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Transcribe: same country different names

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When I go in to transcribe photo, I can select which country I like to transcribe for. However I'm little curios to why I do find same country under different names.

Austria (67)           Österreich (183)
België (9)             Belgium (88057)
Czech Republic (18829) Czechia (33)
Dánsko (90)            Denmark (218)
Deutschland (33)       Germany (362)

Schweden (75)          Sverige (49)        Sweden (3083)

Not even country
Leszno (95)
Rakousko (2)

When I upload photos I can't even put in country (that seems to be automatic via Google geotag). So from where are this difference in name come from.

The name visible are they even used in the database for search purpose?

asked Dec 2, 2017 in Language by Manderson BG Beginner (270 points)
edited Dec 3, 2017 by Manderson
I am from Switzerland and regarding this complex issue I think it is best to take MAndersson's question as "curiosity". There is no problem at all to look up for Austria AND Österreich when willing to transcribe, or Germany AND Deutschland. If you know the language you can look up both. Funny is, that under "Deutschland" only Hebrew stones are left, whereas under "Germany" also others can be found.

Don't make the whole matter too difficult!

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This results because the field for entry of the country is not limited to a selection list. This may seem like a flaw but I think BG left is as a open field for good reasons. I have spent a lot of my corrections time working on the site map side to clear duplications and mis-spelled countries, and also to attach cemeteries to correct countries where they had not been given correct addresses when first added. There are thousands of these in countries outside the US, so no end of work to be done there.

A few examples of why this flexibility is important are the outlying territories of the US and other colonial systems. In the US they don't fit into the States/Province section. The various commonwealth/protectorate states of the Carribean are another case. Isolated Islands that are not states/provinces are another case.

Another example is the disputed areas of the world, such as West Bank and Kashmir. For some reason, BG does not auto-assign, and I think that is because Google maps has chosen not to assign those regions to a particular country.

When I first started doing corrections in this area of BG I thought we should just use the UN standards, but there are enough cases where that does not work to make me see that the open field is best. It does mean that someone needs to be scanning these on a regular basis and fixing the ones that are obviously wrong.

I do have an idea, which I have not sent to BG Support that they could rev up the search engine to return all cemeteries that have correct synonymic names, such as the ones you show in your post. As it is,  when a searcher enters Austria (and they don't know about the other name) they will only get these ones with Austria, and never know if the cemetery exists under the German spelling.

I would appreciate input from other users on this question, especially those outside the US. It must be a problem for those whose native country language is being ignored.

answered Dec 3, 2017 by dswright BG Master (34,390 points)

Thanks for your insightful observation about this difficult subject.

Must first say I now realize I was thinking wrong when I first wrote my comment. "When I upload photos I can't even put in country".
It's of course when the cemetery is added the country selection is done.

Whenever I do add a cemetery, the GPS location is given. Then all the information is put in automatically (that information is coming directly from Google Geocode API). Then people can change the cemetery information manually, don’t know if that was people has done to change the country name from English. Because I did try to play around with different country settings, and I could not get that information in any other language than English.

There is this problem now with BG as I see it, because in the “People Search” when you filter for country. That drop down list is purely populated by GoogleGeocodeAPI in English.
Test to search for “JOHN JOHANSSON 1921 1974” filter country for Sweden, zero result because the cemetery is under “Sverige” but Sverige is not possible to select under the country filter.
It will be difficult for BG if they not start to think about how to handle different languages in search request. If they are utilizing Google API they might need to start look in to how it actually does handle language very well https://developers.google.com/maps/documentation/geocoding/intro#geocoding
My browser tell BG what my preferred language is, and they should honor that in there presentation layer. And only keep one instance in there database, now it’s problematic for them.

There is however another problem that comes with GoogleGeoCode since they invent there own countries, you can find one if you look in the country filter (when you do people search) “Aland Island” which is not a country (even if Google think so), that’s part of Finland (and that’s what I would assume genealogy people will use to filter.

Thanks for your more detailed analysis of the relation between BG and the Google mapping protocols. I don't do coding, so did not know how any of it worked.

Your Aland Island example is a case that I had wondered about before, along with Jersey and Guernsey, which are protectorates. Would you categorize Aland as a Province of Finland rather than a separate "country"? I wound up putting the Jersey/Geurnsey group as a separate country as Channel Islands - UK

Would love to get more input from other non-US users. BG needs to come to grips with this and the language filter issues that keep cropping up.


I consider Åland a province of Finland (landskap in Swedish translate well to province). even though they have some degree of self governance (but not more than the cantons in Switzerland, which most people would consider one country).

My own thought about why Google make it a country is because it's an internet company, and since Åland has it own Internet domain ( .ax ) it makes it a region of it owns. But it's still Finland.

However this is such a broad and complicated issue, which I do understand BG cant deal with for themselves, so use Google nomenclature (so it’s at least consistent in some way). And maybe they have some guidance how they like to have it (letting people decide country by them self might be messy, but I have done so my self twice. So I’m not very coherent here in my recommendation).

I do think though that they can handle language much better. If they like to attract more international attention they must learn to become a multi language. English might be the lingua franca on Internet, but it’s not for everyone. They shall be able to do some improvement in this area, since today I would say there is so much support for developing multi language system (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internationalization_and_localization). It requires for them to do some investigation, regarding the original post should be fairly easy for them to solve (make the database consistent).

Then for there site require it going to require some more work since someone needs to translate for them, many company pay for that service but BG likes to get the job done for free so they have volunteers for it (no problem with that). When it’s translated then it should be an easy match for them to solve (in a programing sense). Even this Q&A backbone software (open source) has very good multi language support anyone can test for them self, just change your preferred language in the browser preferences (try Spanish for instance) and notice that when writing a comment/reply the text box has changed (Font --> Fuente etc.)