Using Unknown in the Death Location Field [closed]

+2 votes
I have started to use Unknown in the Death Location Field on my Profiles where I have no verified location of death, but have a Date of Death.  I am now getting 631 Errors Wrong word in death location.  I would like to see this rectified to permit the use of Unknown in the Death Location Field.  If we do not know the LNAB, we use Unknown so why not permit it in this field?  For example, I run across more than a few folks where I have a Social Security Death Record that gives a Date of Death, but the location given is where the benefit was associated with.  Someone can have their Social Security Check mailed to one location and yet die in a completely different city, state or country so a guess using the location on the record can be extremely off base.

I just think it makes it easier on the viewer of the Profile that the location is Unknown instead of a guess and any information to correct this discrepancy would be appreciated.  Also the use of Unknown in the Birth Location would be a plus too though guesses here are easier to make given the location of parents when the person was born though here even just a country is more acceptable than Unknown.

Where people are born is much easier to deduce more often than where they died.
closed with the note: Just a Suggestion that went over like a lead balloon
in Policy and Style by LJ Russell G2G6 Pilot (179k points)
closed by LJ Russell

L J, if you absolutely must put something in the location fields, use World. wink

Perfect Lindy. smiley

5 Answers

+27 votes
Best answer
You don't have to guess - or put Unknown in.  There's a radio button for 'uncertain'.  And you could probably manage a country, anyway. Couldn't you?
by Ros Haywood G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)
selected by Robin Lee

This question was asked in January 2018 and the answer has not changed.

+24 votes
Can you not just leave the place of death blank? This would infer, to me at least, that the place of death is "unknown." You also have the ability to guess the location and mark it uncertain. I think a guess is better than "unknown" because it at least gives you a place to start looking for a good source. For instance, I have someone in my tree named James Williams. It is really helpful to know that he possibly died in Pennsylvania (he did).

I like the set-up the way it is. In fact I wish more people would put a guess in the locations, even if it is just "Australia" or "United States."
by Lucy Selvaggio-Diaz G2G6 Pilot (540k points)
+18 votes
The difference between the "Last Name at Birth" field and every other field is that LNAB cannot be left blank. That's the only reason "unknown" is allowed in that field; everywhere else, if it's not known, don't write anything in.

(Back when WikiTree's database was first set up, basing the unique record identifiers on a user-entered, possibly-indeterminable field was a truly Bad Idea. It leads to clunky workarounds like "unknown".)
by J Palotay G2G6 Mach 6 (61.8k points)
+14 votes
Agreed with the other responses: leaving it blank means "unknown". However, I would also add that you can probably, in 95% of situations, at least enter the country they died in based on reasonable guesses (and mark it uncertain using the button below). That helps the next person narrow down their search and hopefully find the magic source.
by Tracy Hope G2G6 (8.9k points)
+2 votes
Sorry was out all day yesterday and just getting to reply. And please note I am referring to mostly Post 1800 Profiles where there is a greater wealth of records readily available than those from previous times. Earlier Profiles are a whole different ballgame to me.

I decided to run various test searches on one of the Profiles I received the 631 Error on and discovered that whether I had put in their Death Location Field Unknown, United States or left it blank and each was marked certain or uncertain for each search, the Profile showed up in a search using First and Last Name and using the Date range of + or - 12 years and not using actual known dates for birth or death, but within the designated parameter, he showed up.  This includes using a blank, Unknown or United States in each search as a parameter as well.  He still shows up. And that was a bunch of searches...LOL

My only problem with my suggestion to me was if by using Unknown would this interfere with the WikiTree search engine and apparently it does not.

Yes, the LNAB field must be filled or a Profile cannot be created and Unknown is the WikiTree Policy as a standardized naming convention.  Using Unknown here does not negate the person had a LNAB birth, just at the time of the Profile creation no known source could supply this fact.  I am just expanding on this precept.

I feel using Unknown here lets a future viewer know that at the time of the Profile's creation or my last update, I had not found this fact in my research.  It's not blank because I am new to WikiTree and don't understand how important locations can be to future viewers/researchers or I added the name from a Find A Grave cemetery listing or some book of "Historical" biographies and did not bother to check or add other sources.  It is Unknown because my research did not turn up an actual location.

Yes, I could put in the name of the country I believe they died in and would probably be correct 99% of the time.  However, that would still be a guess no matter how sure I am and should be marked uncertain accordingly.  Therefore, in doing so I am stating I really don't know where they died and in essence by saying or inferring I don't know, logically the place of death is Unknown at this time.

Back to the gist of my question then, if a blank or using country name and marking it uncertain infers Unknown as the responses have pointed out, then why is stating the logical Unknown an error as it does not seem to cause an error in searching the database?  JMHO ;)
by LJ Russell G2G6 Pilot (179k points)
The location is a city, State, country.  Unknown is not a location.  Do you put unknown in the birth, death, or marriage dates?  No, you can leave them blank if it is unknown.  Location is no different.  Searches are done by name unless you are filling in more information, but name is the main criteria.
No, I wouldn't put Unknown into date fields as Unknown does not fit the field parameters and would cause an error and not permit you to continue.  Except for leaving it blank, there is no standardized option for an unknown date.  0000-00-00 just wouldn't cut it and would probably drive the search engine nuts.

Eh, it was just a thought.  I changed them to United States marked uncertain....same difference.  And ya can't fight City Hall.  LOL
It may not cause a search error but it does create a WikiTree database error, which DataDoctors then spend time removing.

No distinction exists between "I genuinely don't know the location" and "I don't know how to put a location in this box" because that distinction isn't needed. If you leave it blank, someone will come across it, see it as a challenge, and endeavour to find a source that helps fill the gap. That will also happen if you leave a broad suggestion for the location, like a country.

There is absolutely no need to put anything in the location field if you don't know. It's fairly clear that it needs to be filled and that's what matters.

(edit: typo)

Related questions

+5 votes
2 answers
136 views asked Jan 31, 2018 in Policy and Style by Michael Tyler G2G6 Mach 2 (20.8k points)
+5 votes
1 answer
+7 votes
4 answers
+2 votes
1 answer
120 views asked Aug 26, 2019 in WikiTree Tech by Raewyn Vincent G2G6 Mach 6 (64.7k points)
+8 votes
2 answers
181 views asked Nov 30, 2018 in The Tree House by Steven Harris G2G6 Pilot (510k points)
+8 votes
1 answer
+2 votes
1 answer
104 views asked Feb 9, 2019 in WikiTree Tech by Nick Andreola G2G6 Mach 5 (54.7k points)
+20 votes
11 answers
+6 votes
3 answers

WikiTree  ~  About  ~  Help Help  ~  Search Person Search  ~  Surname:

disclaimer - terms - copyright