Why We Need to Include a Country Name with Genealogical Locations

by , under Ancestry.com, Ashtabula County, Ohio, Online Research, USA

One of the effects of using online genealogical databases in our research is that we need to enter a country name to completely identify each family history location.

Back in the day before online databases, American researchers just assumed that readers of their research reports about American ancestors would know that a location reference was to a place in America if there was no other country mentioned. Writing down the community (city, village, township, or populated place—if known), county, and state was considered to be adequate to identify a location.

This became clear to me today when I went to enter the death location to search on Ancestry.com for a record for my first cousin once removed: Frank Morley Green. He died in Andover in Ashtabula County in Ohio. As I entered Andover in the Death search field, Ancestry provided me with a drop-down selection of Andovers in its databases.

It included Andover, Anoka, Minnesota; Andover, Tolland, Connecticut; Andover, Windsor, Vermont; and Andover, Wise, Virginia, all followed by the country designation USA. Following that were two other suggested locations: Andover, Hempshire, England, and Andover, Tasmania, Australia. The last two entries obviously indicate the breadth and depth of Ancestry.com’s database coverage.

But, boo hoo, no Andover, Ashtabula, Ohio, USA, so I had to continue my typing to complete Frank’s Death location.

Incidentally, Ancestry.com does accept USA as appropriate to designate the United States of America. Some other database providers seem to prefer spelling out United States of America, which I believe is unnecessary.

Leave a Reply

  • Follow Me

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.