[APG Public List] mapping and research

Michael John Neill mjnrootdig at gmail.com
Mon Nov 1 11:20:51 MDT 2010

I am with Michael on this one.

I also use a variety of historical maps and also plat properties from metes
and bounds descriptions and use rectangular survey descriptions as well to
determine properties' relative locations to each other. Often I, like
others, plot metes and bounds descriptions of properties from a series of
deeds in chronological order hoping to infer relationships from various
property descriptions and transactions.

In the analysis of these records having a general idea of the property's
location is helpful. But for the determination of family structure and other
relationships (as Michael pointed out), pinpointing the property is not
necessary and not always a good use of my time. This is particularly true
for historical properties where I do not have a chain of title to the
present date and am not certain who owns the property today.

If the farm is one whose location I know, then I could easily see using
coordinates to indicate the corners of the property and keeping that
information for future generations. In my case, I could easily do this for
my parents, grandparents, andn several sets of earlier generations where the
property purchased 100 or 150 years ago is still in the family (my personal
knowledge of the locations would be my "reason" why I "marked" certain
corners). I'm not certain how helpful it would be to spend time trying to
find relatively precise corner call locations for the 18th century Virginia
patent for an ancestor. It's going to be awful difficult to locate all those
trees (grin!). Might there be the occasional case where this could be
helpful? Yes. But that's something I would determine on a case by case basis
and would not do in every situation.

I use all the technology at my disposal every day--I just don't use the same
tools on every problem--even when one problem may appear similar to another.

Michael John Neill
Casefile Clues

On Mon, Nov 1, 2010 at 12:04 PM, Michael Hait <michael.hait at hotmail.com>wrote:

>   I use historic maps in nearly every project.  But these historic maps do
> not have latitude/longitude on them usually.  I also use land records in
> nearly every project, which allows me to place the land on the maps (at
> least in a general sense).  My point is that discovering the general
> location (especially when dealing with a 200-acre farm) is an important
> step, but pinpointing the exact longitude/latitude seems like an extraneous
> step that does not add anything to the research.
> I look at it this way – location of a piece of land is important for the
> following reasons:
> - records jurisdiction
> - relation to topographical landmarks
> - distance to county courthouses
> - distance to nearest town
> - location of nearest church
> - identities of neighbors
> - identifying possible migration routes (through relation to bodies of
> water, historic trails, etc)
> - (and of course other more creative uses I am sure)
> All of these tasks, however, can be completed using historic records and
> historic maps, including identifying topographical landmarks, etc.  But how
> does taking the extra time and effort to pinpoint a precise
> latitude/longitude provide additional USEFUL information, not covered by the
> historic records/maps?
> Michael Hait
> michael.hait at hotmail.com
> http://www.haitfamilyresearch.com
>  *From:* L. Boswell <laboswell at rogers.com>
> *Sent:* Monday, November 01, 2010 12:50 PM
> *To:* Michael Hait <michael.hait at hotmail.com> ; apgpubliclist at apgen.org
> *Subject:* mapping and research
> sorry, forgot to change the subject in that last one.
> Good point John, and GPS coordinates mean much the same thing (I just like
> to remind people that this isn't based on something new!)
> Michael, got to thinking here.  How important is mapping and the use of
> maps to you in your research?   I barely move without referring to a map
> when I working on a file.   More likely multiple maps.  If your answer is
> "pretty important" than the use of coordinates is simply going to be a good
> tool to have on hand.  If you never work with maps, then I can see your
> point.  But I don't see how I could do effective research without
> referencing things to a location on a map of some sort
> Larry

Michael John Neill
Casefile Clues-Genealogy How-Tos
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