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Folklore: Do counties matter?

McGrath of Harlow 21 Feb 04 - 06:19 AM
GUEST,Russ 21 Feb 04 - 07:28 AM
kendall 21 Feb 04 - 07:37 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 21 Feb 04 - 08:57 AM
artbrooks 21 Feb 04 - 09:25 AM
gnomad 21 Feb 04 - 09:39 AM
Alaska Mike 21 Feb 04 - 10:50 AM
Bee-dubya-ell 21 Feb 04 - 11:19 AM
Liz the Squeak 21 Feb 04 - 11:31 AM
Ed. 21 Feb 04 - 12:01 PM
Uncle_DaveO 21 Feb 04 - 12:46 PM
Peace 21 Feb 04 - 01:18 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 21 Feb 04 - 02:29 PM
Nigel Parsons 21 Feb 04 - 02:48 PM
freightdawg 21 Feb 04 - 02:50 PM
McGrath of Harlow 21 Feb 04 - 04:11 PM
Peace 21 Feb 04 - 04:11 PM
McGrath of Harlow 21 Feb 04 - 04:16 PM
open mike 21 Feb 04 - 04:31 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 21 Feb 04 - 04:55 PM
Wolfgang 21 Feb 04 - 05:27 PM
Fibula Mattock 21 Feb 04 - 05:29 PM
Peace 21 Feb 04 - 05:29 PM
Peace 21 Feb 04 - 05:32 PM
McGrath of Harlow 21 Feb 04 - 05:48 PM
Fibula Mattock 21 Feb 04 - 06:04 PM
Peace 21 Feb 04 - 06:19 PM
McGrath of Harlow 21 Feb 04 - 07:38 PM
GUEST 22 Feb 04 - 02:29 AM
GUEST,Jon 22 Feb 04 - 03:43 AM
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Compton 22 Feb 04 - 06:42 AM
ard mhacha 22 Feb 04 - 06:46 AM
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The O'Meara 22 Feb 04 - 10:19 AM
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ard mhacha 22 Feb 04 - 03:24 PM
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Subject: BS: Do counties matter?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 21 Feb 04 - 06:19 AM

I was listening to the Tommy Sands song "Come home to the County Down" (and if anyone's got the words, let's have them), and it just occurred to me that whereas in Ireland the normal thing is to talk about "the County Down" or "the County Galway", no one in England that I've ever heard would say "the County Yorkshire" or "the County Devon" and so forth, in that way.

And that set me speculating about what Americans would say when talking about their counties, And that set me wondering whether over there people feel about counties in the same way as they do in Ireland or England. In many ways the sense of loyalty to a county here can sometimes rival or even be stronger than to the nation as a whole. And that makes sense, because counties are more on a human scale, unlike most countries, even in Europe. Does this apply in America, with loyalty to county sometimes rivalling loyalty to State?

Every county in Ireland probably has songs specifically about it; and the same applies to quite a number of English counties. I've heard a few songs about States in the USA, but never about counties. Is it just that they don't travel? Or can it be people don't write them?


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Subject: RE: BS: Do counties matter?
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 21 Feb 04 - 07:28 AM

WV traditional musicians have a strong sense of county affiliation. It can be fun to hear Clay County musicians (e.g., Wilson Douglas) talk about Braxton County musicians (e.g. Ernie Carpenter) talk about Pocahontas County musicians (e.g., Eddn & Burl Hammons) as if they are from a different planet. If you are familiar with the music you can hear the stylistic differences even though they all sound like WV fiddlers. This sense of county affiliation carries over in a lesser degree to the indigenous population (as opposed to tourists, retirees, and carpetbaggers) as a whole.


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Subject: RE: BS: Do counties matter?
From: kendall
Date: 21 Feb 04 - 07:37 AM

Emphesis on counties seems to be a southern thing here. Where I live they hardly matter at all. In fact, I think county government is redundant.
Now states, that's different.


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Subject: RE: BS: Do counties matter?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 21 Feb 04 - 08:57 AM

Depends upon the part of the country. In Wisconsin where I grew up, the county government handled a lot of major events in your life, from the draft Board to many different kinds of records and licensing.
As a kid, and growing up in the county seat, the most important thing about a county was the County Fair. Wrote a song about it.. "When you wake up in the morning, you can feel it in the air. It's time again for the County Fair." For Farm kids, the 4-H Clubs were all identified by county. Kids in my county were members of the Rock County 4-H.

Here in Connecticut, I've been good friends for much of my adult life with a couple who lived in the town where I worked. A few years ago, Betsy was hired as Executive Director of the Fairfield County Co-operative Foundation. Her first job was to figure out where the boundaries of Fairfield County are, and it took a little doing. I lived in Fairfield County (and there is no fair, and precious few fields) for over 30 years, and had no idea where it stopped and the next county started. As far as I could ever find out, there was no county "Seat." The only reference to Fairfield COunty I ever saw in the papers was that the cost of living was the highest of any county in the Nation. I would have preferred a Fair, myself.

When we retired, I had one requirement. I wanted to get out of Fairfield County. Funny thing is, I can almost see Fairfield County out of our windows. Cut down a few trees and take down a couple of houses, and I could. I just have to drive about a mile and a half and I'm there. And sure enough, the town right next to ours, separated just by a river, is much more expensive to live in. And we have a farm in our twon, just a short walk away.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: Do counties matter?
From: artbrooks
Date: 21 Feb 04 - 09:25 AM

Where I live, in Albuquerque, New Mexico (southwestern US), its a matter of different constituancies. Albuquerque (the city) has a primarily urban population and the issues city government concentrates on are different from the rural ones that most concern Bernalillo (the county).    There was a referandum last fall on a merger between the two, and city votes were primarily "FOR" (as in "we know what's best for everybody") and people in the county were almost all "AGAINST" ("oh, no you don't"). The final outcome was no merger, since state law requires a majority of both populations.

Remember that here counties are a US overlay on a Spanish structure, which had incorporated (or replaced, after destroying) the older Indian towns. The families of many members of the Spanish population have been here much longer than the United States has existed (and they are not Mexican!). Loyalty to counties is a lot less likely here than in older (in Anglo-American terms) parts of the country.


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Subject: RE: BS: Do counties matter?
From: gnomad
Date: 21 Feb 04 - 09:39 AM

Just reading the comment that inter-county rivalry seems to be a southern phenomenon in the States, it strikes me that in the UK it seems very strong in the north. The feelings between Lincolnshire and Yorkshire, or between Yorkshire and Lancashire seem to be exceeded only by the feelings in these counties about all places south of the Wash.

Oh, and just to show how every rule in English has at least one exception, we do refer to County Durham. I can't think of another such.


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Subject: RE: BS: Do counties matter?
From: Alaska Mike
Date: 21 Feb 04 - 10:50 AM

There are no counties in Alaska. Some of the more populated areas are organized into Boroughs, Anchorage is incorporated as a municipality, but most of the state has no local government whatsoever. Alaska is almost three times the size of Texas and is spread over what would normally be four time zones, and yet we have just over 600,000 people living here.

There are distinct geographical areas of the state that people seem to identify with (Southeast Panhandle, Interior, Kenai, Mat-Su, North Slope, Yukon-Kuskoquim Delta, Aleutian Chain, Bristol Bay, Pribilofs, etc.) There is also a rivalry between those living in the "bush" and city folks. But there is a fierce loyalty from most of the citizens to this state called "The Last Frontier". We fight amoungst ourselves all the time, but band together if anyone criticizes us from outside.

