How do folks use Place and Place Details?

I find that using Place Details allows my Places to be at a level that is useful for successful automatic (web hint) searches and am pleased that RM has filled the names, dates and places into the search for me. Then, if needed, I edit the search on that website to focus better.

I don’t feel I am losing the fun of the chase by RM having effectively done the form-filling typing for me. There is still plenty of experience and skill required to identify the correct entry.

I use RootsMagic place details extensively. I also use FamilySearch extensively. However, I don’t do transfers between the two except for copying sources from RootsMagic to FamilySearch. FamilySearch allows anything to be placed in the place information, such as an address or hospital name or cemetery name. It also has a “Standardized Place Name”. So although the place may say “123 Main Street, New Orleans, Orleans, Louisiana, United States”, the standardized place name would be “New Orleans, Orleans, Louisiana, United States”.

I understand that FamilySearch supports both a Place Name field and a Standardized Place Name field. But to say that they “allow anything” to be placed in the Place Name field is not in accord with my experience or with the way the documentation read for many years. I regularly have had otherwise valid place names with additional information such as cemeteries or hospitals replaced with a standardized place name. It’s like both fields were really supposed to be the same.

As I mentioned previously, it seems as if they may have changed the rules in 2020 to allow the additional information, but I don’t yet understand all the implications of the new rules.

I’ve been adding ‘place details’ like information to FS for quite some time now and the only removal of that extra information has been by other ‘careless’ users, often via merges when there is no separation between the values of dates and places for events. What I have recently found have been an increasing number of FS standard place names that include the name of a church or cemetery, at least for UK places.

I have a number of other large projects going that have nothing to do with my own family history. One of those is a “whole population study” of a very early-settled and still very rural county in Texas (i.e., lots of migrants before 1830) which was part of a Master’s thesis back in the late '60s, and which I have been working on and writing articles about ever since. As part of that, I have visited every older cemetery in the county (I hope), trying to pin down the burial locations for all those early settlers. As a result, that database – which now runs to 8’000+ persons – has listings for more than 100 cemeteries. Some are connected to small churches, some are informally managed by the local community, so there aren’t a lot of compiled records, beyond what I’ve done myself. In a case like that, keeping track of individual cemetery names is essential – especially when the first arrivals of a family were born in another state and married in yet another state.

I try to GeoCode the place detail - for example - Hospital or Cemetery within a town/city.

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Reminder, the Place Details fields are subdivided by commas like Place fields, e.g., “town, county, state, country”.

  • The comma levels gets used to generate the Place Index in some reports like Narrative, and that index may optionally include the Place Detail levels.
  • RM provides some ability to have Places displayed Reversed, likely applies to Place Details.

So depending on how your want to utilize Place Details:

  • Use commas when you want explicitly separate field levels e.g., “Public Bldg., 123 Main St.” is two levels of fields.
  • Use other methods as separators to be treated as a single level e.g., “Public Bldg. - 123 Main St.” or “Public Bldg. at 123 Main St.”.

My advice is to experiment with all the features of RM8 you use regarding Places & Place Details in reports/exports, with a variety of location examples in a test copy of your database. Decide on your convention, before changing it for every Place & Place Detail location (my lesson learned years ago).


I have not seen anyone reference the “Abbrev” field in Places but began to explore it as I am actively cleaning up duplicate entries. Ordinarily I use the full country, county, state, town name but that gets to be a mouthful and tedious in Narrative reports. Particularly if I were to use the full name of the states where my ancestors lived such as the Commonwealth of Massachusetts or the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations (recently updated). So, I was happy to see that those abbreviated versions do pick up in the fact sentences and in a variety of narrative reports. Is anyone else using them? Any tips or “be aware of?”

But many cremations are still “interred” in a cemetery - not everyone keeps the urn on their sideboard!

Some are but my experience is that more are scattered in either a Garden of Remembrance at the crematorium or at a place that was “special” to the person cremated. We are not a very religious lot in England and the majority do not have a church affiliation. Places of worship are closing at a prodigious rate and most village parishes are now a combination of 2 or 3 former parishes.

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