Help:Uncertain Locations

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Here is our policy on uncertain, estimated, modern and translated location names.

See Help:Estimated Dates for a parallel policy on uncertain dates.

Contents

Historical Place Names are the Ideal

As explained on Help:Location_Fields, our style rule for birth, death, and marriage location fields is to use historical place names:

Our guiding principle is the same as the one for Name Fields: "use their conventions instead of ours."
Applied to locations, this means using place names in native languages and using the names that people at the time used, even if they now no longer exist.

Our style guide acknowledges that "this standard is often difficult or even impossible to apply." It is the ideal to which we aspire.

Our community has agreed upon style rules such as this one so that we can collaborate on improving profiles. If we don't have an agreed-upon ideal, personal preferences will conflict and be impossible to resolve.

Our style rule on place names enables us to say unequivocally: If you change a location field on any profile to make it more historically-accurate or to translate it into the person's native language, your change is an improvement. (Thank you!)

Almost Any Location is Better than No Location

A birth, death or marriage location is not required for creating a profile. Our community has discussed requiring a location, but currently, the only requirements for creating a profile are:

  1. a name or relationship to another person,
  2. a date, though it may be estimated, and
  3. a source, saying where you obtained the information.

Although locations are not required for creating a profile they are very important for genealogy. They are especially important for our collaborative family tree because without a location it can be impossible to distinguish between people with the same names and dates.

Our community has agreed that almost any location name is better than no location at all. If you do not know the historically-accurate place name in the person's native language it is better to enter an uncertain, estimated, modern or translated location name than to leave all location fields for the person blank.

The only exception would be if entering any location at all would be a guess. See Help:Uncertain for more about the line between uncertain information and guesses.

Even a continent is better than nothing

Our community has agreed that even entering a continent such as Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, etc., in one location field is better than no location at all, unless even the continent is less than Uncertain.

More specific locations are always preferred, even if they are uncertain.

Explain Uncertain and Modern Location Names with Research Notes

It is always best to explain what you entered for location names in a Research Notes section of the profile.

If a modern or translated location name was used and it is later replaced with an obscure but historically-accurate or native-language name, it is generally best to leave the research note to help future visitors identify the current location.



This page was last modified 21:22, 9 October 2021. This page has been accessed 1,363 times.