Camai,
Mike


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Subject: RE: BS: Do counties matter?
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 21 Feb 04 - 11:19 AM

For many US people, the only apparent difference between city and county governments is that if you live in the city the cop cars are blue and white. If you live in the county the sheriff's department's cars are green and white. It sounds just the same when either of them comes knocking on your door.

Bruce


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Subject: RE: BS: Do counties matter?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 21 Feb 04 - 11:31 AM

It's called 'County Durham' so it's not muddled with Durham, the county town.

We do have a large amount of counties whose names are similar to the county town (Lincoln & Lincolnshire, Hereford & Herefordshire to name but two) so the addition of the word 'shire' could indicate county.

Mind you, I remember reading that a 'shire' has to be given that title - Devon has it but Dorset doesn't. The Dorsetshire Regiment was told to remove the 'shire' from its' name sometime after WWII but before its amalgumation with the Devonshire Regiment in 1959.

LTS


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Subject: RE: BS: Do counties matter?
From: Ed.
Date: 21 Feb 04 - 12:01 PM

This page says that The Dorsetshire Regiment became The Dorset Regiment on the 23rd of June, 1951.

It offers no explanation as to why.


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Subject: RE: BS: Do counties matter?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 21 Feb 04 - 12:46 PM

I'm in Indiana, specifically Indianapolis. I can't really speak very knowledgeably about other Indiana counties, but for practical purposes Marion County, in which Indianapolis is situated, has disappeared.

About, what, thirty years (?) ago, Indianapolis and Marion County were joined in what is called Uni-Gov. The municipal government is the same for both--one mayor, one city-county council, etc.

Before I moved to Indianapolis, 43 years ago, I was from Minnesota. My home town, Rochester, Minnesota (of Mayo Clinic fame) is in Olmsted County. Certainly no-one that I knew thought of themselves as "Olmstedians". It might be that the rural people had that sort of orientation.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: Do counties matter?
From: Peace
Date: 21 Feb 04 - 01:18 PM

I think they do matter. They keep the peace and enforce the law in Canada. True, they had their horses taken away, but for all that, they do a reasonably fine job protecting Canadians.


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Subject: RE: BS: Do counties matter?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 21 Feb 04 - 02:29 PM

No, brucie... we're talking about counties, not Mounties..

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: Do counties matter?
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 21 Feb 04 - 02:48 PM

Only US county that comes immediately to mind in an American song is "Carroll County" in "Ode to Billy Joe"

Nigel


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Subject: RE: BS: Do counties matter?
From: freightdawg
Date: 21 Feb 04 - 02:50 PM

I share living in Albuquerque with Art Brooks and agree with him completely about counties in New Mexico. For the most part they are vast expanses of land, mostly covered with scrub brush and cactus (south) or huge mountain ranges (north). I had not connected it to the local indigenous cultures, but that makes a lot of sense. In Texas, however, the counties are much smaller and run like little fiefdoms (sp.?). The county judge is the be-all and end-all of all things politic, and the county sheriff might as well be God (or his lieutenant.) When weather warnings are issued they are issued according to county lines, not major cities. Makes it dreadfully difficult to know if a tornado is barreling down on you unless you carry an atlas with you. And in Louisiana, there are no counties, they are refered to as Parishes. Don't know the particulars about what makes them different, other than the name. I have often wondered about the use of "county Down" etc, in regards to Ireland. Good thread.

Freightdawg


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Subject: RE: BS: Do counties matter?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 21 Feb 04 - 04:11 PM

One of the things that makes counties so significant in England and more so in Ireland is the link to sporting championships.

In England it's County Cricket, and only in some counties. Those are the championships that matter. That's an example of how county loyalty can be stronger than national - I am sure there are a lot of people in Yorkshire for example who would see it as much more important that Yorkshire should do well, than that, for example the English team should win the Ashes against Australia. Especially if there weren't Yorkshire players in the side.

In Ireland in the Gaelic sports, the counties are the main thing, and any time a county is in a big match to win the All Ireland championship, the whole place will blossom with county flags on pretty well all the houses.


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Subject: RE: BS: Do counties matter?
From: Peace
Date: 21 Feb 04 - 04:11 PM

Oh.


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Subject: RE: BS: Do counties matter?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 21 Feb 04 - 04:16 PM

And here is the kind of thing I meant about counties in Ireland having their own songs - local national anthems even.


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Subject: RE: BS: Do counties matter?
From: open mike
Date: 21 Feb 04 - 04:31 PM

AS a genealogy reseacher, county is quite important.
That is usually where the vital statistics are kept.
this might be different in nebraska, as the state is
the keeper of such data. I have often found birth and
death information and helped people locate ancestors
by searching in the county recorders office for documents.
Genealogy web sites or interest groups are almost always
organized by counties, which you will find if you go to
roots web . As a rural
person the county jurisdiction is more important. For
services provided come from different agencies dependcing
on what side of the county line you live. Fire, law enforcemnet,
etc., differ depending on if you are in the city limits or not.
The tax assessor , voter registration and court system are
county-based as is the Library, health dept., welfare and
food stamp assistance, and road repair department! Also
School districts, and the elected board, the County Board
of Supervisors creates laws and makes decisions supposedly
representing the public's best interests.


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Subject: RE: BS: Do counties matter?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 21 Feb 04 - 04:55 PM

Amd then of course, there was that great string band, The Leake County Revellers.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: Do counties matter?
From: Wolfgang
Date: 21 Feb 04 - 05:27 PM

My experience (with many exceptions):

Ask an English speaker where (s)he comes from

Englishmen give you the name of the town.
Non-English British tell you the large subpart of Britain they come from, like, for instance, 'Wales'.
Irishmen tell you the county.
US-Americans tell you the town, immediately followed by name of the state.
Australians, Canadians, and New Zealanders just say 'Australia' etc.

Ask a German speaker where they come from

Germans tell you the town, and if it is smaller than 10,000 inhabitants they say 'close to....' and give the nearest more than 10,000 inhabitants towns. If asked by an American they say 'close to Munich' if they live in Southern Germany, close to Heidelberg, if they live in the middle, and 'close to Berlin' if they live in the North'.
Bavarians tell you the name of the village and if it is smaller than 500 inhabitants, they tell you the name of the closest village with more than 500 inhabitants. If they are asked by an American they do not give the second hint.
Austrians tell you only they don't come from Bavaria.
Swiss consider it an insult if you ask where they come from. They consider that as a slight against their pronunciation of German.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: BS: Do counties matter?
From: Fibula Mattock
Date: 21 Feb 04 - 05:29 PM

Yes, they matter!
(...Co. Down girl through-and-through)


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Subject: RE: BS: Do counties matter?
From: Peace
Date: 21 Feb 04 - 05:29 PM

There's the County Paris in "Romeo and Juliet."


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Subject: RE: BS: Do counties matter?
From: Peace
Date: 21 Feb 04 - 05:32 PM

Cape Bretoners will tell you they are from Cape Breton--lest you get them confused with Nova Scotians.


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Subject: RE: BS: Do counties matter?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 21 Feb 04 - 05:48 PM

Surely the kind of answer Wolfgang is talking about is likely to be concerned with pinpointing the place geographically, and depends on what you guess about the other listener's knowledge of such things?

