[APG Public List] [APG Members] place names

Michael John Neill mjnrootdig at gmail.com
Mon Oct 25 09:55:57 MDT 2010

I may be in the distinct minority, but I only use gps coordinates when I am
certain I have a relatively precise location. For cemeteries and locations
with addresses this works particularly well. If I know where a farm is at
today, the same applies. For many places, the amount of accuracy I have is
minimal and I'm not able to pinpoint where an event took place.

My grandmother's 1910 birth only indicates the township in which she was
born. In this instance, that's a square 6 miles on a side. I have no idea
where in the township she was born (her father was a tenant farmer and I
don't know the location where he rented). Various software and sites will
assign coordinates to this location, but they are (in my opinion)
arbitrarily precise. If I were to use coordinates (which I don't in this
case), I would only indicate the four corners of the township.

Use of GPS isn't the only scenario where more accuracy is assigned than is

Just my two cents.

On Sun, Oct 24, 2010 at 9:15 AM, LBoswell <laboswell at rogers.com> wrote:

>  Given multiple options to find and locate gps coordinates in
> longitude/latitude why not use the name as it appears in the document, then
> log it under longitude and latitude.
> Easy enough to find those coordinates simply from google maps.  Find the
> location of interest, or as close to the area as possible on google maps.
> Click on link (upper right hand corner next to 'print' and 'send'), and copy
> the result into a  text reader or even an email.
> Looks like this:
> http://maps.google.com/maps?q=54.996721,-1.663892&num=1&sll=43.4501,-87.222019&sspn=4.218381,8.195801&ie=UTF8&ll=54.996524,-1.664321&spn=0.00373,0.013036&z=17
> The coordinates of interest above are the first ones 54.996721,-1.663892.
> Plugging those into the search line on google maps will take you to the
> location (in this case a street in Manchester, UK.  Those coordinates will
> never change, unlike the constantly evolving names for same location.  Most
> genealogy programs will do the same thing.
> When we note a location why aren't we automatically adding the coordinates
> for the benefit of future researchers.  Also allows a client to pull up
> google maps and see exactly where the location is/was.  Or at least the
> closest modern approximation (if the street doesn't exist, you can normally
> locate its modern location on google maps by cross-referencing period
> sources like maps and gazetteers with the modern map).
> This has to be the way we go now, it's simply the most exact way to
> pinpoint a location (and it's independent of the past or current name).
> More importantly it can take you to a jurisdictional level location (where
> you select the central point of that jurisdiction and use those
> coordinates), or narrow down to a specific map location.  More often now you
> can then overlay that modern location on Google earth with a historical map
> and at the same time have the modern location right in front of you.  Future
> researchers will always know what location is being referred to, and it's
> independent of language.
> A way of noting locations that a) will never change in the future  b).
> allows a unified way to catalogue a location to its various name changes
> over time, and c). is independent of language preferences. Given the ease of
> finding the coordinates for any location on the planet, it just makes sense
> Larry

Michael John Neill
Casefile Clues-Genealogy How-Tos
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