[APG Public List] [APG Members] place names

eshown at comcast.net eshown at comcast.net
Mon Oct 25 12:38:18 MDT 2010


Michael wrote:
>I may be in the distinct minority, but I only use gps coordinates when I am
certain I have a relatively precise location. .
>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). 
 
You make a very good point, Michael. Especially so with farm families that
did not own land. Tenant and sharecropping families tended to move every
year or so. Even if they stayed within the same township for the duration of
their working lives, thirty-six square miles makes for too large an area to
arbitrarily assign coordinates. 
 
>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
implied. 
 
Agreed. While some researchers do feel that arbitrarily assigned coordinates
are "better than nothing" and some trusting clients seem pleased to have
them, I share your caution here.
 
Elizabeth
 
Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG
Tennessee
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