So if I was talking to somebody in Harlow I'd say "qite near the station". If from a nearby town or village, I'd say "Harlow", if from a little further afield I'd add - "it's about halfway between London and Cambridge, or "quite near London." If I went far enough away I'd probably say "from Europe".

...................

Noone's commented on the other point I raised - is Ireland the only place where people refer to the counties as "the county XXX" rather than "county XXX"?


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Subject: RE: BS: Do counties matter?
From: Fibula Mattock
Date: 21 Feb 04 - 06:04 PM

Dunno... I refer to it as"County Down", as in "I come from County Down". No "the"... Mind you, I might even omit the county depending on who I'm talking with (if it's another Irish person, for example).


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Subject: RE: BS: Do counties matter?
From: Peace
Date: 21 Feb 04 - 06:19 PM

We go through something similar in Canada with Yukon. Many people call it "the Yukon." Guess it's what ya get accustomed to.


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Subject: RE: BS: Do counties matter?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 21 Feb 04 - 07:38 PM

But I suspect you'd not think twice about saying it the other way, or hearing it the other way. I don't think anyone would ever be likely to talk about "the County Dorset".


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Subject: RE: BS: Do counties matter?
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Feb 04 - 02:29 AM

The use of 'The' (as in 'the' County Down), would be a regular enough insertion in verse or song, and seems to act more as 'polyfilla' to rythmically qualify the line, more often than not....
"In Banbridge town, in the County Down..." etc.


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Subject: RE: BS: Do counties matter?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 22 Feb 04 - 03:43 AM

I don't think that is the usual English or Welsh way Wolfgang. As far as I'm concerned the effort is to try to assess the other person's knowledge of an area and give a location that may be recognised. This could be a town, city, county or other region. Sometimes we will "home in" eg. When I lived in a village in Wales, I may have said I lived in North Wales, North West Wales, near Llandudno or even specifically Bryn Pydew. I do similar here but this time using counties Norfolk, North Norfolk, Cromer, Roughton.

One reason for avoiding counties in N Wales was the way they messed about with the names and boundaries. Without moving, I lived in Caernarvonshire, Gwynedd and Conwy. To confuse the issuse, I think Gwynedd still exists but no longer goes further North than around Bangor and Conwy not only contains part of what was Gwynedd but also part of what has been variously Denbishire and Clwyd.


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Subject: RE: BS: Do counties matter?
From: Teresa
Date: 22 Feb 04 - 04:04 AM

As far" as I'm aware, I live in Alameda County, California, USA, and not The County Alameda. The second does sound more lyrical somehow, though. :)

and a thread-creep aside, while I'm thinking about it ... for California folks. ... I notice that in the San Francisco Bay Area we refer to freeways with just the number, as in 80 or 5, and in Southern California, it's _the_ 5 or _the_ 405, (pronounced four-oh-five) etc.   Interesting.

Now returning to previously-scheduled county discussion ... :)
Teresa


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: Compton
Date: 22 Feb 04 - 06:42 AM

Too true counties are important for verily Staffordshire IS God's Country...No matter whar Jeremy Clarkson says!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: ard mhacha
Date: 22 Feb 04 - 06:46 AM

When you met with fellow Paddies in England, it was always "where you from" and the answer was "Armagh", or whatever other County you came from.
With the possible exception of Yorkshire and Lancashire, the rivalry between the Irish Counties is more intense than any other part of Britain or Ireland.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: GUEST,kathy & Jon
Date: 22 Feb 04 - 07:31 AM

Counties? We live in the COUNTRY of Cornwall!! And we don't say we are from Britain or England, we always say we are from Cornwall. We think it is something most people who live in Cornwall will say.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 22 Feb 04 - 07:46 AM

Just a reminder. Whether or not emphasis on county is a "southern" thing in the states, WV is NOT in the south. It is not clear that any of the contributors to this discussion are from "the south".


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: paddymac
Date: 22 Feb 04 - 08:39 AM

There seems to be a deep seated psychological need to be a member of some "group" or other, which may be a reflection of the probably more ancient reality that there is safety in numbers. Maybe the idea could be more simply phrased as an element of "tribalism." If that thought pattern is applied to contemporary living, the "tribe" is more likely to analogize to whatever group identity is most appropriate in context. I worked in governmental affairs for agricultural commodity "group" in Florida for many years, and became accustomed to county identifications as the first level of geo-specificity. When you tell someone "in the business" what county you're from, it conveys a wealth of information not apparent to others, such as environmental differences, production characteristics and needs, markets, transport, etc. It is also useful as a more general, regional locator, such as north, south, east, west, panhandle, central, etc., with similar information content. Urban folks, generally, are oblivious to such things because they are further removed (as in less attuned) from the "land" in both a practical and cultural sense. Perhaps more germane to McGrath's original question, "county" conveys much more information than geography, depending on both the speaker and the listener, not least of which are the "traditions" (not as used in NI) of the parties. Sorry to be so long-winded. Just trying to clear cobwebs and the after-effects of a long night.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: The O'Meara
Date: 22 Feb 04 - 10:19 AM

I've lived in a lot of places in the U.S. and the county designation is used many different ways. Generally, in the eastern states, it's an administrative governmental thing, and in the west it's also a geographic thing. In Wyoming, auto license plates are numbered according to county, the numbers were set by county population at the time the whole thing was set up. For instance someone from Casper would have a plate that read 1-2345 for Natrona County, and someone from Cheyenne would have 2-2345 for Laramie County.
Once you learn the numbers you know from the plate where someone is "from." That's handy when you need a group to dislike, as in "them Damn Converse County jerks come here and catch our fish..." (Would this be called countyism?)
I reckon the use of "the" in Irish counties is a local custom that didn't travel well. In Amerikay you hear "The County Down" in the songs, but if you ask "Where you from?" the response is or was, generally just "County Cork," not "The County Cork."
I've never quite understood the Irish counties. Near as I can tell, there are 32 irish counties located within 4 Irish counties. Anyone know how this works?

O'Meara

Whoops, I meant The O'Meara.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 22 Feb 04 - 11:07 AM

Yes, they matter !!! (But not much.) And it doesn't matter.

Art


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: Fibula Mattock
Date: 22 Feb 04 - 11:11 AM

The "4 Irish counties" you refer to are actually provinces - Ulster, Munster, Leinster and Connacht. These predate the division into counties.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: CET
Date: 22 Feb 04 - 12:50 PM

Actually, Charmion; Edmund is out watching rugger.

I grew up in Carleton County, Ontario, now almost entirely subsumed by the City of Ottawa, which for about 25 years was the "Regional Municipality of Ottawa-Carleton" comprising several cities (including Ottawa), towns and villages and about a dozen townships, all in Carleton County. I still have the hard "r" of the Carleton County accent (think Belfast with a Canadian vocabulary) to prove it.

In eastern Canada, counties matter a lot if you are involved in anything legal or you live in the country. The land registries and court system are based on the system of townships and counties set up by the British in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Generally, the more rural your residence, the more aware you are of county identification because if you live on a farm or in a hamlet or village, your local government will be a township, headed by a reeve and council, and the township is a division of a county.

This sort-of rule applies to southern Ontario, southern Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia; variations are found in more recently settled parts of the country.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: Marje
Date: 22 Feb 04 - 01:16 PM

I grew up in County Down, and that was certainly how we referred to it. But rarely or never with "the", or the other way round (Down County). I think putting "the" before it may a southern Irish usage, but it wasn't normal in N.I.

