[APG Public List] Marking Co-Ordinates with GPS

LBoswell laboswell at rogers.com
Mon Nov 1 13:59:24 MDT 2010

luckily in the example I provided (loop in the constantly meandering Oxbow 
Creek), there is a period cemetery that the town of Weybridge is allowing to 
be eaten away. Looking at original maps one can see exactly where the 
original river once was, and then sadly confirm it by standing in the 
cemetery (but not too close to the edge of the creek)!

I asked why the town or a local society doesn't simply organize saving the 
surviving headstones but there was no apparent interest.

In many cases you can see where the banks were previously, using either 
local knowledge, old maps, descriptions etc.

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Ray Beere Johnson II
  To: APG Posting
  Sent: Monday, November 01, 2010 3:46 PM
  Subject: Re: [APG Public List] Marking Co-Ordinates with GPS

        --- On Mon, 11/1/10, linda at fpr.com <linda at fpr.com> wrote:

        > Rivers can have many bends and many oak trees. Identifying *the 
one* isn't always all
        > that straightforward.

             No, it isn't - and in places such as rural Vermont, where there 
is substantial evidence that banks may have shifted somewhat from the time 
early deeds were recorded, how do we know the bend is even in the same 
place? Unless we can show some continuity between that ancient document and 
a specific modern location, we can't. And, in fact, in New England, even the 
official state surveys are considered suspect in some areas. Especially in 
             This is _not_ to say that I object to the use of GPS 
co-ordinates as a tool. Like any other tool, they can be very useful. But, 
like any other tool, they are never capable of any better than the best 
their user can manage - and if we get too caught up in the accuracy of these 
co-ordinates, and too focused on the precise locations we are now able to 
record for future generations, we will forget all the other factors which 
might lead us astray and turn that precise information into something 
actively misleading instead of something useful.
             GPS will _only_ be a respected tool for genealogists as long as 
we all keep that in mind. If we allow enthusiasm to overcome our 
hard-learned caution, all those co-ordinates will soon gain just the kind of 
reputation an online family tree has. The internet was a useful tool, too - 
but we allowed it to be misused and now it is heaped with so much 
genealogical garbage that we only dare take a serious look at the data on 
most sites if every other avenue has already failed.
                                                              Ray Beere 
Johnson II

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