[APG Public List] [APG Members] place names

John john at jytangledweb.org
Mon Oct 25 18:28:39 MDT 2010

I think the caution of using them can be addressed in the description
(citation detail?) of what the site is. Mostly, distinct locations
(house site, cemetery site, grave stone site; remember most GPS devices
today are only accurate to +/-15feet) can be annotated as "Grave Site
of..." etc.

But often, GPS coordinates of nonspecific areas can be very helpful.
Many states have more than once city with the same name, for example.
There are evidently several Baden, Germanies over the years or even
simultaneously. And Baden-Baden. And Alsace-Lorraine sites could be
in France or Germany almost according to the time of day! So if you
know for sure which city or general location is the correct one, use
of GPS coordinates would be helpful to other researchers,
with an appropriate "disclaimer", to prevent confusion with other sites.
And if I ever get to Germany, I can put my GPS device on the windshield
of the airport rental car and drive directly there from the nearest
airport without a printed map.

I think all that is needed is a little "common sense" to address the

I use my GPS for finding almost all new sites these days. I just used
it to find my accommodations near Pittsburgh and the site of a
conference. I almost never use or need printed maps any more for


On 10/25/2010 2:38 PM, eshown at comcast.net wrote:
> 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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