*Apostrophes

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Mark1834
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Apostrophes

Postby Mark1834 » 14 Jan 2019 18:10

Being a bit of a pedant about these things, I was reviewing my database to ensure place names were punctuated correctly and came across links to both St. Neots and St. Neot's registration district. Unsure of which was correct (in, as in King's Lynn, or out, as in St. Albans) I checked online, and the local town council had a rather novel view of where the stray punctuation mark goes......

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Where there are market square's, there are greengrocer's :)

The right version is St. Neots, by the way.
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Re: Apostrophes

Postby tatewise » 14 Jan 2019 18:49

It seems that punctuation in place names is down to a quirk of usage rather than strict grammar.
The use of hyphens in such as Ashton-under-Lyne is quite variable.

They get St Neots Farmers’ Market punctuated correctly, but not consistently, as often the apostrophe is missing.
Maybe Market Square's is deliberately tongue in cheek?
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Re: Apostrophes

Postby arthurk » 14 Jan 2019 19:05

If we're being pedantic, you might wish to review your use of the full stop in "St. Neots".

American usage would include it, but the British norm is to omit it, as the town council has done, on the grounds that "St" includes the first and last letters of the word abbreviated.

See the guidance on this from Oxford Dictionaries:

https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/punct ... reviations

(No doubt there are plenty of other links, and heated discussions such as I am not going to enter into here!)

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Re: Apostrophes

Postby Mark1834 » 14 Jan 2019 20:16

Indeed! Probably better to describe my target as “consistency” rather than absolute “correctness”, as there are multiple versions of the latter, and it changes with time...
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Re: Apostrophes

Postby tatewise » 14 Jan 2019 21:28

When it comes to place names, another important consideration is how online searches & geocoding tools handle such names.
e.g.
The Google Maps Geocoder (at one stage) preferred Stoke upon Trent to Stoke-upon-Trent, so the Map Life Facts Plugin replaces hyphens with spaces before geocoding.
Mike Tate ~ researching the Tate and Scott family history ~ tatewise ancestry

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Re: Apostrophes

Postby Mark1834 » 14 Jan 2019 23:02

That might raise the question of who writes the standards in the future. Trying some random examples of UK place names in Ancestry for example, their place name database is a mess of mixed US/UK punctuation styles and missing apostrophes. Maybe in another generation, all but the most basic punctuation will have disappeared from use altogether.
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Re: Apostrophes

Postby AdrianBruce » 14 Jan 2019 23:22

Mark1834 wrote:That might raise the question of who writes the standards in the future. Trying some random examples of UK place names in Ancestry for example ...

To be fair, I am not convinced that Ancestry's list even pretends to be a standard per se. It might simply be a list of place-names from sources such as residences(?) in censuses, in which case one is dependent on the enumerators' spelling and the transcribers' reading.

Another aspect at which I should raise a Spock-like eyebrow at my own conduct is whether to capitalise "street", "road", "avenue" etc., in addresses - not so very long ago, they were not capitalised but I confess to capitalising them regardless.
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Re: Apostrophes

Postby David2416 » 15 Jan 2019 15:32

Mark1834 wrote:That might raise the question of who writes the standards in the future.


At the risk of provoking furious debate GeoPlace provide such a statement at:
https://www.geoplace.co.uk/-/geoplace-statement-on-use-of-apostrophes-in-street-naming-and-numbering?inheritRedirect=true

Ultimately Local Authorities are responsible for street names and signs - there is no consistency across the country though there seems to be a move towards dropping punctuation. To quote GeoPlace Whilst GeoPlace advises that punctuation should not be included in the data provided by local authorities, GeoPlace will process data with punctuation where the council has officially named the street with punctuation.

They also provide comprehensive technical guidance in this 387 page pdf ;)
https://www.geoplace.co.uk/documents/10181/120974/GeoPlace+DEC-Addresses+v3.4+2016/9edcdf42-be01-455e-bd25-6c596f00b6ec?version=1.5

Happy reading :)

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Re: Apostrophes

Postby Peter Collier » 16 Jan 2019 09:33

AdrianBruce wrote:Another aspect at which I should raise a Spock-like eyebrow at my own conduct is whether to capitalise "street", "road", "avenue" etc., in addresses - not so very long ago, they were not capitalised but I confess to capitalising them regardless.

Not only uncapitalised, but seemingly also hyphenated until some time in the late 19th century. I've frequently seen, for example, North-road, Market-street, etc. when looking in older trade directories and electoral rolls.

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Re: Apostrophes

Postby russellf97 » 22 Jan 2019 09:42

If it's from an official record or census occupation, etc, I use the rule 'write what you see'.
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Re: Apostrophes

Postby tatewise » 22 Jan 2019 09:57

That is fine for fields such as Text From Source, but what do you do with Place and Address fields (that are important for geocoding, etc.) when the same place/address is punctuated differently in different official records?

It is wise to have one standard spelling for one specific Place or Address.
Otherwise, you will have replicated Place records, and searches for place/address names will be inconsistent.

I don't take what is entered in Census records too literally, because the enumerators were often not that precise and their handwriting can easily be misinterpreted.
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Re: Apostrophes

Postby dewilkinson » 24 Jan 2019 17:16

I think this is a non-definitive subject as you will always find variations, even within official body documentation. Also, some place names have changed over time. For example the Isles of Scilly Registration District was called Scilly Islands until 1903 becoming Isles of Scilly thereafter.

Personally speaking I have adopted a standard that I am happy with, which includes St. for Saint with a full stop, Road etc with a capital letter, hyphens and apostrophies where they appear on current OS maps (but I know some of my older records don't follow that). Just to be provocative, should we call the county of Devon and alike, Devon or Devonshire?
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