The Golden Rule to recording locations in family history is to always record the location as it was at the time of the event.
When entering locations into your family history records, the common practice is to record place names from smallest to largest – i.e. town/locality, county/parish/district, state/province, country. You may choose to leave off the country if it is where you live and where the majority of your research is concentrated, but you should keep a note of it in your files.
Many pedigree charts and other genealogical forms do not allow for the recording of full place names. In this case, abbreviations are acceptable as long as they are the ones in common use.
If you only know the town or city where an event occurred, use a gazetteer to find the county, parish, province, etc.
It is very important to understand the history of the place in which you are researching so that you can make educated predictions about where to discover records for a certain time period. Changes in population, wars and other historical events have caused location boundaries to shift over time. When recording a place name for any event, always include the location as it was at the time of the event. Then, if space allows, add information about its current location.
If you are unsure about a location but have records that point to the most likely alternative, you can mark it as “probable”. For instance, if you know where an ancestor is buried, you may make the assumption that he died in that area.