The postal address is Co. Down, N.I. Likewise County Antrim, etc, although the other counties are more often referred to just by their names (as most English ones are). "Down" seems to need "County" because it's a word with other meanings and could be confusing when used on its own. A quick Google shows you just how prevalent the form "County Down" is.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 22 Feb 04 - 01:33 PM

Open Mike touched on it above--counties are the seat of the courts in the U.S. Federal, state, and county courts-at-law, and the Justice of the Peace, etc. are all in the county courthouses. Here in Texas with something like 250 counties, it pays to know the names of the counties in your region of the state because the National Weather Service (thus the local weather folks) generally present risky situations (thunder storms, flash flooding, tornado watches or warnings) by county. Living here you need to know that Jacksboro County, Palo Pinto County, and Erath County are northwest/west/southwest of Tarrant County (where Fort Worth and many other small cities are) because our weather usually comes from the Northwest or the Southwest, depending on what is driving the storms, cold air from the Northwest or wet air from over Mexico.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: Mary in Kentucky
Date: 22 Feb 04 - 01:45 PM

Counties are extremely important in Kentucky. We are a small state with 120 counties. (all but three are named for men) Because we have few large cities, the county is often more important than a town or city in it when describing a geographic location. Also, most of the high schools are now a consolidated county-wide school, and with March Madness approaching (basketball tournaments), the names of various counties are quite familiar. Until recently we even had the name of our county on our car license plates, and often people could name the county but not a city or town in that county.

It is said (in the Kentucky history I always heard) that the counties were laid out so that the county seat (local government) was a day's horseback ride from every point in the county. Many boundaries follow creeks and hillsides, so they are very irregular. Our roads (except for modern interstate highways) are very winding also.

Open Mike, if you are interested in geneology, the small, local library here in Bardstown is very active in that area. Kentucky was the 15th state in the union and a crossroads for Western expansion. There is a lot of documented history here... all the way back to the 1780s or so. (That must sound funny to y'all across the pond, but it really is old stuff around here.)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 22 Feb 04 - 02:21 PM

The English Counties only seem to matter when 'they' try to muck about with them - Remember the furore over Rutland, which now seems to have been re instated. At least there is a sign welcoming you to Rutland on the A1.

    And a lot of people still dont think about Avon, but do recognise Somerset etc. - Same goes for west Midlands !


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: greg stephens
Date: 22 Feb 04 - 02:37 PM

Nigel earlier said that he only knew of one American county: Carroll County, as mentioned in Ode to Billie Jo. Well, Carroll County is the only American county I could think of,likewise, as I started reading this thread. But I was thinking of the fabulous fiddle tune "Carroll County Blues". So, the place is doubly famous. What is so special about it? And come to think of it, where is it?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: Fibula Mattock
Date: 22 Feb 04 - 02:54 PM

Yeah, Leadfingers, Bristol used to be in the county of Avon, but now it's a county all by itself apparently (as a unitary authority). (Although I often find that postal addresses expect it to be "Avon".)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: ard mhacha
Date: 22 Feb 04 - 03:22 PM

For the benefit of the O`Meara,
ULSTER Antrim, Armagh, Cavan, Derry, Donegal, Down,Fermanagh, Monaghan, Tyrone.                                                LEINSTER,, Louth, Meath, Dublin, Wicklow, Wexford, Longford, Offaly, Carlow, Westmeath, Laois,Kilkenny, Kildare.
CONNAUGHT, Sligo, Galway, Roscommon, Mayo, Leitrim.
MUNSTER, Kerry, Cork, Tipperary, Limerick, Waterford, Clare.

Not bad from memory in about three minutes, well there`s no can prove different.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: greg stephens
Date: 22 Feb 04 - 03:23 PM

Bristol was always odd. Before that Avon nonsense in the 70's, Bristol was on the borders of Gloucestershire and Somerset, but in neither. Like the City of London, the City of Bristol was not in a county, unlike all of the rest of England(or so I have been led to believe).Then it was forcibly incorporated into the ludicrous invention of Avan, and is now apparently back to being on its own again as a unitary authority.
   In Russia they change names(St Petersburg, Petrograd, Leningrad, St Petersburg). In England the name of the town stays the name, but the county it is in moves, changes shapeor name.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: ard mhacha
Date: 22 Feb 04 - 03:24 PM

Sorry all you Paddies in Camden Town, you don`t qualify.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 22 Feb 04 - 03:42 PM

Greg: a quick search of the net seems to produce a "Carroll County", or "County Carroll" in Iowa, Maryland, Illinois, Ohio....

So which one?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: Mary in Kentucky
Date: 22 Feb 04 - 03:55 PM

everyone knows that Carroll County is in Kentucky.

I think the Ode to Billy Joe line referred to a finctionalized place.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: Mary in Kentucky
Date: 22 Feb 04 - 03:56 PM

fiction, that is.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: Peace
Date: 22 Feb 04 - 04:05 PM

I recall a Homer and Jethro (or Spike Mulligan) song that contained the line, "the Carroll County Car Strippers". However, it could have been Carl County or other things that could sound like that.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: Mary in Kentucky
Date: 22 Feb 04 - 04:13 PM

oops...there is a Carroll County, Mississippi that is bordered by the Tallahatchie River.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: GUEST,Pete Peterson
Date: 22 Feb 04 - 09:14 PM

The Carroll County Blues is indeed about Carroll County MS; we know that because that's where Willie Narmour came from. In fact, Harry Bolick (and I'm sorry I can't do a blue ckicky thing to direct you to his website) will sell you a beautiful T-shirt with a picture of Mr. Narmour against a background of the state of Mississippi, with Carroll County outlined.
In the US, there are LOT of counties in the East named for Revolutionary War heroes; ther's at leat four Montgomery Counties that I know of, all for the guy who got himself killed when the US tried to invate Quebec. Carroll I assume to be for Charles Carroll of Carrolton, MD, last survivor of those who signed the Declaration of Independence.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: Mary in Kentucky
Date: 22 Feb 04 - 09:30 PM

Carroll and Montgomery Counties in Kentucky were named after the men listed above.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: dianavan
Date: 23 Feb 04 - 01:37 AM

When I grew up in Washington State, we use to camp, "down by the county line". I still do not know where that was exactly but it was something very familiar to my parents.

brucie - you shouldn't play with their heads that way. You KNOW we do n't have counties in Canada. Mounties, yes. They are comparable to the county sherrifs in the U.S. but not quite. Basically they are not city cops.

d


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 23 Feb 04 - 02:58 AM

Some places they have "Ridings" as the next thing down from a county - Yorkshire (befor they reorganised it anyway), Tipperary, and I believe in Canada and New Zealand. ASnd teh other one is "Hundreds". But I don't think either division generates much in the way of particular loyalty.

I think the crucial thing is being associated with sporting contests.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 23 Feb 04 - 06:22 AM

English counties - in the 12th Century, a shire had a shire moot, the others had borough moots. I suspect it was all down to how much money and what sort of industries were going on.

