do not do alot  of G2G reading so I guess I've missed lots of conversation ?  My bad.   best regards  GW
I fix it when I see it Gregory - a lot of us do - and I do advise others to use the name of the place as they did and why and I find it is very helpful in sourcing as you are looking in old records and that is what they will be filed under - if you want the current location on there put it into the biography

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