"Chapman Codes" are familiar to many genealogists who are working on ancestors from counties in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. They were created by Dr Colin Chapman in the late 1970s as a type of shorthand for genealogy: DOR for Dorset, SOM for Somerset, DEV for Devon and so on.
As abbreviations, one system was in use by the English Place Name Society (established 1923), the Society of Genealogists, the Federation of Family History Societies, even the Post Office, and thousands of other individuals and groups. So Dr Chapman used the English Place Name Society's and the Society of Genealogist's systems, and created the Chapman Codes to merge everything together and assist at a time of computer development.
But as genealogy becomes more global, they are not quite as useful as they were to those of us on this side of the screen, in my opinion. I try and avoid all abbreviations as much as possible. For instance, I came across a WikiTree profile the other day which said that the individual had been born in MA. Where? I knew it was North America, but I had to go to a search engine to find out exactly where (Massachusetts). I received a wonderful GEDCOM (now used as a word in its own right, seemingly, rather than an acronym) years ago from someone in Australia. It was peppered with abbreviations and acronymns like SA (South Australia) and NSW (New South Wales), and it had travelled from the United States of America originally, so it had those abbreviations, too.
So computers can still use Chapman Codes in genealogy, but I would plead: do NOT abbreviate placenames if you can possibly help it.
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