The article reports a study of changes in place names used in Pöide parish, focussing on three time periods from the end of the 18th century until today. The necessity for place names depends on people’s need to communicate and identify a certain place, while survival of the names critically depends on their use. Both social changes and changes in nature may be the reason for changes in place names. Place names can be classified into cultural and nature names. This classification is expedient, because the names change differently as do their referents. Although nearly half of the names of either group have not survived, the changes observed across the groups are different. Cultural names tend to be subject to total lexical replacement, whereas nature names are rather replaced partly, change affecting either the determinative or a part of the attribute.