Saturday, July 23, 2016

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - How Many Place Names in Your Family Tree Database?

Calling all Genea-Musings Fans: 

 It's Saturday Night again - 
time for some more Genealogy Fun!!

Here is your assignment if you choose to play along (cue the Mission Impossible music, please!):

Go into your Genealogy Management Program (GMP; either software on your computer, or an online family tree) and figure out how to Count how many places (e.g., towns, counties, states, countries) you have in your family tree database.

2)  Tell us which GMP you're using and how you did this task.

3)  Tell us how many place names are in your database and, if possible, which Place has the most entries.  If this excites you, tell us which surnames are in the top 5!  Or 10!!  Or 20!!!

4)  Write about it in your own blog post, in a comment to this blog post, in a status or comment on Facebook, or in Google Plus Stream post.

NOTE:  If you can't figure out how to do this in your GMP (Genealogy Management Program), use the Help button and search for "count places" then follow directions.  

Here's mine:

I was going to use RootsMagic 7 because that's where I'm doing my current additions, deletions and editing and is my most up-to-date collection.  In RootsMagic 7, go to Reports, then Lists and scroll down to "Place List."  Well, that didn't work - after a long time, I got a report with over 3,000 pages...and I couldn't see the contents.  But I asked for all of the events...big mistake I think.  When I asked for just a list of places I got 204 pages of alphabetical places, but no statistics.  Drat.  A look at File > Properties told me I had 9,385 place names but didn't break it down any further.  
I looked in the Help file for [place list statistics] and received no useful articles.  

So I made a GEDCOM file and imported it into Legacy Family Tree which has a lot of file statistics.  Here is a screen shot of the Family File Statistics with the Location Count:

I have 8,596 unique place names on my list (which does not include place details like cemeteries or residences). The top 10 are:

1.  England - 1,716 events
2.  Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts, United States - 1,484 events
3.  Massachusetts, United States - 1,459 events
4.  New York, United States - 1,428 events
5.  Eastham, Barnstable, Massachusetts, United States - 1,303 events
6.  Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States - 1,124 events
7.  Roxbury, Suffolk, Massachusetts, United States - 1,072 events
8.  Woodbridge, Middlesex, New Jersey, United States - 1,037 events
9.  Medfield, Norfolk, Massachusetts, United States - 995 events

I don't know why it didn't give me 10, or let me ask for more.  I'm not a Legacy expert, but I love their statistics!

I also don't know why the Legacy Family Tree number of place names is different from the overall number of place names in RootsMagic.  It may have something to do with place details or unused place names.


Copyright (c) 2016, Randall J. Seaver

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Geolover said...

In Rootsmagic, click File tab at upper left, scroll down to Properties, click there, and there is a list of brief statistics.

In my tree of about 12,000 persons, the stat for places says there are 6740. Reports for place lists do not give me a count.

Cheri Hudson Passey said...

I know y'all will be surprised at my top locations....

Mary Rohrer Dexter said...

I learned a lot but didn't do well with the actual assignment.

Janice M. Sellers said...

Family Tree Maker fails miserably at tonight's task!

Lois Willis said...

As well as using Legacy's statistics, I also did a manual manipulation of data from the Location Report in Legacy.

L Smith said...

Like, Mary, I discovered I had a mess. Rather than doing the actual challenge, I spent time putting my place names into a standard format. This project will take some time to complete, but it a simple task which can be accomplished while watching television or listening to podcasts.

Unknown said...

Getting the count in Family Tree Maker is easy -- go to the Places tab and read the number at the top of the list.

In my case, there are 2212 places listed. The actual number is a bit lower; some of these have other information that was entered before I learned how to do it better (addresses, for example). I also store place names as they were at the time, not necessarily how they are now, so there might be three or four entries for the same place in some cases (such as before and after the existence of the USA, county changes, and so on). Individual locations are probably more on the order or 2150.

Determining the frequency of use is another matter, though. No count is given on the Places tab in the places list, nor does the Places Report offer this information. I can look at each place individually to see how many individuals a place is linked to, but not the number of occurrences. Besides, realistically, how do you determine the number of occurrences? If I have a location tied to a marriage does that count once (as a marriage fact) or twice (as individual facts)? That one should probably be a single count since there's one event that by definition includes two individuals. But what about six people at the same residence, which is an individual fact?

As a guess, I'd say the two most common locations -- in one order or the other -- will be Hammond and Whiting, both in Lake County, Indiana.

At least I didn't just discover that my place names are messed up; I already knew that! I've been hacking away at the issues slowly, but it's going to take a LONG time to convert everything to the standard I've developed since entering many of them.