Yorkshire England

Hi folks
I’m new at this game my problem is how do I enter addresses for Yorkshire England. Yorkshire was split into ridings a lot of my ancestors come from Yorkshire so do I enter the address as Bingley, West Riding of Yorkshire, England, United Kingdom. Any help would be most Appreciated

I live in Yorkshire and also have a lot of entries for ancestors from ‘God’s own county’.
Basically yes as you propose, although I prefer to use e.g. Bingley, Yorkshire (West Riding) etc so that all places sort as Yorkshire first. Just when you think you have got it sorted then you will find that lots of places have shifted from one Riding (usually the West, but sometimes from the East) to another (usually the North). There is now also South Yorkshire, created in 1972 from parts of the West Riding. Bingley as you may know is now part of the Bradford Metropolitan Borough
of West Yorkshire.
All this makes it sensible to enter a standardised contemporary place name in addition to whatever it was at the time of the event/fact.

For conciseness I use W Yorkshire. When looking at sources listed in reverse and searched for Yorkshire, they will line up in their NSEW groupings.

In my note for the event I will record what county description was given. But my place will be converted to modern mapping county name. Sometimes for the place I will add a note from Wikipedia or JewishGen describing the history of the changes of name or county.

Thank you very much for your info Using Bingley, Yorkshire (West Riding) makes sense to me
Once again many Thanks

I’m not sure how you are using both a standardised contemporary place name and a name at time of event when you say in “addition to”. I don’t use the standardised contemporary place name except in a Note explaining what it is today and when it changed and possibly also why. I just use the name at time of event. Thus, I have Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire; Scunthorpe, Humberside and Scunthorpe, North Lincolnshire for different events at different times.
One of the snags about using the standardised contemporary place name method is that if THIS changes next year due to administrative boundary changes you will have to re-visit all the affected place names - otherwise you will be in the name at time of event category of user.

I like to standardise my place names and ignore the multiple administrative changes to county names and areas in the UK. I just record my Yorkshire addresses as just that, whatever Riding or compass point they may have been placed in at a particular time. No problem finding addresses on streetview just using ‘Yorkshire’. For RootsMagic you can always ‘GeoCode’ the addresses for lat/long if that is your thing. I also avoid using defunct counties (such as Middlesex) and use London for what has now been the postal address, for what used to be parts of Essex, Surrey, Hertfordshire, etc, for over a century. Please queue up to tell me I’m wrong here…:smiley:

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Sorry if my explanation was not clear enough. I enter the place name as it was recorded at the time of the event in the space which is labelled name. I enter the standardised place name in the space which is labelled standard.
My personal tweak for Yorkshire places is to place (East/North/West Riding or indeed South) after Yorkshire.
At the end of the day it is about what works best for you and your intended audience.

Hi folks Thanks for all your ifo
Stay Safe Keep Well

In terms of standard genealogical practice (and not just with RM), you really should enter the address or the “hierarchy” of a place exactly as it was at the time of the event you’re recording. If it was Yorkshire in the 19th century, then use the ridings. Historical context matters. (I have several American colonial ancestors who came from Yorkshire, so I’ve been doing this for years.)

Likewise, in the U.S., if you’re recording something for Harrison County, West Virginia, and the date is 1830, you should record it as “Harrison County, VIRGINIA” (because WV didn’t exist until 1863).

My son’s in-laws are Jewish and they have many events in the 19th century that took place in villages that have been located in 3 or 4 different countries since that date. (Eastern Europe is just like that, historically.)

Many thanks for the info
Stay safe

If my ancestor lived in placex in countyx in 1810, and then the county was split in 1840 or the county lines were redrawn so that placex is now in countyz, all the records, until 1840 would still be found in countyx. They never sorted through all the old records to move them to the new county repository. So it is really important to know the historically correct place name.

In my work as a professional genealogist and genealogy reference librarian, I have found that practices for geographic place naming vary widely because local history and a person’s or organization’s needs vary widely. Some of the replies here contain definitive statements about standards that I think don’t necessarily apply in all cases.

My opinion is that a system of place naming is potentially acceptable as long as it has clear rules and is internally consistent. Ideally, it would be able to seamlessly cross-reference variant names for a particular locale.

