How do folks use Place and Place Details?

In RM7 I used Place to identify a town, village or locality, and Place Details to identify a specific building or house in a Place. This worked reasonably well, except when it came to street names. I had a change of heart a few times (and it showed in the place data), but generally I put the street name and number in Place Details, except where the street itself was of interest separate to particular buildings in the street.

For example:
Place: Sydney, NSW, Australia
Place Details: St Andrews Cathedral, 300 George Street

Problems arose when I wanted to record a fact that happened all along George Street, then I tended to use:
Place: George Street, Sydney, NSW, Australia
and leave Place Details blank.

As part of migrating from RM7 to RM8 I’d like to clean up how I record place information, and I’d be interested to hear from others as to their approach.

TIA … John.

I use Place to identify a town or village and Place Details to identify a specific building, church, cemetery, hospital or house in a Place. Yes, I have some entries in Place details that are just a street as streets in many villages in UK did not have house numbers until comparatively recently and there are still some that don’t. Also in some censuses the house numbers are given and in some they are not. I would never put a street name in Place though. There are also occasions where Place may just be a country name.


Probably due to historical reasons but I don’t use “Place Details”. All of my addresses go into the “Place” section only and include as much detail as known.


I do the same thing – putting everything into the general “Place” field – but for a different reason. Everything I do in RM eventually gets posted online at one or more websites, and that’s usually via an uploaded GEDCOM. And when it creates a GEDCON, RM7 always seemed to ignore the “Place Details” field, so anything I typed in there was omitted.

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Do you Geocode all these Place entries manually? I allow the program to Geocode Places but have a big task ahead if I want to Geocode all my Place Details as this will have to be done manually.

I would stick to Sydney as the place and have the Cathedral and the Street name nested as two place details.

That way you can easily look up everyone in Sydney regardless of their place details.

It also makes geocoding more straightforward.

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I use only the Place field. I used to use Place Details heavily, but I merged all my Place Details back into the main Place field. The reason is that so much other genealogy software doesn’t support Place Details. It’s a shame, really, because Place Details is a really nice feature if your only concern is your data in RM itself.

When I used Place Details, I used it for cemetery names, names of hospitals where people were born or died, etc. All this information is still there, but it’s back in the Place field now.

A long term and never fulfilled user request is an option for RM to merge Place + Place Details when data is transferred outside of RM. That way, you could use Place Details in RM with all the attendant benefits and still have your data be transferrable outside of RM without losing part of your place data. This would only be an option and you could still transfer your data with the Place Details kept separate if you so desired.

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Could export transfer Place Details into Notes instead of combining with Place?

I have wanted to keep my Place simple & short for when its shown on summaries and charts.

If you put all your street addresses, buildings, churches, cemeteries, hospitals etc. in the Place field do you Geocode them too?

I honestly do not find geocoding RM’s Place or RM’s Place Details to be of much value. I’m sure I’m very much in a tiny minority of all RM users who don’t find RM’s geocoding to be of much value. I don’t criticize anybody’s use of RM’s geocoding system. I do love geocoding, and I do a lot of it. It’s just that if I store the GPS coordinates in RM’s Place or Place Details field, I get virtually no value from it.

One reason is that RM’s system of geocoding does not result in GPS coordinates being printed in reports. Therefore, I store GPS coordinates in a combination of RM’s Notes and RM’s Description fields. That way they print in reports.

I geocode down to the individual burial plot rather than down to the cemetery. That way, somebody can type coordinates from my reports into online map services such as Google Maps and see exactly where someone is buried. Or they can enter the coordinates into some sort of hand held GPS device and be taken very accurately to the specific grave site.

I have thought about using RM’s geocoding system anyway. But if I did, my Place or Place Details field would have to come up with some unique text for each individual burial site - something like “Section M, Row 23, Plot 12”. But most of my cemeteries are not large cemeteries that have such designations. I would have to invent my own, and my own would not be at all meaningful to anybody else.

Another reason for storing the coordinates in RM’s Notes and RM’s Description fields is that way I can get them onto Web pages on my Web site in such a way that you can simply click on them and be taken to a Google map with a pin on the site.

In addition to those issues, most of the areas I research most heavily have frequent and major boundary changes. Putting a pin in a modern map for an Anderson County, Tennessee deed from 1805 may put the pin several counties away from where the land was really located. So the automatic geocodes from RM are of little value in tracking my people. I track them by geocoding deeds myself, platting them out and putting a polygon for the deed on a modern map, not just a single pin.

But in answer to the thrust of your question, if I geocoded a Place field that included a cemetery doing it RM style, I would find the GPS coordinates for the entrance to the cemetery and I would geocode it to the Place field since there is no Place Details field. You could enter those coordinates into the GPS in your car and use them to drive to the cemetery entrance. But why bother when the coordinates don’t print in reports. And why bother when I’m really finding the GPS coordinates of individual burial sites within the cemetery and putting that information into notes that will print or that I can put on maps myself.

I on the other hand find geocoding to be of great value.

I use my desktop software for data entry and research. I frequently export my data to my website which uses TNG (The Next Generation) genealogy website software which uses the geocodes to display an event map for each individual. While I can do the geocoding in TNG I prefer to manage my geocodes in RM so that I have everything in one place and so I don’t have to run a long geocoding process every time I refresh my database with the changes I have made in RM.


I agree the cottage I am living in now does not have either a number or a street name. We have to use just a house name and the village I live in.

Thanks for all your inputs folks - just what I was looking for.

