Monday, September 22, 2014

Monday Mailbox: Numbers Instead of Place Names

The Ancestry Insider's Monday Mailbox

Hello Ancestry Insider:

I subscribe to your blog postings and enjoy what you write and the way you write it.

I’m wondering if you could point me to where I can “decode” numerical references to place names, which I sometimes see on others’ Ancestry trees.  For example, I’ve just found one now where the place of death is shown as Caernarvonshire, 1651440, Wales.  “1651440” is definitely not the post code (= zip code).  I’m aware of Family Search’s Standard Placename Finder (, which as well as a Geo-code, also gives a 7-digit numerical identification number.  So I’m pretty certain that these 7-digit numbers I see on some trees are these ID numbers.  However, I’ve not found a way to “decode” them to give either the place name or the Geo-code.  Can you help?  After not being able to find out a way on extensive Google searches, I posted a message on FamilySearch 2-3 years ago (can’t find it now), but no-one responded.

I think it would make a great blog posting if you could explain about these numbers and how to decode them back to something that is meaningful.

Many thanks, Sue Griffith.

Dear Sue,

I searched Ancestry Member Trees and found examples of what you’ve mentioned, For example,

Ancestry Member Tree with number instead of place name


Ancestry Member Tree with number instead of place name

It may be that these trees contained these numbers before they were uploaded to I’ll ask if this can be fixed.

---The Ancestry Insider


  1. Are the numbers perhaps the numbers of microfilm at the FHL?

  2. pre there were actually other family research software (can't exactly remember what the one I used was but I think it was a DOS program (?)) anyway... the software assigned a number to the place name - when those trees where uploaded to ancestry I believe the numbers transferred and not the place name itself. This has been a problem ever since I can remember with ancestry and I have been using for a long long time - at least that is what I was told a long time ago (but it may all be a furfy lol)