[APG Public List] Marking Co-Ordinates with GPS
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.
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