I was prompted to write this post after I saw these two tweets.
Root Pursuit (@rootpursuit) November 17, 2016
TracingHouseHistory (@househistorybk) November 17, 2016
I have recently got myself a copy of TNG to work with privately (some time in the future I intend to get all my research online using it) and one of the features I am very taken with is the ability to view all your place names used in the various facts attached to each person in your tree. I was aware that there were different spellings of many of the place names in Unst throughout the records, but until I started to use TNG I couldn’t see the extent of differences.
It’s allowing me to easily normalise the spellings I use throughout my tree so that it is clear when the same place is being named. I knew a time would come when this normalisation task would need to be done, and I had originally imagined that I would choose the spelling of place names based on those used on maps. However, now that I’ve come to actually do the task, I have made a different decision.
I have found with a number of the place names that I have started looking at, that the most commonly used spelling is not the same as the one on the maps, and I have decided that it is more appropriate to use the most commonly used spelling as written by a local – all census enumerators were local men – rather than the spelling on a map created by outsiders to the area.
In normalising the place names I don’t intend to throw away all the other spellings, they will be kept as alternate spellings against each place name.
Here are a few examples of the place names that I’ve seen multiple spellings for through the various records for Unst, with an asterisk marking the chosen spelling.
|No strong favourite. Different in every document!|