Use modern or historical place name?

Ask questions and discuss topics of interest related to the FamilySearch wiki found at http://wiki.familysearch.org.

Moderator: ForbesMM

Should the modern or historical name of a place be used in the title?

Poll ended at Mon Apr 07, 2008 9:53 pm

Modern
2
20%
Historical
0
No votes
The question is too simple
8
80%
 
Total votes: 10

ritcheymt-p40
Church Employee
Church Employee
Posts: 111
Joined: Wed Mar 05, 2008 7:33 am

Use modern or historical place name?

Postby ritcheymt-p40 » Sat Apr 05, 2008 9:52 pm

When an article about a place covers a time period within which the place's name changed, and one of those names is in use today, should the title have the modern or historical name for the place?

It has been proposed that we lean in favor of the modern version of the name, and that if faced with a choice we also use the version that people who live there would use.

JamesAnderson
Senior Member
Posts: 748
Joined: Tue Jan 23, 2007 2:03 pm

Postby JamesAnderson » Sun Apr 06, 2008 1:52 pm

Another option is to create a redirector to whatever we decide to do in some cases. For example, this is done in Wikipedia if something is known by its plural name and its singular name and the only difference is the 's' at the end making it plural.

I've otherwise have not decided yet on what my opinion is on this question.

jbh001
Community Moderators
Posts: 854
Joined: Thu Mar 13, 2008 5:17 pm
Location: Las Vegas, NV

Postby jbh001 » Sun Apr 06, 2008 5:40 pm

This question is too simple to ask. Redirection is best. If someone goes searching for Leningrad, it should automatically redirect to St. Petersburg (Russia), or if they go searching for Peking, they should be redirected to Beijing, or if they go looking for Greenville, Utah, they should be redirected to North Logan (or a disambiguation page).

The redirected page should also contain a note that the user has been redirected (see the examples from Wikipedia in the links above for Perking and St. Petersburg).

russellhltn
Community Administrator
Posts: 20734
Joined: Sat Jan 20, 2007 2:53 pm
Location: U.S.

Postby russellhltn » Sun Apr 06, 2008 5:56 pm

To answer a question with a question, is the information on the page about the place historicaly, or modern, or both? I suppose the modern name with a redirection from the historical name would be the way to do it. After all, we're dealing with trying to do research today, so some information as to where those records are located now is the piont behind everything.

The_Earl
Member
Posts: 278
Joined: Wed Mar 21, 2007 8:12 am

Postby The_Earl » Sun Apr 06, 2008 9:10 pm

jbh001 wrote:This question is too simple to ask. Redirection is best. If someone goes searching for Leningrad, it should automatically redirect to St. Petersburg (Russia), or if they go searching for Peking, they should be redirected to Beijing, or if they go looking for Greenville, Utah, they should be redirected to North Logan (or a disambiguation page).

The redirected page should also contain a note that the user has been redirected (see the examples from Wikipedia in the links above for Perking and St. Petersburg).


I mostly agree, although I voted 'Modern'.

I think that historical places should have redirects to the modern place. The modern, or 'what the people call it' page should be the actual page. Historical data should be linked off of the modern page.

For example:
Greenville UT should point to North Logan. The North Logan page should have a section that discusses Greenville, and has links to specific pages related to Greenville. Non of the historical pages should be named what you would name the Greenville page if Greenville still existed. The North Logan page should also include information about places that may have been part of North Logan, but moved or disincorporated.

The Earl

User avatar
aebrown
Community Administrator
Posts: 14686
Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2007 8:48 pm
Location: Sandy, Utah

Postby aebrown » Sun Apr 06, 2008 9:48 pm

The Earl wrote:I think that historical places should have redirects to the modern place. The modern, or 'what the people call it' page should be the actual page. Historical data should be linked off of the modern page.


For cities that philosophy may work (and probably is the best solution), but not with many countries. A simple example would be Prussia. There is no one country that you can redirect Prussia to, as it contained parts of Germany, Poland, Russia, Lithuania, and other countries (I think even some of Switzerland). So Prussia would need its own article. The same would be true of many other historic countries and states (particularly the agressive empires that conquered many countries).

jbh001
Community Moderators
Posts: 854
Joined: Thu Mar 13, 2008 5:17 pm
Location: Las Vegas, NV

Postby jbh001 » Mon Apr 07, 2008 6:53 am

In the case of Prussia, one needs to decide what the purpose of the article would be. How relevant is an article on Prussia to family history research verses general history research? In researching family history, most of us are going to need information on where to go today for more information. When possible, articles should contain information about place name changes and prior geopolitical groupings/associations, or have external links that do.

The_Earl
Member
Posts: 278
Joined: Wed Mar 21, 2007 8:12 am

Postby The_Earl » Mon Apr 07, 2008 8:43 am

jbh001 wrote:In the case of Prussia, one needs to decide what the purpose of the article would be. How relevant is an article on Prussia to family history research verses general history research? In researching family history, most of us are going to need information on where to go today for more information. When possible, articles should contain information about place name changes and prior geopolitical groupings/associations, or have external links that do.


Agreed.

At best, I think many 'historical' place articles would end up being disambiguation-style pages that would point to the current location of records. In the case of Prussia, it might be a map with an overlay of modern boundaries.

If it is incorrect of me to assume that the records would be kept in the modern country(ies), let me know and I can change my opinion.

Thanks
The Earl

Thomas_Lerman
Member
Posts: 172
Joined: Thu Mar 13, 2008 8:54 am

Postby Thomas_Lerman » Mon Apr 07, 2008 9:22 am

Although I voted "Modern", my answer is a little more complicated than that (as I believe most of you). I believe that a historic place-name may have several actions as with other comments already posted. Off hand, I can see the following options:
  1. Renamed location such as "Leningrad" to "Saint Petersburg": Wikipedia automatically redirects and has a small note on the top of the page that says that a redirection may have occured. I am not so sure that I 100% agree that this should occur automatically. Would there be any newbies that may think, "I wanted Leningrad, not Saint Petersburg" (not thinking or knowing about the change and obviously not reading the text at the top)? A short page, with information as to when it got renamed with a link may help with that. I do not know, maybe the note at the top of the page that it got redirected to may be good enough.
  2. Renamed region/country such as "Bohemia", "Prussia", "USSR", etc.: A disambiguation page may help with this . . . or even better yet would be a page that shows a map with the regions and how it is divided up currently . . . of course, all of the links from that page.

dsammy-p40
New Member
Posts: 20
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2008 1:18 pm

Postby dsammy-p40 » Mon Apr 07, 2008 10:46 am

ritcheymt wrote:When an article about a place covers a time period within which the place's name changed, and one of those names is in use today, should the title have the modern or historical name for the place?

It has been proposed that we lean in favor of the modern version of the name, and that if faced with a choice we also use the version that people who live there would use.


If there's a historical name, explains in specific article, links it to modern name and main article. Exceptions would be historical names covering large areas such as Louisiana Purchase, Byzantine Empire, German Confederation, etc., then modern place name links within these articles to modern articles.


Return to “FamilySearch Wiki”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest