Abbreviated Place Names

I'm trying to cite a birth registration from the FreeBMD site. When I run a search, there are times when the place name is abbreviated such as St Geo Hanover Sq. or Bradford YK. Is it acceptable to spell out the abbreviated place names in the citation or should it appear exactly as it does on the site?

Submitted byEEon Sun, 05/31/2020 - 08:39

Hendrickson, at times like these, it's helpful to remember the purpose of a citation.  We don’t cite a source so we can say “There. That’s done. I’ve met my obligation.” We identify our source because that’s the first step to analyzing what it is we are using.

Copying what a provider tells us, in whatever gobbledygook or shorthand the provider uses, is not how we understand a source. It’s not how we justify to ourselves that a source is reliable. If a provider users abbreviations, we make the effort to understand what the abbreviations represent and that we are correctly identifying those abbreviations or that shorthand.

A citation is our identification of the source we have used. We write that citation in our own words, making sure that every essential element is captured. Once we have done that, if a provider cites its own source in some fashion that we do not understand or have not yet verified, then it would be appropriate to add to our citation a note saying that the provider identifies its source as [whatever], in which case we copy the exact words used by the provider with quotation marks around those words.

EE covers the use of abbreviations in a variety of ways. Particularly see

  • 1.10 Technical Knowledge (especially appropriate to your question)
  • 2.45 Short Citations: Cautions (especially the section “Citing a source so briefly it cannot be correctly identified”)