Friday, December 2, 2011

Exploring RootsMagic 5 New Features - Post 4: The CountyCheck Report

I'm exploring the new features in RootsMagic 5, which was released on Monday. This series started with Exploring RootsMagic 5 - Post 1: The View Screens and Exploring RootsMagic 5 - Post 2: The Research Manager.  I posted Exploring RootsMagic 5 - Post 3: The CountyCheck Feature yesterday.

One of the highlights of the CountyCheck feature is:  "Report gives you a list of all events in counties which didn't exist at the time."

Let's look at this County Check report today.

From any View screen, click on the Reports menu item, and select Lists:

I double-clicked on the "CountyCheck" icon in the screen above, and was taken to the "Report Settings" screen for the CountyCheck report.  I decided to select Aaron Smith as my starting person, and select all of his ancestors and children.  On the "Report Settings" screen I selected "Select from list," and the "Select People" screen appeared.  I typed in "Smith, Aaron," selected the right one, then clicked on "Mark group" and the "Ancestors" option and finally, in the "Ancestor Options" I selected "Ancestors and children of ancestors" and "10" generations. Three of the screen windows are shown below:

I clicked the "OK" button twice and was back to the "Report Settings" screen.  The Report will be generated for Errors, Matches and Suggestions.  I clicked on the "Generate Report" button:

After about 20 seconds, a 95 page report appeared (top page below):

Aaron Smith's entry is shown on page 75:

Some of the things I've noticed from this report include:

1)  Aaron Smith (1765-1841) resided in Walpole and Medfield, which was in Suffolk County, Massachusetts before 1793, and in Norfolk County after 1793 when Norfolk County was created.  The report notes for Aaron's birth entry for 1765 in "Walpole, Norfolk, Massachusetts, United States" that Norfolk was eliminated in 1679, Massachusetts Bay wasn't created until 1629, and the United States wasn't created until 1777.  The report then makes suggestions for all of the Counties in Massachusetts Bay in British America.  The proper entry is "Walpole, Suffolk, Massachusetts Bay, British America" for this particular Fact.

2)  Rose Shepard (1549-1625) is in my database.  Her 1549 christening record is in "Redgrave, Suffolk, England" is in my database.  The Error noted is that Suffolk wasn't created until 1974 (yes, that's what it says!  Is that right?).  The suggested place name is "Redgrave, Suffolk, England, United Kingdom."

Hmm.  When was the "United Kingdom" formed?    The Wikipedia article for "History of the formation of the United Kingdom" notes that the "Kingdom of England" (which includes Suffolk existed from 927 to 1707, then the Kingdom of Great Britain from 1707 to 1801, and then the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (1801-1922), then the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (1922 on).  So the entry for the "United Kingdom" for a 1549 date is wrong, it should be the "Kingdom of England."  I just use "England!"

What about later times?  I ran a CountyCheck for an English family from South Petherton in Somerset that emigrated in the 1830s, and found:

*  A birth in Somerset in 1668 was not matched.  Does it want Somersetshire?  I can't tell easily.
*  A death in England in 1733 is suggested as "South Petherton, Somerset, England, Great Britain" so that matches the list above well.
*  A death in 1809 is suggested as "South Petherton, Somerset, England, United Kingdom" so that matches the list well.
*  A death in 1925 is suggested as "South Petherton, Somerset, England, United Kingdom." 
*  A death in 1820 or 1920 entered as "Belfast, Northern Ireland" offers no errors or suggestions, probably because Ireland (Republic and Northern) are not in the CountyCheck database.

I checked the Somerset problem. When you get the message from CountyCheck about the Fact, you can click on the county name. When I clicked on Somerset, it said that Somerset was a County from 1066 to 1974. So the error message was wrong. What happened after 1974? Was the county name changed?  I didn't check every English county to see if the RootsMagic CountyCheck system is correct.

Apparently the system does not differentiate between the different official names for Great Britain and the United Kingdom.

It said that "England" was a Kingdom from 927 to 1707, and a Country from 1707 to the present.  "Great Britain" was a Kingdom from 1707 to 1800, and a Country from 1800 to the present.

Other place names should be checked for inconsistencies between "standard" historical place names and the RootsMagic historical place names, remembering that we're discussing only the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and Australia.

In order to use this report, I will have to print it out, or save it, and use it to go into each person with a CountyCheck problem and fix the problem.  There is no link from the report to the person in question.

As I stated in Post 3, before I make any changes to my database, I need to make sure that the historical place names for the counties, states and countries are a standard used by genealogists. 

What about how other software programs?  I don't want to do this task again!   Do other programs standardize these historical place names?  If so, do they do it easier than correcting on every Fact? 

The "What's New in RootsMagic 5 Webinar" from 29 November is now available to watch, for free, at Bruce Buzbee goes through all of the new features in this webinar. I commend it to your viewing if you want to see how all of the new features work.

Disclosure: I have received free software and other gifts previously from RootsMagic at conferences, but I purchased RootsMagic


Lisa said...

Thanks for all your observations, however... the program does differentiate between Great Britain and United Kingdom, my report turned out to be 475 pages of just that error...
As for your remarks on Belfast, before 3 May 1921 Belfast was in Ireland, after that the official name is Belfast, Antrim, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom, if you enter it like it that it will produce an error because somehow the county of Antrim is not recognized by the software (have raised a ticket with support for that)

Howard said...

With re. to English county changes, this might help:

Also see: