Tuesday, April 13, 2010

London addresses

I'm currently wrestling with exactly how to load London addresses into my genealogy file. This isn't such a problem for non-London addresses as the parish and village are generally the same and the street name is often non-existent.

In the source attached to any event I've been quite specific in listing full parish name (eg St David West Holloway), then the broad suburb (eg Islington), then county (eg Middlesex). However in terms of actually filling in the address field of the event the lines get blurred.

Part of the problem I think stems from the fact that PAF only has a certain amount of space to print addresses, so I know it will abbreviate parts of it to initials only when I print out the individual's summary page - understandable, but useless in practice. This means I have a tendency to try and abbreviate things myself - no point putting "24 Alfred Street, St David West Holloway, Islington, Middlesex" when I know on printouts it will just show "24 Alfred Street, SDWH, I, Middlesex". I'm thinking I might change my self-imposed rule and just put the Chapman code for the county instead of spelling out the county in full but this won't get me back that many characters.

Another part of the problem is the fact that I'm not a Londoner myself so my geographical grasp of suburbs is probably pretty shaky - it bugs me that I don't know if I'm using the name it would actually be known as in practice! I've just printed out most of the sections of this excellent 1877 parish map, and I think I could standardise this by using the poor law union name as the suburb name.

My brain also wants to use "London" rather than "Middlesex", even though London should only really be used for the City of London area.

And don't even get me started on the frequent parish boundary changes and name changes for those London parishes!

Does anyone have any suggestions as to how they approach this? Do I really need to include the parish name as part of the address so long as I've got it in the source? Am I overthinking the whole thing?


Anonymous said...

When you say suburb, you probably mean the borough, I use the list on the LMA website http://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/londonGenerations/download/Places%20in%20London%20Boroughs.pdf to find which borough the parish is in.

Having said that I don't usually use the borough in my address records, I just stick to parish, county, country. I know I should use it, but I wanted to try and keep the format the same for rural and urban addresses. I think it might be time for me to revisit my places and add in the borough.

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