Geographic Places Naming Conventions

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It is important that we try to use good geographical places naming practice, trying to use the best historical and geographical standards. There is some introductory information on this subject on the Wikipedia article: Naming conventions (geographic names)


Main Principles

  • Geographical Name as close to original administrative name at the time period of the event described (birth, death, burial etc).
  • Do not use actual or recent Place Names, if they are different from the time period described. Otherwise you may finish with ridiculous profiles of medieval person born in "Socialist Republic".
  • If you do not have strong source for the syntax of the Place name, try to use the place names commonly agreed by historians for a given language, country and region. Wikipedia articles can give you a good hint.
  • Do not use your own translations from original language of the source to English. They will be very often wrong. In case of doubts contact experience users, managers and curators.

The best procedure to enter the place name is the following:

  • First try to follow the Helper which propose you Place names through Google's geolocation service.
  • This Google service will return you ONLY modern place names, i.e. for historical place names you first use the Google location service on whatever modern location matches what you want. The advantage is that there's hidden data there, too, like latitude and longitude.
  • After that, then click "Edit Location Details" to open the list of individual fields. You can then correct the fields to whatever historical name is most accurate. When you save it, the latitude and longitude will still be valid.

No all CAPS

Avoid entering Place names in all CAPS (upper case) and similar all lower case - use mixed case as appropriate for Place name.

✔ Paris, France
✘  paris, france
✘ PARIS, FRANCE
✘ Paris, FRANCE


Multi-language localizations and Non-Latin alphabets

Unfortunately there is no yet multi-language localizations for Place name in GENI, like there are for Names, Titles and Notes. There are discussions how to treat now the Non-Engish languages and languages with a different alphabet than the Latin letters. The following opinions are considered:

  • Use English place names for Non-Engish languages geographical Places. For example, City="Moscow", Country="Russian Empire"
  • Use local language and local alphabet for geographical places. For example, City="Москва", Country="Российская Империя"
  • Use both English and local languages and alphabets for geographical places separated by / sign. For example, City="Moscow / Москва", Country="Russian Empire / Российская Империя"
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