Standard Finder Place Name Searches

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Standard Finder Place Name Searches


Today’s tip is about the inelegantly named “Standard Finder” that’s currently in development in the labs at Standard Finder Place Name Searches really help for research where the borders changed frequently and place names were changed between different languages. It should help simplify how you do place name search in the Family History Library Catalog by providing a list of the standardized entries for place names in the catalog.

If you’ve heard my talk on organizing your family history research, you know that I’m a big fan of controlled vocabulary (i.e., stating something the same way each time) and authority files (keeping lists of what those standardized place and surnames are).

For example, when researching my Kirschstein line, I found a Hamburg departure record saying my great-grandfather Bruno left from Rawitsch, Posen, Prussia. Today that’s Rawicz, Poland, as a quick Google search will tell you. But searching the Standard Finder, I also learn other variant names I could be searching, what the LDS standardized name is, a (current) country code, GPS coordinates, and a mysterious “Identification Number” that currently doesn’t have hot links yet.

The Web site states, “Standard Finder is a FamilySearch Labs application which provides access to standardized information for names, locations, and dates. These databases are used by several FamilySearch applications to assist researchers in searching for exact spellings as well as for indexers who enter information used for RecordSearch.”

As can be imagined, the immensity of the data being collected and cross-referenced is enormous and will not always be correct. If you come across information you feel is incorrect please use the feedback link so we can continue to make corrections to better this data for future work. As you search please remember too that historical perspectives affect the usability and correctness of the data.

As a standalone database, Standard Finder can be of assistance to researchers in determining proper spellings of locations, checking if locations exist as well as determining alternate name spellings/variants to expand research.”

So before your next search on a place name in the LDS Family History Library Catalog to see if they have microfilm on a location of interest to you, search Standard Finder Place Name Searches will help you first to see if you have the place name correctly identified.

About the Author:

Nancy Loe has an MA in American History and an MLS in Library Science and Archives. She has appeared on PBS’s American Experience, at Rootstech, SCGS Jamboree, and state and regional genealogy conferences. Her website was featured in Family Tree Magazine's “Social Media Mavericks: 40 to Follow.”


  1. Astrid 16 November 2010 at 6:54 PM

    Wow, this is VERY useful. Thanks for the tip.

  2. Sassy Jane Genealogy 16 November 2010 at 10:36 PM

    You’re welcome, Astrid. I find it very helpful for all my Prussian towns that changed their names quite a few times over the years.

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