[APG Public List] place names

LBoswell laboswell at rogers.com
Mon Oct 25 18:32:01 MDT 2010

I'll keep replying online on these lists when asked questions.

No, it's for those reasons you suggest, but it's very much about historical 

The main use I have for them from a research point of view is two fold.  One 
to pull all the different jurisdictional name changes under one common 'tag' 
(the coordinates shared by all).  That is very much useful for finding 
record sources because often records end up in modern repositories, 
municipal archives and so on.  On a modern map I can see where those records 
might have been carted off to.  That's particularly important in UK research 
where records for one location might have been pulled into a repository 
related to a past jurisdictional boundary that is no longer apparent today. 
Just being able to use the historical name that's in the record, instead of 
substituting the modern name is a plus for research needs (in the way you 
describe yourself).  I don't need to worry that someone won't know 
what/where the place named is (because it's tied to coordinates, along with 
its later name changes).  So name is by what's in the record, no concerns 
thanks to tying it to a set of coordinates (the coordinates are neither 
modern nor historical, they just are locators).

Second is to use a historical overlay on google earth, locate historical 
locations (for example streets lost under modern freeways or buildings), 
use my cursor with overlay to obtain coordinates.  Then see where those 
coordinates are on current map on google earth.  Again it tells me where 
records might have ended up because I can see what modern jurisdictions etc 
contain those historical locations.

other uses, to track patterns of migrations, use coordinates on a 
topographical map to trace whether two seemingly close locations actually 
were 'geographically/physically' accessible, one to the other.  The uses are 
endless and they're all related to research needs.  I'm sure people have far 
more creative ways of enhancing research needs by using these then I'm 

Does any of that make sense from your research pov?


  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Jill N. Crandell
  To: apgpubliclist at apgen.org
  Sent: Monday, October 25, 2010 8:16 PM
  Subject: Re: [APG Public List] place names

  While reading this conversation about historical place names, modern place 
names, and GPS coordinates, I have wondered if the differences of opinion 
also have to do with differences in purpose. Larry can correct me if I am 
misinterpreting his comments, but it seems to me that he has a particular 
interest in locating places on a map of today, especially for clients to 
find family historical places. My reaction is that I wouldn't use GPS 
coordinates. My intent in recording place names is to use the historical 
names so that records for that jurisdiction can be located for research 
purposes. I also feel that the "place" an event occurred had to exist at the 
time it occurred. GPS coordinates and modern place names don't meet the 
needs for my purposes. I have used GPS coordinates to locate a specific 
grave within a cemetery, especially in a large cemetery or for an unmarked 
grave, but I have not used them for larger, more general place designations.

  Just some thoughts,


  Jill N. Crandell, AG®
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