QUEBEC-RESEARCH-L ArchivesArchiver > QUEBEC-RESEARCH > 2006-02 > 1139253084
From: "L Boswell" <>
Subject: dealing with alternative Place Names
Date: Mon, 6 Feb 2006 14:11:24 -0500
If it's referred to in original family documents as "Three Rivers" for
example then in an accurate transcript has to remain Three Rivers.
Recording an oral interview is another example where the respondent uses the
anglicized version, it would be incorrect to record any differently in the
transcript. The accepted solution is to put the proper (most commonly used
today) name in square brackets beside it [Trois Rivieres]. That's the way
various place names are handled in Scottish and Welsh genealogical research
where there are alternative names. Square brackets denote that you have
added the place name for clarification purposes, and that it wasn't in the
Many places have been referred to improperly over time, as have many names.
For instance anyone tracing back from anglicized surnames to their original
french versions would properly put the relevant name in brackets (Anglo
beside the French one, French version beside the later Anglo one depending
upon which one is the likely spelling at the time period being considered)
simply to maintain consistency. Applies to misspelled names or names that
multiple spelling variations when traced back down the line...
----- Original Message -----
From: "NetBoie" <>
Sent: Monday, February 06, 2006 1:57 PM
Subject: [Q-R] Place Names
> Place names, the same as names of people, are proper nouns. As a general
> rule proper nouns are not translated. As far as I am concerned the city
> midway between Montreal and Quebec on the north shore of the St. Lawrence
> is Trois Rivieres. And no, after 5 years of schoolboy French, studied
> some 40 years ago, I do not speak or understand the language at all. I
> can read simple French haltingly if I have my trusty French/English
> dictionary close at hand, but that's all. And as Renée or Fr. Owen can
> tell you I do not roll my R's as is done in Quebec, because I don't have
> the facility to do so. So when I say Trois Rivieres it probably sounds
> more like Twa Rivyair, and that's ok. At least I made the effort. When
> Johann Schmidt emigrated to Great Britain did he automatically become John
> Smith? When Marie Brun emigrated from Quebec to Maine did she
> automatically become Mary Brown? Of course not. They had the opportunity
> to Anglicize their name if they wished but they did not have to. So do I
> have the right to call them John Smith and Mary Brown simply because they
> now live in an English speaking country? I think not. The option is
> theirs, not mine.
> I've been thinking of taking a vacation. Whaddaya think... should I go to
> Grande Courbure, KS or High Ground, IN?
> One last thing. PLEASE! When you are expressing your opinion on a
> subject, please say "I feel" or "It's my opinion", but please, please
> don't say "We Americans" or "We Canadians". You are not speaking for the
> whole country, you are expressing your opinion only.
> Ok, Gary, this number one for the day. I also hope to make it the last.
> Dave Constantine in Boston
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