Re: Mapping Facility in FH

Mike Tate

Yes, place names regularly change all over the world for political and administrative reasons.

Also, quite often the BMD formal GRO Registration District place in the records will be different from the actual BMD event place.

Automatic geocoders are designed for modern-day users and current modern place names.

They cannot cater for the needs of the relatively small community of family history researchers and support all historic place names.

That is why FH has a Standardized field and the Map Life Facts plugin has a Substitute field.

Those fields hold the modern place name to use for geocoding while the main Place name field holds the historic name for Reports, etc.


Mike Tate


From: <> On Behalf Of Robert Jordan
Sent: 08 January 2021 10:58
Subject: [family-historian] Mapping Facility in FH



There have been a number of different threads on this site concerning the Maps facility in FH. As this is a slightly different angle I decided to start a new thread.

Some people are trying to merge Places to be consistent and we now learn that the AI process of geocoding really only recognises the latest Place automatically and not historical places.

I give some examples.

Early in 1974 I lived in a place Keynsham, Somerset. On 1 April that year when I woke up I found that without moving house I lived at a Place Keynsham, Wansdyke, Avon.  Some time later, after I had actually moved, Avon and Wansdyke were abolished and my old Place became Keynsham, Bath and North East Somerset, Somerset. So in the space of 20 or so years the Place had changed twice.

Keynsham itself is interesting. Whilst being in Somerset I know for a fact that some of my ancestors were born and married in Mangotsfield, Gloucestershire some 10 or so miles from Keynsham. If however one looks up the event on the BMD website it shows that the Registration event took place in Keynsham. It seems this was as a result of the Poor Law of 1834 which designated Keynsham as the poor law Union for 19 Parishes or Places 14 of which were in Somerset and 5 in Gloucestershire.

Another Place is Tilehurst, a parish, which before April 1974 would have been Tilehurst, Berkshire (actually in the District of Bradfield). Then it changed to Tilehurst, Newbury Berkshire.  Later in 1998 The County Council of Berkshire was abolished it changed again. Part of Tilehurst became Tilehurst, Reading another part of Tilehurst became Tilehurst, West Berkshire (Newbury having changed its name to West Berkshire).

As a general rule if I find a document with a Place I will record it exactly as the document shows because historically that is the fact.

I would urge caution about using the latest geocoding when the primary task of a Family Historian is to record history not mapping.

Robert Jordan

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