28 August 2007

FTM2008 Suggests I not use the word "county"

In the help on place names, Family Tree Maker 2008 is suggesting that I not use the word "county" in any of my place names. Instead, it is suggesting that I use "Cook, Illinois" instead of "Cook County, Illinois." I'm going to continue using using words like "County" and "Township" as a part of my placenames.

Why?

Because it adds clarity is why.

I entered my own birth place in FTM as "Carthage, Hancock County, Illinois." FTM's suggestion was "Carthage, Hancock, Illinois."

However, when I entered my grandmother's place of death "Prairie Township, Hancock County, Illinois" FTM suggested "Prairie City, Hancock, Illinois." If there is a Prairie City in Hancock County, I have never heard of it and am curious as to where it is. Actually many of my relatives were born and died in Prairie Township and that is what I am entering in my database.

Family Tree Maker 2008 has never heard of Harmony Township in Hancock County, either. It suggested "Harmony, Hancock, Illinois." Frankly I think this implies that there is a village in Hancock named Harmony and it also implies more precision for a location than I may have. I intend also for those rural vital events where I only have a township name to include the word "township" as a part of the place name.

Family Tree Maker 2008 couldn't find Northeast Township in Adams County, Illinois---it's right there in the northeast corner of the county. It wasn't too keene on Keene Township in Adams County either, again insisting on dropping the "township" part of the place name.

If you think about it for a minute, whenever one refers to a county in the United States, the word "county" is a part of the name. I was born in Hancock County. I live in Knox County. One would rarely hear someone say "I was born in Hancock." Or maybe I'm just not listening closely.

I understand the theory behind the place name concept in FTM 2008. But I've had enough theory myself to know that practice is different.

Family Tree Maker 2008 suggests "Des Moines, Iowa" as the location when I enter in "Des Moines County, Iowa." How many people will know that (in FTM 2008) "Des Moines, Iowa" refers to the COUNTY of Des Moines (along the Mississippi River) and not the CITY of Des Moines (located more centrally within the state)?

I will continue to enter as much precision into my locations as necessary and will continue to use the words "county" and "township." I wish FTM's list of place names had done the same.

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3 Comments:

Blogger Randy said...

I wholeheartedly agree. Here in Virginia, however, one often hears:
"I moved from Augusta to Rockbridge"-
the word county being understood.

11:49 AM  
Blogger Greg said...

This is a perfect example of why FTM is, has been, and always will be the domain of genealogy beginners. It's not a bad thing to be a beginner, but it is a shame that so many of you bloggers and authors continue to serve up article after article on FTM at the expense of better genealogy programs. I'm sure a large percentage of us started out using FTM, but it continues to be woefully lacking in power, useful extensibility and flexibility. So, we (hopefully) move on to beefier programs such as Legacy, RootsMagic or TMG. How about some coverage of programs that don't treat you with kid gloves?

4:23 AM  
Blogger Michael John Neill said...

I appreciate the honest comments. There are a lot of beginngers who start out with FTM. Many learn one program and never migrate or experiment with others.

I am going to choose a few other genealogy software programs and begin discussing my experiences with those as well. The commentary will focus on smaller genealogy projects, using the software to organize, collect, etc. Our discussion will not focus on managing huge amounts of genealogical data.

Suggestions for programs to discuss or feature are welcomed and can be sent to me off the blog at mjnrootdig@gmail.com
Thanks!

2:09 PM  

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