OBTW both Place and Place Details are exported in the Gedcom file from RM7 and RM8. The Place text is included with the PLAC Gedcom identifier and the Place Details text is included with the ADDR Gedcom identifier. I import the Gedcom file into GedSite to produce my web pages and the location sentence comes out as “… at {Place Details} in {Place} …”. Works a treat.

GedSite imports RM’s GEDCOM better than almost any other program around, including that GedSite understands and imports Place Details and RM’s sentence templates. But there is still a lot of software around that isn’t so kind to RM’s GEDCOM. FamilySearch and ancestry in particular do not accept RM’s Place Details.

I didn’t realize it until a few days ago, but about a year ago FamilySearch at least changed the way they store Places to allow cemetery names to be stored in their main Place field. It’s not a separate Place Details field, but at least they now support cemetery names. Previously, they didn’t want to store the cemetery name at all. I never understood how you could do genealogy without storing cemetery names for burials.

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Not that I import or export from Family Search but I am puzzled about why you are so specific regarding cemetery names. Does it not also store street addresses for residences or church names for baptisms - in fact any detail I put into Place details in RM. I think I have less cemetery names than anything else in Place details - probably because most of my ancestors were buried in village churchyards so the burial place is quite often exactly the same as the baptism place and the marriage place e.g. St Paul’s Parish Church.

Using geocodes is great when using them with the maping feature in RM8. I can see all of the places my grandparents lived in each census.

I can see all of the cemeteries in an area where my relatives are buried. I can even use it to mark the locations for the headstones within a cemetery.

ALso you don’t have to have the details connected to a person or event if you just want a spot to show up on the map.


There was a method behind my specificity about cemetery names.

When I used RM’s Place Details feature, I used it for all kinds of things - cemetery names, hospital names where people were born or died, churches or other venues where people were married, and the list goes on much longer than that. Cemetery names might or might not be the most common type of Place Details I used, but I do think it is a little unique.

Namely, I think it’s always important to know where somebody was buried. It might or might not be quite so important to know the name of the hospital where they were born or the name of the church or other venue where they were married. But for a long time the Place Name Standard used by Family Search did not allow for any Place Details information to be recorded. The standard is simply “city, county, state, country” with no allowance for anything else such as a cemetery name.

I can begrudgingly accept Family Search not recording hospital names and church names and things like that. But I simply cannot accept Family Search not recording cemetery names. For years I would enter burials at Family Search including a cemetery name and soon thereafter someone would remove it with the reason given being Place Name Standards.

So I do get rather “excited” when it’s impossible to record cemetery names. But I think all the other kinds of Place Details are important as well. I still record them all in RM - hospitals, churches, etc. It’s just that I now record them as a part of the Place field. When I switched back from using Place Details to not using Place Details, I wrote an SQLite script to move all of my Place Details back into the Place field. No Place Details were lost.

The icing on the cake is that Family Search announced in 2020 that it was now ok to include cemetery names in Place names. I had missed the announcement until just a couple of weeks ago.

It’s interesting to see different people’s takes on things but it would be boring if we were all the same and I respect everyone’s viewpoint. Personally I am more interested in where people lived than where they were buried.
In UK we now have 77% opting for cremation (and rising) so recording burial places may one day be a thing of the past. In fact there is no Burial fact for many of my family’s recent deaths, their ashes being scattered in a favourite place as requested. I do record a cremation fact of course.

The work I am doing is highly dependent on electronic searches. I have found great value in standardizing place names, which has included putting cemetery names, hospitals, churches, etc, in the Place Details field and have only one Place per “place”. I’ve found that I get more accurate “hints”, and it also makes it easier to find groups of individuals. This is particularly true when the “detail” is not in a city. For example if the “place” is “Jones Family Cemetery, NC” or “Jones Family Cemetery, Lincoln, NC” instead of “Jones Family Cemetery”;“North Carolina, United States” or “Lincoln, North Carolina, United States”. I can’t speak for how it works outside the US, but my experience has been that many of the searches will get confused by details outside of the standard city, county, state, county format. Now I’m trying to do searches on literally thousands of people to revisit and correct some secondary sources so speed and accuracy of them is important if I’m going to finish before I die, so if that’s not your need formatting may not be as important. I know people that don’t use country and abbreviate the state and put the detail in the place because it looks better to them on the reports. That’s their need.


My search strategy is always to set up the search parameters myself rather than relying on RM to do it for me. The exact way to set up searches varies from online site to online site. I will enter place names the way the site expects to see them, not the way they are stored in my RM database. But for example, I will often filter a search just be a state or to be just a state and county, etc.

I always use exact searches to the extent that they are available. Even with exact searches, wildcards and sound-alikes for names are often available, adjacency for place names is often available (e.g. Boondock County and all adjacent counties), and ranges are nearly always available for dates. When I try searches that are approximate and ranked, I always get millions of hits and the hits I need are often not at the top of the hit list.

When using exact searches, it’s important to at least start out entering the minimum possible data. For example, entering a birth date with exact searches will often exclude a record without a birth date such as a marriage record. I can add data as needed to further refine searches. And I always do things like include birth dates when I’m looking for birth records and include marriage dates when I’m looking for marriage records.

This strategy is extremely effective for searching. I have found it much more effective than the ranked and approximate searches the sites spend so much time and effort getting you to use. And it does not require me to use things like standards for place name from any particular site in my RM database. Such standards vary from site to site, anyway. I confess that a primary purpose for my RM database is reporting, and there are all kinds of standardized ways to enter data that I find unsuitable for reporting.

But the trick to all this is to set up searches yourself rather than relying on standardized data in your database to set up your searches.