Friday, February 8, 2013

'Tis a Mystery - What do these numbers mean?

I've been seeing numbers in place names on Ancestry Member Trees recently, and have been trying to figure out what they mean.  One of my readers, Sondra, emailed today to ask what they mean.

Here is an example:

The information on this particular entry for George Prater says:

Birth 1510 in 1679722, Wiltshire, England
Death 15 Jun 1564 in 1679745, Wiltshire, England

The mystery is:  What do the 7-digit numbers represent?

My guess is that they represent a parish in England from some master list of English parishes.  I thought perhaps they were FHL microfilm numbers for a specific parish, but those two numbers are for records from the Philippines.

Who can explain these numbers for me and my readers?  Thank you in advance!  Thank you, Sondra, for the email and the image!

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver


John said...

Cuirously similar to the "Northings" figure for the Wiltshire area, if one ignores the last number.

Eastings and Northings, which are sometimes used in conjunction with latitude and longitude.

This could be coincidence.

John said...

Alas, the number I saw next to a name for someone from Oxfordshire (1673116), doesn't match up with the appropriate Northing.

Unknown said...

I see numbers like this in locations for Canada to. I've always wondered what it was for.

Mister Tolley said...

There is a Clergy of the Church of England database that lists parishes and other information:
Every location has a code number which varies in length. Searching by county, Wiltshire does seem to have a lot of codes that begin "16....". A quick look at some other counties seem to suggest leading digits may code for major location. The specific example of 1679745 isn't found, but then that information relates to a long time back in history, and maybe that parish has long been abolished, merged or otherwise vanished.

Anonymous said...

Since this Prater is my father's line I got curious.
I emailed the tree owner, but her page says her last login was 2 months ago. So, not really expecting an answer.


Unknown said...

Being from England I think they are the numbers for the National Ordinance Maps that identify the location of the place. These are always 2 sets of 3 numbers for North-South and East-West. I have not verified this but that is what they look like. Canada probably uses the same system due to their English ancestry.

John said...

But these are 7 digit numbers. and the Ordnance System appears to require a 2 letter prefix as well.

Linda Schreiber said...

I think I've found it....
Hit link to Google Books here, and scroll down to page 16, section - "Grid Coordinate Systems". Page 17 has the graphics. Two digits for the county, three for the parish, and two more for the 'holding number'.
The next two pages are not included in the preview, and more explanation of a "holding number" might lie there.
From: Geographical Data: Characteristics and Sources
By Nigel Walford

Linda Schreiber said...

Sorry. Expected link to come through. Copy/paste the tinyurl....