LTS


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: ard mhacha
Date: 23 Feb 04 - 07:01 AM

McGrath, You are right about Tipperary, it is the only County in Ireland which includes Ridings as means of dividing the County, per North Riding and South Riding.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: greg stephens
Date: 23 Feb 04 - 07:01 AM

There is a hierarchy of counties in England. Some have very powerful identities and and rivalries. Examples would be Lancashire and Youkshire, Devon and Cornwall(which, I appreciate is considered to be a small country by many, rather than a county). Next down the list would be the middle range of counties, eg Lincolnshire, Suffolk, Kent. Modrately strong identity etc.
Then at the bottom are some counties that nobody knows anything about and nobody knows where they are. Herrtfordshire, perhaps, or Northamptonshire. And there is also the unique Rutland, which is difficult to include in this classification. It is very famous, but only for being so small that nobody knows where it is.
   There is an interesting effect, noticable in England and Ireland equally. The countiews round the edge are more famous than the ones in the middle. For example, I think I could correctly recite all the counties of Ireland going round the coast, and likewise England(round the edge, rather than round the coast in that case, Wales and Scotland get in the way). But I would be hard put to put my finger on a map and correctly identify Buckinghamshire or Offaly.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: GUEST,CrazyEddie
Date: 23 Feb 04 - 08:19 AM

Pedant Alert

I believe "Riding" was originally "Trithing" (a third part or division into three)
Since all points of the compass end in wither "t" or "th"
North Trithing, West Trithing etc soon became North 'riding , West 'riding.

However, I can't explain why Tipp. ended up with only two ridings.

(We Corkonians didn't steal one, whatever they say!)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: GUEST,Hugh Jampton
Date: 23 Feb 04 - 09:02 AM

In my experience in the USA, where counties exist in a state, the term "county" is invariably used as a suffix (e.g. Orange County,etc) whereas in the UK the term is not used to define the region.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 23 Feb 04 - 09:51 AM

And Tolkien took that "thirdings" idea a step further by having "Farthings" in the Shire.

..................

"whereas in the UK the term is not used to define the region."

I don't know where you get that, Hugh - normally when we refer to a county we are meaning the geographical territory. Or do you mean that typically in England the word "county" tends to be left out, except where it coincides with the name of a city (as with Durham)?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: GUEST,Hugh Jampton
Date: 23 Feb 04 - 09:56 AM

McGrath,
       What I failed to impart is that in the UK one does not hear the expression "County Sussex" or "Essex County" in general use. The name of the county alone is suffice.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: greg stephens
Date: 23 Feb 04 - 10:46 AM

There was a very relevant musical thread a year or so ago, called "most melodious English county". I can't do blue clickies, I would be most obliged if someone else could supply a connection to this.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: GUEST,Hugh Jampton
Date: 23 Feb 04 - 11:09 AM

Greg,
      I do not know the song but you can bet it refers to Kent!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: Santa
Date: 23 Feb 04 - 11:13 AM

Bristol was not unique: Newcastle upon Tyne was also independent of the two adjacent counties. It was a City Borough, although standing north of the River Tyne and (you'd have thought) part of Northumberland.

I suspect that quite a lot of English cities fell into the same category, having a status and a pride that made them different from the surrounding country and requiring a different governance.

Backing this, "county" types are well-to-do individuals who live in the country. People who live in the cities and towns outside of London are simply provincials.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: greg stephens
Date: 23 Feb 04 - 12:34 PM

Are you sure about Newcastle? I'm sure it was the county town of Northumberland. and the council offices were there as far is i can remember(I'm talking pre-197?, before they invented all those Tyne-and-Wears and Avons and stuff).


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Feb 04 - 12:34 PM

First, the American county that immediately came to my mind was Harlan County in Kentucky, where 'there are no neutrals there'! And 'sweet Betsy' came from Pike -- Pike County, that is, in Ohio. As has been noted, back when many American folk songs originated, a large part of the population lived in areas that were out in the country, and that meant that that they would identify themselves by there county for want of a city, town or even village designation.

Second, there seems to have been a general oversight of the fact that 'county' has two distinct meanings in America and the British Isles, because we in the US have States. Other that the traditional provinces in Ireland, based on the early kingdoms, and some general geographic areas in Scotland (Highlands and Lowlands) and Englnd (the Midlands, the Downs, etc.), counties have the real equvalance to our states. We certainly have the same strong identities and rivalries (especially among sports teams and state universities) as the counties of Ireland and GB.

Third, many of the hierarchies among English counties date from their histotrical antecedents, such as the War of the Roses and the like. Those areas that were royal dukedoms clearly 'lorded' it over those that were baronies or earldoms. The chauvinism now derives from what was real patriotism then.

I'm from Westchester County myself (in NY) and though I live in the City of Yonkers I associate myself largely with the Town of Eastchester and its nearby Village of Tuckahoe, but I get my mail through the Post Office in the Village of Bronxville, which determines my address. In the old days, I'd probably have though of myself as a 'York Stater'. Now when asked, I usually say I'm from NY.

NY does offer its motorists the opportunity to purchase vanity license plates in many categories and designs (anything to catch the pennies) and amazingly to me, many do buy ones that brand them for all to see as coming from Westchester and other counties, but come to think of it, I've never seen one from The Bronx.

Last thought: New York City comprises five (5) counties!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: Jim McLean
Date: 23 Feb 04 - 01:02 PM

While visiting Durham City recently, I referred to being 'down South' as we Scots consider England, and was met with a great hostility. 'We are N(n)ortherners!' was the fierce reply. What do outsiders think when they look at a map of the UK and are told that Manchester and Durham are in the north?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: Santa
Date: 24 Feb 04 - 05:34 AM

Greg: Yes, I am absolutely sure about Newcastle being separate (in the pre-Tyne'n'Wear days) from Northumberland. Given that, I may be wrong about the precise phrase "City Borough" that I used - I recall a sign "The City and County of Newcastle upon Tyne" but this may be no more than a paraphrasing. I believe that City Borough is the right term, but am ready to be corrected.

I think that the county town of Northumberland is Alnwick. Given that Alnwick is the home of the Percys, I would be very surprised to be told otherwise. Where the actual county offices may be, that I can't say, I've been in exile too long.

Jim: I grew up in County Durham, believing that Darlington is "Down South" let alone Manchester! Now living in Preston after time in Bristol, St. Albans, Cranleigh and Kingston, I've no doubts about being "in the North". I'd put the border somewhere around Nottingham, but my Birmingham born and bred wife definitely does not consider herself a Southerner. I suppose that's what the term "Midlands" was invented for.

One New Year's Eve, I was leaving Scotland to the bemused disbelief of some Scots. When told I was going to a party in Newcastle, I was told "That's OK then, Geordies are the next best thing to Scots." I'd have put it the other way around, myself, but a free lift in the snow was not to be emperilled.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: red max
Date: 24 Feb 04 - 08:39 AM

If you're from North Yorkshire it's important to stress the "North" bit, or people will associate you with nasty places like Leeds :-)

Never mind the old Ridings- I like the borders just the way they are


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: ard mhacha
Date: 24 Feb 04 - 08:59 AM

Santa, I remember the Jocks taunting the Geordies by saying, that the Geordies were Scots with their brains removed, being a neutral in the matter,I thought the Scots were being very selective, as I thought this applied toeverone south of Hadrian`s Wall.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: The O'Meara
Date: 24 Feb 04 - 11:29 AM

Thanks - now, are the four provinces of Ireland called provinces, or counties? "And Ireland long a province be a nation once AGAIN." Was Ireland considered a province by the Brits? Or what?

Just for grins - There's a county in southern Louisiana that has no population so it's county seat is in the next county over.

O'Meara (Of the Tipperary O'Mearas)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: Santa
Date: 24 Feb 04 - 11:48 AM

For ard mhacha:

Geordies' brains 10 pence per ounce, Scots' brains £1000 per ounce.
After all, how many Scots do you need to get a ounce of brains?

