could we make it more evident that place names are from the time of event please?

+8 votes
136 views

I have just been looking at the help page on getting started https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Help:How_to_Edit_a_Profile  

In it is a short section on standards:  For example, for a birth location, do you put the name of the place as it was called when the person was born, or as it's called now? (The short answer: as it was called when the person was born; see Location Fields for the long answer.)

Could we make it more obvious on the page that we go with the name of the location at the time and not modern name please?  Like maybe bold text on that whole sentence.  Don't know who is responsible for it, so don't want to just do an edit by myself.  I keep running into profiles newly created that use modern names.

in Policy and Style by Danielle Liard G2G6 Pilot (335k points)
edited by Danielle Liard
I know that E, I put it in the question already.  Needs some oomph so people actually see that sentence.
I agree - they are not getting it and I keep explaining it

1 Answer

+7 votes
Could we please have a field to put in the modern place name too? In my part of the world, there are so many variations of county and province that it’s a nightmare. There is the theoretically legal name (which interestingly is actually wrong on numerous wills) and then what I think the person would have called it - which is what I use. While this is a great principle, finding the correct name itself at one point in time isn’t always straightforward. Maybe we can cut people some slack if they get it a bit wrong.
by Fiona McMichael G2G6 Pilot (157k points)
edited by Fiona McMichael
Hi Fiona, that is actually a different question you are asking, my point is mainly on making things more obvious for beginners that we go with the location name as it was called at the time.

As far as location name variations, that is dealt with in the bio, including the modern place name.  

We have to set some sort of standards so not every profile will look like it lived on the moon, and this is one of the primary standards.
I wanted to emphasise how tricky it was to determine what a place name was at the time of an event. While a village or town name is usually reasonably easy, some of the other details are more fraught and difficult to determine, especially if there are no clear primary sources. Whose standard do you suggest we use? For example, the name Australia was first used in 1817, but it didn’t legally exist as a country until 1901. However, hundreds of thousands emigrated to a place they would have referred to as “Australia” not New South Wales, Victoria etc. I do take your point that the ideal is to use the absolute legal name - the reality is that it is not easy to determine. While a modern place name is not ideal or the standard, it is MUCH better than no place name at all, which will become the default. As we are encouraging cooperation, wouldn’t it be worthwhile educating new members by modifying the place name?

For example, the name Australia was first used in 1817, but it didn’t legally exist as a country until 1901.

But that was an OFFICIAL usage, by the then Governor, Lachlan Macquarie.  I didn't legally exist as Melanie Paul until my birth was registered, but I sure existed and was referred to as Melanie Paul before then.  cheeky 

As it was being used from at least that time in an official way, as well as all the non-official, it goes under the header of "use what they used at the time", yes?  Maybe the sticking point is "legal" and "used".

Hi Fiona, that is where projects come in, place names do change over time, that is totally true, deal with it extensively in my part of the world.  Each project works on setting up guidelines on this subject so people are on the same page, so to speak.  And you don't have to reinvent the wheel each time you come across one of these profiles that lived through such name changes.  If you are dealing with Australia, I suggest you check out https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Project:Australia
Danielle, I am part of the New Zealand Project, hence I know what a nightmare it is! I only used Australia as an example since it is well known. NZ place categories were set up in the NZ project based on the 1989 regional council boundaries. Many people use these modern regions as part of the placenames on profiles, which is absolutely understandable, though often not strictly accurate. Occasionally, I’ll change a modern place name, but now if it’s a big place, I just put the town name plus New Zealand. My point is, that any place is better than no place at all.

Melanie, thanks for understanding my point. The issue is who are “they”? The person themself or the authorities? (BTW Did you know that the North and South Islands of NZ were only officially created in 2013?)

(BTW Did you know that the North and South Islands of NZ were only officially created in 2013?)

Bah!  I say.  BAH! to "official".  It's just so far behind reality!  laugh

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