Are you familiar with that old saying that location is key when it comes to real estate? Locations, and how they are named, is just as important in your own genealogy, and GenDetective™, as it is in real estate. Many GenDetective reports are arranged geographically enabling you to examine your family by the communities where they lived, worshipped and worked. Standardized place names are key to GenDetective helping you effectively plan your genealogy research trips! Why? If the same location has 5 different names GenDetective™ does’t know they are the same place. To get the most benefit from GenDetective’s analysis of your data, your location or place names need to be in a consistent, standardized format.
Standardized place names, generally start, from the most detailed location to the most generic, and follow the format: City/Town/Township, County, State/Province, Country. A couple of examples may make things clearer:
Pittsburgh, Allegheny, Pennsylvania, United States
Atlanta, Fulton County, Georgia, USA
Oakland Memorial Cemetery, White, Indiana, Pennsylvania, United States
Sometimes genealogists include the word County or Township to clarify place names, especially when there may be confusion, such as Indiana, Indiana County, Pennsylvania. What is most important, especially when using GenDetective™, is that you be consistent.
Take the following 4 places:
Doylestown, Bucks, Pa
Doylestown, Bucks Co, Pa
Doylestown, Bucks Co., Pa
Doylestown, Bucks County, Pa
All four of these locations will be treated by GenDetective™ as different locations because their names are different! Did you notice that the country was left out of the place names? GenDetective™ knows that Pa is the standard abbreviation for Pennsylvania, and that Pennsylvania is in the United States. GenDetective™ will treat the following three places as the same location:
Allentown, Lehigh, Pa
Allentown, Lehigh, Pennsylvania
Allentown, Lehigh, Pennsylvania, United States
How do you go about standardizing your place names? Many genealogy programs like RootsMagic, Family Tree Maker, Legacy, TMG, etc., offer the functionality to manage your place names, usually under Places, or Manage Places, or List of Places. See the documentation for your genealogy program for additional information.
By successfully using consistent place names you can take full advantage of the analytical power of GenDetective™.