The rest of you can substitute your own racist epithets.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: GUEST,Dr. Quelch
Date: 24 Feb 04 - 11:54 AM

O`Meara,             POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY
       Scottish, Irish, Welsh, English, Manxmen et al. We are all "Brits" since we hale from the British Isles.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: Santa
Date: 24 Feb 04 - 12:34 PM

Ireland (Ivernia) was considered as different to Britain (Pretannia)by the early Romans, which is as far back as we can apply names separately. (OK, I haven't looked in my Pythias recently....) Those were before the days when there were two Britains to consider.

But I live in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The Irish, Northern or Southern, are not Brits.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Feb 04 - 12:35 PM

Ulster, Munster, Leinster and Connacht, were all kingdoms. There were actually five of them:
Uladh - Ulster
Cruachain - Connaught
Midhe & Breda - Meath
Laigin - Leinster
Mumhan - Munster

Songs about places is not specifically stronger in Ireland than elsewhere. Looking at the link provided as an indication of that, I dare say that you could come up with a similar tourists guide of a song book about anywhere in the British Isles.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: GUEST,Dr.Quelch
Date: 24 Feb 04 - 02:42 PM

Santa,
      The sun rises in the East and there is nothing you can do about it. Neither can you change the fact that you are an inhabitant of the lands that geographically make up THE BRITISH ISLES. Within and upon these islands live various nations, namely the Scottish, Irish, Welsh, English and I have no doubt there are other groups who will identify and earmark themselves. The term "Brits" oft bandied about is altogether inaccurate and misleading if one is trying to identify one particular nation or another.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: greg stephens
Date: 24 Feb 04 - 03:22 PM

Well, GUEST Dr Quelch, you can tell the Irish that they are British till they are blue(or possibly green) in the face, but I doubt if you'll convince them.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: TheBigPinkLad
Date: 24 Feb 04 - 03:27 PM

Newcastle-upon-Tyne et al were "County Boroughs" i.e they were responsible for their own affairs politically and fiscally to some extent; geographically they remained part of their respective counties (Northumberland in the case of Newcastle). County Durham was not so-named to avoid confusion with the city. It's history is unique in that it was an autonomous state until 1833(?)-ish and ruled by Prince Bishops as a military buffer zone between Scotland and England. Long time ago. We love them both now.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: ard mhacha
Date: 24 Feb 04 - 04:55 PM

Dr Quelch, you better get in touch with those rugger buggers who insist in naming their side The British and Irish Lions.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: HuwG
Date: 24 Feb 04 - 05:43 PM

In 1970, the Heath government (that's in Britain) began reorganising county and other local authority boundaries, and creating the Urban authorities such as Greater London. The official reason was that the growth of some urban centres (London, Birmingham etc) meant that they occupied bits of more than one county, leading to inequalities in administration; and that some of the historical counties were so small as to be inefficient.

As can be imagined, no redistribution can ever please everyone. About this time, the last battle of the Wars of the Roses took place. The people of the small community of Diggle, in the foothills of the Pennines, were told that they had been transferred from the West Riding of Yorkshire, to Greater Manchester. As if local pride had not been insulted enough, they were then informed that as a result of their forcible transhumance, their domestic rates (local tax) had just quadrupled. No true Yorkshireman, with the short arms and long pockets of that breed, could stand such an affront to liberty. Somewhere in the disturbances, a rent collector from the local authority was hit in the back by shotgun pellets.

However, boast as they might, nobody from Yorkshire can match a native Rutlander for insularity, parochialism and xenophobia. No wonder that this postage stamp of a county (much of which is actually a lake) was restored. Who knows what threats were made to Home Office civil servants ?


Incidentally, I live in the extreme north-west of Derbyshire. This is rather a schizophrenic county; the small towns in the west (Buxton, Chapel-en-le-frith, Glossop etc) are isolated by the bleaker bits of the Peak District from the main centres of the county on the eastern side. Logic would suggest that boundaries be shifted to conform to the situation. But, keep Greater Manchester out, at all costs ! Better one tyrant thirty miles away than two million next door !


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: Santa
Date: 24 Feb 04 - 06:48 PM

BigPinkLad. Not sure how you would separate the two geographically, in the sense that there was no moat or diverted river dividing Newcastle from Northumberland. However, if it had its own political rule that owed no allegiance of any kind to Northumberland, then it wasn't part of Northumberland. These names are only human constructs, not written into the physical landscape.

Similarly Dr. Quelch. You might think it somehow "right" that the Irish should be British, and for the time they were ruled from London you would have a point. But they are not now. The term British is politically neutral and does not include the Irish. The majority in Northern Ireland might prefer that it did, but it doesn't. The term Brit carries negative political overtones and definitely does not include the Irish! The language is as independent of external diktats as the sunrise.

I'm not sure how the history of the County Palatinate of Durham, which did not have the same borders as the current county, links with the distinctive use of "County Durham", if the term is not used to clearly distinguish the county from the city.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: Dave'sWife
Date: 09 Apr 05 - 11:35 PM

I came across this thread whilst looking for info on 'Ode to Billy Joe' a song that used to scare me as a kid. What WERE Billy Joe and the Singer of the song throwing "off the Tallahatchie Bridge" the week before he jumps off himself?? When I was a kid, we assumed she had given birth in the woods to their illegitimate child and that he and her tossed the baby off the Bridge and then unable to live with the guilt, he jumped himself. This is probably because something similar to that happened when we were young and it was the talk of all the teens.

Regarding Counties:

I must have Springtseen on the brain tonite, but some examples from his songbook seem to indicate that County names and the concept of the County istelf as a boundary loom large in his mind. He is always referring to the borders of various Counties in Jersey with lines about people 'driving across the County Line.'

I think I know why. County Lines in rural areas of Jersey and New York are often jurisdictional borders beyond wich certain law enforrcement agencies will not pursue someone. They were, when he was growing up, a lot like State Lines were in the 70's. There were also very strong territorial feelings amongst us kids who lived in one county or another. Just for laughs, I only now hollered to my husband.. "What county are you from" and in an instant he yelled back from the Kitchen "Mercer!" Mercer County is in NJ for those that don't know.

Those of us who were musicians in those States can recall participating in All-County Band and All-County Chorus and then eventually, the next step up - All-State Chorus and All-STate band. As you grow older, if you get involved in loacl politics, it's all happening at the Country Level. All of our prosecutions of criminals usually take place at the County level. The County Seat is where you go to get married civilly, it's where you used to have to register for the Draft until Carter changed that. Now you do it at the Post Office. And then, there is the all-mighty County fair!

Some States are more tied into this than others. I can still recite all the counties in my Home State, NY, as well as those of most of the bordering States. In the Southern US, I think it's even more important than it was to us in the East.

Back to Springsteen: In his song Wreck on The Highway, he refers to a road which is "A deserted stretch of a County 2 lane" as opposed to a Highway. If you are from where he is, you know immediately that this describes a rural, narrow highway which usually winds through and between various towns. They are often quite spooky at night and hazardous in the rain which is why he chose that setting for the song. He refers to Counties by name in other songs. I wish I could think of some other examples, but I wasn't thinking about the subject when i happened upon this thread.

