Its getting frustrating - the changes in place location
I know this has been discussed in other places but I wanted to give my take on this topic. I do quite a bit of Dutch research (50+ years). Lately I've seen a number of people changing the location of the places where my ancestors were born in the Netherlands. Let me give you a good example.
I have ancestors born in Maassluis, South Holland, Netherlands. I doesn't matter to me if South Holland is spelled Zuid Holland, or Netherlands is spelled Nederland. But what does matter is people are changing South Holland to just plain Holland. Before around 1800 indeed the place name was Maassluis, Holland, Netherlands. That is correct for the time frame. But so what! The records are not stored in Holland Netherlands. The records at the Salt Lake library are catalogued by province in (Zuid) South Holland, Netherlands.
If someone who is not familiar with the history of the Netherlands would have a hard time finding the records for Maassluis. I'm sure if they can figure it out with effort, but it's a waste of time and not helpful because the records are stored in the correct place in South Holland.
Recently I saw this same thing in Germany. I'm not as familiar with Germany. I don't remember the name of the town but they changed from the province/county to Holy Roman Empire. Again, factually correct but not helpful. If I were doing research in that town I would have to go to great lengths to figure out where the town is located and then find the records.
I see this in the US too. I don't care about how US is spelled but I do care where the records are located. And having to go do research to figure this all out is a waste of time. It doesn't matter to me one bit the ancient history of the place where these people are from, it matters where the records are stored today.
The Netherlands at one time was ruled by Spain. If one of my ancestors was born in Leiden when it was ruled by Spain are you going to store a portion of the parish register is Spain? Of course not. Leiden is in South Holland, Netherlands today not Leiden, Holland, Netherlands. The records are in Leiden ,South Holland.
So help me with my frustration. Is this your policy now to make it historically correct for place names, or should I be working to make sure the place names conform to where the records are located today.
It is a problem when a location changes names and/or jurisdictions over time.
The best solution that I know of is to allow a location to have multiple names/jurisdictions based on time. Gramps software allows this feature. So in my personal database, I can have someone born in Germany, married in France, and died in Germany, while never moving. If you set it up, the name of the location is displayed correctly for the time of the event.
Setting this up for the entire world would be quite a task. After the disaster of standardizing place names, I'm not so sure this would be a good idea for Family Search to attempt. It would be nice, though, to have some obvious system of notification that other names exist, and have at least a minimal database used with a search filter.0
I still believe the best solution for Family search to adopt is where the records are located and not what was correct at the time the record was created. I worked many years putting my genealogy in Family search and in First paf the we n ancestry. I don't want the names of places changed. It messes everything up. I'm having battles now with people on family search. Standardized places are just fine with me because at least when I do research I don't have to try to figure out where the records are located.
What is the position of Family search on this problem. Do you want accurate places for the time period or tie the place to the record location today?0
Gordon Collett ✭✭✭✭✭
If you have never reviewed the Places database, which is the source for all the standard places, you should. It will quickly become evident that the goal is to have the place for an event recorded as it was named at the time of the event but to have this related to its names throughout history so that anyone can quickly find all the information they need about a place.
To take your example: https://www.familysearch.org/research/places/?focusedId=11815496&searchTypeaheadInputText=Maassluis,%20South%20Holland,%20Netherlands&text=Maassluis,%20South%20Holland,%20Netherlands
Here you can see that the suggested standard name does depend on the time period. Most entries link to reference sites so that Family Tree users can learn all they need to about a place which should let them figure out quite quickly where records were and where they should be now.0
Paul W ✭✭✭✭✭
I would have agreed with Gordon's comments, but the recent action to no longer use "Territory" for the areas that are now "States" appears to show FamilySearch has undergone a change of mind on this issue.
Gordon himself posted a link at another thread a short while ago, indicating the practice of standardizing placenames appropriate to the time period in question is now considered "confusing" for inexperienced users. We can only speculate on FamilySeach's future intentions, as employees rarely visit this forum to advise us about such matters.0
Thanks Paul and Gordon. Listing the place name at the time of the action is very confusing and will lead to extra work on the part for inexperienced researchers. I consider myself advanced for Holland. But if I get into the German records I'm more intermediate. If I have to work to figure out the place where the records are stored then it take more effort.
So this is what I'm going to do in my own genealogy on family search. I'm going to send a friendly notice to anyone changing Zuid Holland to Holland and explain how confusing it is for those not experienced in research. It's confusing to me too.
I'm the guy that originally spent hours even years putting my family on family search in the first place. It's an extensive pedigree where every name of my ancestors are known back 400 years.it was a tremendous amount of work. I don't want it goofed up by well meaning people who do not understand research.
If you folks ever get the ear of the people in the tower at Familysearch how about passing this on to them. It's really becoming a problem now.
Thanks again for your comments. Ira0