Cumbria vs. Cumberland

March 11th, 2011

Well, in my quest for Real Places® I’ve run into a maddening problem. I like things just so, I’m afraid. So I want my place names to be orderly too. Family Tree Maker has a list of ‘real’ places built in. It’s not comprehensive but it’s large and many place names are automatically recognized and plotted on the map.

Unfortunately, some of the places on the list are not correct.

That’s right. Not correct. GPS coordinates sometimes seem a little off, but in some cases the actual name doesn’t jive with the ‘real’ place name. Some towns in England that should be hypehenated aren’t. Some are vice versa.

Now this.

Cumberland is a historic county in England. By historic I mean no longer existing. It was incorporated into Cumbria, a new county, in 1974. I know governments have to change things around to manage things better, but I wish they wouldn’t rename or shift geographic designations!

As part of my Real Places® program, I’ve decided to enter place names using modern designations. This can be a little confusing I guess. But my reasoning is that if I wanted to go there to do research, see the ancestral home, etc. I would need modern directions. Not a reference that cannot be plotted on a map.

So in noting Carlisle I’m putting Cumbria. Family Tree Maker says Cumberland. But I know I’ve see other things that lead me to believe it’s not their policy to use the historic designations completely. Which leaves me with a built-in list that is partially modern and partially historic. I’m going to have to get in touch with my inside man at Ancestry.