GENUKI Gazetteer maintenance - Ireland

The Irish information has come from a number of sources, and for many places we do not yet have a location. But a set of simple steps can be undertaken to improve the quality of the data, all that is required is an internet connection. The majority of the work described in this page has been completed, but there is still plenty of work to be done to make it more useful. So treat the rest of the page as a record of waht has been done as it may be useful in helping to resolve problems. The next stage has been described separately for simplicity.

Updating the csv file

Suggested programs to use for updating the csv files are spreadsheets such as OpenOffice or Excel. These are particularly useful for sorting the data. In OpenOffice be carful when sorting as it is relatively easy to sort a subset of the fields and consequently mix things up with disastrous consequences. To avoid this just use Edit/Select all before using Data/sort.

Entries with wrong county

There do seem to be a very small number of places in the wrong county. It is probably too much effort doing a special search to find these, but if you do come across any work with Phil to get them moved into the right county. The place where they are visible is when you look at nearby places plotted on a Google map and those with the wrong county have a different coloured icon.

Parish entries

The subsequent taks are much easier to do if you first sort on column K (Type) and for those that are Parish copy and paste the parish name (column D) into column J (Parish). This then makes these entries appear in a sensible place whenever we sort by column J, which will be frequently.

Conversion to new aliases format

The first task is probably looking at places with the same location and converting them to the new way of handling places with alternative names. The old technique was to have additional entries for places with an alternative name but making sure that the Prime flag (column E) was set to 'N' and the Unspec/Alias flag (column H) set to 'Y'. This made it difficult to maintain when any of the fields changed, and the new way is to combine them all into one entry, with a colon ':' separated list of aliases in column N.

Places with locations

Sort on location then approx (Column B and Column C) which makes it easy to spot all those with the same lat/lon. You do need to ignore all those with a 'P' in column C which are Townlands that have been given the location of the parish as an approximate value. When merging entries you need to choose which of the names will be the primary one when all the rest go in the alias field. If any of the entries have Parish in the Type field choose that one as it is the same name used to link up with the Townlands.

You may find that some of the entries with a 'P' in column C have got the county centre location instead of the parish. I don't know how this has happened. They stand out as multiple parishes appear together with the same location. If you find some like this just empty column B, the location, to fix it.

Make sure that all fields get merged in, and if any of the entries has the Prime flag as Y, then that is the value required in the merged entry. If any of the merged entries has Parish in the type field, the merged entry must also have this value and none of the others. If you want to keep them, put them in the Notes field.

If there are Alias tags in the notes field than make sure that these end up in the Aliases column. There may also be See xxx values in the Notes field. These have resulted from the quote so take a look at it as it could be indicating another alias.

When townland entries were added if there was a single place with that name in the county, and we had a location, that value was used. Howevere if there were multiple different townlands with the same name this may have given the wrong location so pleae be aware of this possible problem.

Places without locations

Now sort on column D, the place name and we can now make a start on alternative spellings. One thing to be aware of is a few different places with the same name within a county. In some of the larger counties sometimes there can be two different parishes with the same name. A good help in identifying these is the Irish Times site (choose your county, then use the Civil parishes link on the left). Variations in spelling of names from different sources has resulted in duplicates and so use the same rules for creating aliases and thus reduce the number of entries. If you do find two different places with the same name put a value in F (Moreplace) to help differentiate them. The barony could be used if you have no better way.

Townlands with the same name as parishes

The gazetteer provides the location of places and the Genuki page which may conatin information about that place. There is no intention of holding an administrative hierarchy within it. So if there is a townland within a parish with the same name as the parish then just remove it.

Adding locations

The gazetteer statistics page shows what work is required for each county including a list of links to map pages for all those places without an exact location. You can use those links to drag a marker on a Google map to be told the location which can be cut and pasted into the csv file. The most important valuea to determine are the exact locations of the parishes, as once we have them we can produce skeleton web pages for them. Ig you click the county name on the statistics page, you get taken to the section report which gives a more detailed description of work that can be done. This includes a link which just lists parishes needing an exact location.

Now you still need to know where the parish is located. Again the Irish Times site is your friend as it shows where they all are on a map. It is not always easy to relate this to the modern Google map as it does not show place names. An alternative is to use the search facilty within the Irish Ordnance Survey site, but that is only aimed at the south. Use the search menu on the right, and select the county and then Historic parishes. that shows you a historic map of the parish along with its boundaries. If you then go to the 'Preview map series' menu on the right and select 'Wind report' it changes to a modern map which is much easier to relate to the Google map.

So look at that with one eye and move the marker on a Google map to the same location.

Adding urls

For each county we may already have some parish pages (very few) which didn't have a gazetteer entry. Now we have them we can add their urls into the appropriate entry. That makes these counties look better in the spider and gazetteer reports as it increases the parish count in the web page structure.