Places and Addresses

What Is a Place

This may sound obvious, but a Place is a geographic location.

Place and Address ~ What's the Difference?


There have been many discussions on places and addresses at FHUG the following seem to be fairly constant.

  • Keep Place fields consistent.
  • Always include the county and country. You may know you mean Birmingham, West Midlands, England, but if you share your data, someone else might assume you mean Birmingham, Alabama, USA. In addition new tools like Map My Family Tree and Family Atlas need "simple" Place names to work well, as does the built in Geocode Mapping in fh V6 and above.
  • Include the house number & street information in the Address and not the Place unless you have good reason not too.
  • Church Names should be recorded in the Address.

See also the GEDCOM Definition below.

Place and Address Management

There is a Work With Data tool which allows global management, editing and combining of Places and Addresses on the Tools menu. It is advisable to have a fixed number of columns with each one dedicated to a particular component of the Place or Address, even if that means having blank components with only a space between commas in some instances. Thus, the Place field could have dedicated columns for town, county, country and if the town is not known then leave that blank, e.g. Place = , Kent, UK

fh V6 introduced Place records that offer another global management option together with Geocode Mapping of Latitude & Longitude.

See also the Rearrange Address and Place Parts Plugin.

Place Qualifiers

Qualifier Description
Short Places are displayed in shortened format. Only text up to the first comma (if any) is displayed.
Medium Places are displayed in a slightly shortened format. Text up to the second comma only (if there are two) is displayed.
Tidy The full place details are displayed, but extra commas are removed.
Full The full place details are displayed (this is the default).

Problems With Places

People migrating from Family Tree Maker often have huge problems with Places when imported from FTM, which records attribute values in the Place field.

Although it is a big job to correct the place data in this circumstance it is highly recommended to do so as the long-term benefits outweigh the short-term pain.

GEDCOM Definition


PLACE_VALUE = "The jurisdictional name of the place where the event took place…"


ADDRESS_STRUCTURE = "The address structure should be formed as it would appear on a mailing label…"

Geocode Mapping

See Index for related topics.

fh V6 introduced geocode mapping of Place records but not Address fields. So to obtain geocode mapping down to street level needs those details in the Place field and the Address fields left empty. However, fh V6 geocode mapping down to street level is good for some locations but very poor for others.

The Map Life Facts Plugin does support separate Place and Address fields, with better geocode mapping down to street level, but the maps are external to fh.

Church Names

Recording church names in the Address field has a snag that can trip you up. It is quite common to only know the church name and its Place such as St.Marys, Newtown, Kent, UK or perhaps St.Marys, Oldtown, Devon, UK. So in Tools > Work with Data > Addresses the church name St.Marys will only be listed once.

What if you later discover the street address is say St.Marys, Church Road, Newtown, Kent, UK? It is not easy to globally edit just the Address fields for St.Marys associated with Newtown, Kent, UK and none of the others.

The workaround is to include some Place details with the Address to differentiate each church name. However, that will result in duplicated Place details appearing in Diagrams and Reports. The solution is to enclose those Place details in privacy [[ brackets ]] so they get hidden, e.g. St.Marys[[, Newtown, Kent, UK]].

Forum Posts on Places and Addresses