In conclusion - I believe it depends on which part of the US you are from as to whether or not Counties hold any significance to you.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: Charlie Baum
Date: 10 Apr 05 - 02:58 AM

The importance of counties in the US does indeed depend upon what part of the US you;re talking about. In most of the states, the county is the primary subdivision of the state. (Louisiana calls them parishes, but they're counties by another name.) In the Northeast US, however, counties are less important, because smaller subdivisions are more important. In New England, towns (equivalent to townships in the MidAtlantic and Rust-Belt states), take over in importance. In Maine, the county has a role in jurisdiction over the minor civil divisions that lack population (many "townships" in Maine have a population of zero), and counties help out by providing some services in Vermont and New Hampshire. In Massachusetts, counties are a fairly weak agglomerations of towns, and in Connecitcut and Rhone Island, the county governments were abolished and there exist only as historical remnants, or as a collection of towns when folks at the federal level want to compare things county by county. That's why there aren't county seats there--there's nothing to be seat of.

Canada had counties only in southern Ontario, Southern Quebec, PEI, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Ontario merged counties in recent years, probably contributing to their weakening as geographic areas one might be loyal to, and Quebec kept rearranging borders, and i believe has abolished counties.

A good resource on local governments in the United States may be found at http://www.thegreenpapers.com/slg/cd.phtml

--Charlie Baum, originally from the town of Trumbull in Connecticut, now resident of Montgomery County in Maryland


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: OtherDave
Date: 10 Apr 05 - 09:21 AM

Scanning the thread, I didn't notice any reference to Louisiana having no counties but rather parishes, a legacy of its French origins. A technicality, but those are what make the fun.

Nor to the fact that in the U. S., the chief law enforcement officer in a county is the sheriff -- the shire reeve.

For example, the Wayne County, Michigan sheriff's department operates three jails as a "service" for the 43 municipal police departments in the county (most of which is made up of the city of Detroit).

The mention of county lines in songs and stories tends to refer to the jurisdictional limits of a given county's sheriff, and the power the sheriff tends to have within the county.

Across the water and back in time, there's a great scene in the little-known Robin and Marian,, (Sean Connery as an aging Robin Hood, Audrey Hepburn as Marian) -- a self-important English lord wants to lead a punitive expedition into Sherwood forest. Robert Shaw, the sheriff of Nottingham, says, "Not in my county."

Turning to titles, I think the U.K. has earls (jarls) rather than counts, but the female counterpart of an earl is a countess.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: Severn
Date: 10 Apr 05 - 09:49 AM

As for Carrol county songs, Porter Waggoner had a sizeable country hit a few years ago w/ "The Carroll County Accident"


But what I really want to know is whatever happened to "The Co-star Of The County Down"? Is she getting any work lately? I haven't seen her in anything.

Severn

ex-of Charlie Baum's Montgomery Co. and now in Prince Georges (by only a mile, thank God) and am now one of those people we smarter, richer folks used to dismiss and lool down as trash. Funny, I don't feel any different, except when I shop on US Rte. 1 and Rte.1 does that to any place it goes through on the east coast.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: Dave'sWife
Date: 10 Apr 05 - 11:26 AM

Well, maybe New Englander's don't care for Counties, but growing up in New York State and spending lots of time in Jersey (New Jersey) I can assure you, Counties matter. Regionalism is more important in the rural areas of NY and NJ with your primary divisions being the Counties. You must go to the County Seat for Marriage licenses, Passports, etc. In some of the more rural Counties, you must also go to the Country Seat to take your Driver's test. That has been changing in the past 20 years but it's still common.

My father was in Law Enforcement so perhaps that's why I'm so aware of all those jurisdictional implications in songs that refer to crossing 'County Lines' and which discuss Sheriffs and such. Nowadays, various law enforcement agencies regularly cross over into other jurisdictions in hot pursuit but when I was a kid, it wasn't often done. Getting across the County Line was to get away, same with the State Line. Springteen has refered to 'State Lines' in song almost as often as he refers to 'County Lines'.. the song 'Something in The Night' comes to mind with regard to State Lines. He also had a song 'Darlington County' on the BORN IN THE USA album but that was about doing construction work.

Which reminds me: Springsteen often refers to County Road Workers in his songs. There must be a dozen such references in as many songs. For UK Mudcatters, in the US, we have three major types of road systems.. State, County and Federal. County Roads are the most numerous.


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Subject: Calfornia Counties
From: Joe Offer
Date: 10 Apr 05 - 12:34 PM

I don't think people think much about counties here in California, but there sure is a wide difference in geography and demographics among them - a far wider variety than you'd find anywhere else on earth. We have our dramatics coastline, which comes in rocky and sandy varieties; coastal, granitic sierra, and volcanic mountain ranges, two or three types of deserts, huge inland lakes, salted and unsalted; and the Central Valley. We have the lowest and highest points of the lower 48 states. We have large communities of every ethnic group you can think of, and live in two huge urban areas, and in places where you won't see another human being for miles.

But a lot of Californians hardly know what county they live in.
For years, I had seen all the California counties but one. This last summer, I took my family on vacation to that last one, Inyo County, on the dramatic high desert on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada. There we saw the bristlecone pines, the oldest living things on earth.

Although we don't really have strong identification with counties, there sure is a big difference between Northern Californians, Southern Californians, and the people in the Central Valley. We could easily be three to five different states.

-Joe Offer, Placer County, California-


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: Bill D
Date: 10 Apr 05 - 12:58 PM

counties can matter a lot in some things...The recently mentioned Montgomery County, Maryland, where Charlie Baum & I live happens to be the ONLY county in the USA which operates it's own liquor authority. As a result, there are no privately owned "liquor" stores there, although there ARE privately owned beer & wine stores.....but you can't buy beer OR wine in grocery stores, whereas in Prince Georges County, (and in most of the Washington DC area, you can......and the whole area is one huge suburban area with few signs to tell you what jurisdiction you are in....you just have to know.

To complicate it more, there are several older *towns* (marked only by a few cute signs on major streets) within the area,(most notably, Garrett Park, Kensington and Tacoma Park) which are incorporated and have rules and controls separate from both the county AND the state! (They have their own traffic laws, refuse collection routines...etc..)

The result is, if I want to buy a bottle of Rum, I need to know not only where it can be sold, but what day of the week it is, and what time of day, as some streets are one-way only in Kensington during certain times on weekdays, to prevent "them" from driving through local streets to commute. (In my neighborhood, one minute North of Kensington, there can be no local traffic controls.)

I'm sure you in the UK can cite even more interesting cases...*grin*


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 10 Apr 05 - 07:26 PM

Dr Quelch,

I would respectfully suggest that you refrain from telling the Irish that they are Brits.

The very word, to many Irishmen, has supplanted f**k, as the ultimate four letter epithet, and I'm sure that you would not wish to be responsible for bringing the current, uneasy peace to a very noisy end.

To make that assertion in any Irish pub would be an effective, but probably messy, way of committing suicide.

DT


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: jimmyt
Date: 10 Apr 05 - 10:02 PM

I feel that the origins of the peoples who occupy any one county in ENgland, ie Norfolk as opposed to Cornwall or Cumbria is quite different and you get a sense that English people are really not nearly as homogenized as the people here in USA or Canada.

This may or may not be entirely the truth but at least in my mind it accounts for the differences in customs and dialect from one area to the other. So, for the most part, yes, I think the county thing has a greater distinction there than it does here. States, however, are an altogether different issue.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: Snuffy
Date: 11 Apr 05 - 08:50 AM

Excuse me, but as I read it, Dr Quelsch is saying that the Irish are not 'Brits' and neither are the English, Welsh etc. Several nations and two states occupy the British Isles.