Just a few of the complicated issues involved:

  1. Not only international borders, but district, city, county, state, and every conceivable level of administrative division (civil and religious) borders have changed over time.

  2. Even on any given date, a place may have one “official name,” i.e., the one used by the government of the place, and other names in different languages.

Take, for example, the city of Oradea, Romania. In the Middle Ages, it had only a Latin name, Varadinum, which was in continuous use for official documents such as taxation lists through the 1840s. Turkish occupiers called it Varat and Austrian rulers used Grosswardein. The Dual Austro-Hungarian Monarchy was established in 1867, and the name Nagyvarad was formally recognized in 1872. However, the German language influence was sizeable and many people continued to use Grosswardein. The Romanians living there called it Oradea. Since 1920, the city has been within the boundaries of Romania and is now officially Oradea.

According to some of the replies in this thread, this place “should” be called either Varadinum, Grosswardein, Nagyvarad, or Oradea. This practice is logical from one point of view, but not all. The Museum of Jewish Heritage: A Living Memorial to the Holocaust standardized its holdings around the official name(s) in use during the Nazi era, defined as 1933-1945, consistent with its mission. JewishGen.org decided to standardize by using the modern name, the accepted practice among Jewish genealogists. JewishGen provides two geographical search engines that cross-reference the alternative place names.

In the absence of the ability to cross-reference names, a report on “all events in one place” created within RM (any version) would not combine all the variant place names into a single time line. [Maybe it requires a custom report–has anyone done this?]

Another convention in the US, and maybe elsewhere, that “goes against the rules” of using official names is to accept English versions of major cities like Vienna (Wien) or Moscow (Moskva) and English versions of country names like Finland (Suomi) or Switzerland (Helvetia). For American cities, we generally omit the words “county” and “state,” while for Lithuania, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and maybe other countries the gazetteer includes a foreign equivalent (apskritis in Lithuania, oblast in Russia & Ukraine) for some locations and not others.

  1. Some local naming patterns seemingly defy efforts at standardization. The Yorkshire variations are a fine example that have baffled me. Another example is closer to home: New York City.

The City of Greater New York was created in 1898 by merging the City of New York (coterminous with New York County, consisting of the Boroughs of Manhattan and the Bronx), the City of Brooklyn (coterminous with Kings County), Queens County (which a year later spun off Nassau County), and Richmond County (aka Staten Island). In 1914 Bronx Borough became Bronx County.

Search results for “New York” in RM include:

New York, United States
New York, New York, United States
New York, Bronx, New York, United States

“Bronx” results in:

Bronx, New York, United States
Bronx, Bronx, New York, United States.

“Brooklyn” is Brooklyn, Kings, New York, United States.

“Queens” is Queens, New York, United States.

What’s the logic here? Borough, County, State, Country? If so, what to do when the borough & the county are identical–repeat or not to repeat? What about New York (borough), New York (county), New York (state), United States? Pretty awkward.

The configuration “New York, Bronx, New York, United States” (above) doesn’t fit any reasonable scenario. Prior to 1914, to be consistent the sequence would have been Bronx (borough), New York (county), New York (state), United States.

To make matters worse, only Queens names are further divided by neighborhood, including one called Long Island City. “Long Island City, Queens, New York, United States” appears in the RM gazetteer & is accurate & consistent even though it’s within New York City.

I suspect many other genealogists have encountered similar issues.

  1. Disputed territories: Consider the history of the Middle East since World War I. The defeat of the Ottoman Empire followed by British and French rule created a patchwork of jurisdictions that is still unresolved today. Can genealogists use “the Gaza Strip” or “the West Bank” as official names? RM’s gazetteer simply says Gaza, Palestine or Bethlehem, Palestine, for example. Can Palestinian genealogists use the term “occupied territories”?

  2. Wartime: During WW II, for example, the Nazis had already annexed Austria and then added Czech lands. Where would a genealogist record a 1940 Vienna birth, Austria or Germany? Or a 1943 death in Prague–Czechoslovakia? Germany? Czechia?

Geographic names are complicated, and I don’t think there’s an easy answer, or necessarily only one correct answer, to every question.


Well said. For events in a place, the nearly universal solution would be based on geo-coordinates, not a name, ideally a polygon or finer shape approximating the boundaries of the area of interest.