Ireland is part of the British Isles (but not part of Britain/UK) in the same way Canada is part of America (but not part of USA).

Geography and politics do not always coincide.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 11 Apr 05 - 10:00 AM

There was a wonderful moment at the English National festival yesterday afternoon, when John Cocking (a Yorkshireman) recited "Runcorn Ferry (Tuppence per person per trip)" - one of the Marriot Edgar monologues performed by Stanley Holloway. (Runcorn is in Cheshire but the ferry crossed over to Widnes, in Lancashire.)

"The further they paddled, the deeper it got
But they wouldn't give in once t'begun;
In the spirit that made Lancashire what it is
They'd sooner be drownded than done."

Kitty


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 11 Apr 05 - 11:16 AM

I think that, in the US, counties and their boundaries are of most interest to those running from the law ~ once you cross the county line, the cops are powerless to continue pursuit (unless they are state or federal authorities, of course).

Well, that's perhaps an exagerration; it really depends upon where you live. I would think that in the more urban areas, you're much more conscious of your city/town/municipality and your state than of your county, but out in more rural areas, where the towns are so much smaller, you're more likely to identify with your county. (Especially in areas where the County Fair is an important annual event.)

I think counties are more important in Ireland because they are the principal politcal/geographical subdivisions of the country, analagous to the states of the US. I suppose someone could argue against this point of view by citing the four provinces, but I don't think that applies in any real-life sense.

I live in Louisiana, where the political units equivalent to counties are called "parishes." Strictly semantics ~ our (non-eccelsiastical) parishes are "counties." I don't believe the story related above, about an uninhabited Louisiana parish whose seat of government is outside its boundaries. However, we do have one very sparely-populated parish down in the swamps which consists of two non-contiguous areas ~ not sure of its name: St. Landy? St. Martin? I have seen it on maps. The parish government there, of course, would be in one of the two separate areas and not the other.

Counties in the US typically encompass multiple municipalities, but most of our larger cities are counties unto themselves: the boundaries of Orleans Parish, for example, are identical to those of the City of New Orleans. Same thing for The City and County of San Francisco.

New York City is unique in that a single city encompasses five counties of the State of New York: Manhatten is called New York County, I believe; Brooklyn is Kings County, Queens is Queens, Staten Island is Richmond County, and The Bronx is Bronx County.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: Torctgyd
Date: 11 Apr 05 - 11:49 AM

Going right back to the first post in this thread the use of the definite artical could be linguistic. Most languages (well European anyway) generally use the definite artical before the noun. For example La France whereas in English we just normally say France. In Greek you wouldn't talk say 'Stavros went to the market' but would say 'the Stavros went to the market'.

T


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 11 Apr 05 - 12:05 PM

I always say I live in West London , 'cos Middlesex only exists as a postal address - Middlesex is now a string of London Boroughs politically and no one outside the immediate area has ANY idea where Hillingdon is !!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 11 Apr 05 - 12:06 PM

Oh and by the way --! 100 !!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: OtherDave
Date: 11 Apr 05 - 12:23 PM

Most languages (well European anyway) generally use the definite artical before the noun

Getting further off-topic, that'd be those languages that use articles (definite or indefinite). It's curious that the Romance languages use them when Latin did not.

Recall when English speakers used to refer to a certain East European location as "the Ukraine." This form was not possible to express in Ukranian, since that language doesn't use articles.

You have to watch what you're saying about language. Geoffrey Pullum, a British linguist, told a lecture group at the U. of London that that many languages have SVO (subject-verb-object) order as their standard mode (e.g., English, "you read a book"), and many VSO ("read you a book"). Others have SOV, and a very few have VOS. "The other two logically possible orders, OSV ['a book you read'] and OVS ['a book read you'] do not occur at all."

Student Des Derbyshire raised his hand and said, "Excuse me, sir, but I speak an object-initial language." (Hixkarynana, a Carib language in northern Brazil.)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: GUEST,DannyC
Date: 11 Apr 05 - 02:23 PM

In Kentucky (USA) (where I live) folk generally state their county of origin very early in the "hello, nice to meet ya" ritual (aka the "howdie").   County is important here...

In Philadelphia, PA (where I am from), my caste of people would want to know what parish you were from - St. Dominic Savio? St. Martin of Tours? St. Stanislaus?   Once you'd get that established, you could start with the "Do you know ... the O'Donnells? ... The Kowalskis? ... The Venutis?" It's probably changed a bunch in Philly.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 11 Apr 05 - 02:31 PM

Leadfingers

As someone who's Middlesex born and bred, I'd just like to remind you of the toast:

Here's to the fair sex of Middlesex
And here's to Middlesex the fair
And here's to the middle of the fair sex
And by xxxx I wish I was there.

Kitty


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: GUEST,*Laura*
Date: 11 Apr 05 - 02:34 PM

I like living in my county - all my friends think that's strange 'cos they'd rather live anywhere but Somerset (aka farmer-land).
I think it must have something to do with coming from a folkie family that I don't mind it. :0)

xLx


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: Franz S.
Date: 11 Apr 05 - 07:04 PM

In the western US counties are most important to real estate agents and lawyers. Real estate tends to be ranked by county (Marin is high status, Kern is low status in California). Lawyers care because each county has a county seat where the courthouse, sheriff, and most other county offices are located. There always seems to be tension between big and little. People from Eastern Washington or Oregon are supposed to dislike and mistrust people from west of the mountains, and within a county the rural areas and urban areas tend to band together against each other.   It is also traditional for country folk to abhor the county seat, especially if it is also the largest town. But counties are administrative entities created by the state goverments, and they don't carry anything remotely like the historical weight that they do in those islands over there (whatever they may be called).


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: Burke
Date: 11 Apr 05 - 07:30 PM

A lot of Social Service agencies are organized on a county level as well. For years I worked for Hennepin County, Minnesota Dept. of Financial Assistance. We administered AFDC & General Welfare payments as well as Medicaid enrollment. I'm not sure of the source of the funds, except that refugee aid was all Federal. The Feds handled SSI & Medicare. Hennepin Co. includes Minneapolis & areas north, south & west. St. Paul is in Ramsey County.

I now live in New York. In Oneida County we are now very well aware that lots of Medicaid funds come from county coffers. We just had a big sales tax increase that no one else in the state has. Here we were thinking it was all Federal or State funds.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: mandoleer
Date: 11 Apr 05 - 07:34 PM

Here in the UK we refer to county if needed to establish which town is being referred to, i.e. Newport on the Severn estuary is Newport, Monmouthshire even though it is a unitary authority now (that is, it is a county and town at the same time). Not many places that are duplicated as names are important enough for people to be aware of the others. There are many Prestons, but only one is big enough to be known nationally. The three main Newcastles all have extensions (-upon-Tyne, -under-Lyme, Emlyn) to make it clear which is referered to.
Many people still stick to the 'old' counties. I use Merseyside for my address, but a lot here use Lancashire. The Wirral fought hard to lose the L (Liverpool) post code, and now they have CH (Chester - their old county town when they were in Cheshire).
And apart from Cornwall there are some areas that regard themselves as other. The Forest of Dean doesn't seem to think it is in England or in Wales (a couple of elections ago there were 3 candidates standing for Independence for the Forest). On hearing that my father was born in Longney (on the other bank of the Severn), an old freeminer commented, 'Aye, over in England'. Then he made a remark about 'them in Wales'...


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