[APG Public List] APGPublicList Digest, Vol 12, Issue 38

John Yates john at jytangledweb.org
Mon Nov 1 09:35:42 MDT 2010


That is why I've called the source type "Digital Location" rather
than GPS coordinates. I tend use the latter when conversing
with people though because it makes clear what I am talking
about. If I said the more general "Digital Location" I'd get a
bunch of blank stares. ;-)


On 11/1/2010 10:34 AM, L. Boswell wrote:
> And just to say it again, that this isn't about "the GPS" system. We
> aren't necessarily talking about "GPS". These are old-fashioned, long
> established degrees of latitude and longitude. Now we have things like
> gps devices, google maps/earth, online lists of towns by coordinates,
> and so on. But not "GPS coordinates" (except in the sense that is how
> many relate to them given the popularity of navigating devices).
> Larry
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> *From:* L. Boswell <laboswell at rogers.com>
> *To:* Michael Hait <michael.hait at hotmail.com>; apgpubliclist at apgen.org
> *Sent:* Mon, November 1, 2010 10:13:26 AM
> *Subject:* Re: [APG Public List] APGPublicList Digest, Vol 12, Issue 38
> Sorry, maybe I'm missing something here, but I wouldn't say the physical
> location is less important than the artificial boundaries. How do you
> know which boundaries apply if you haven't established the actual
> physical location first (or early on in the research process)? I'd say
> it's fundamentally important on so many levels that I'd have to write a
> book length reply.
> And recording it using applicable names and degrees latitude/longitude
> just adds another tool to the research bag. Also makes life easier when
> you return to a file that you haven't worked on for an extended period
> of time.
> And topographical features are of paramount importance when addressing
> the family 'history' of individuals. The records that we have are often
> just secondary considerations in their lives, where their lives
> intersected with some official purpose for a fleeting moment. Their day
> to day lives are more likely to be revealed or explained in terms of the
> physical features of the landscape that they lived in and interacted
> with on a daily basis. We cannot gain very much of their 'history' from
> the records, but we can tease out a lot more by understanding what might
> have had a day-to-day impact on their lives. And really the physical
> location is where you start that process, not the jurisdictional
> boundaries, not the record creating bodies. What might have effected how
> they lived their real lives. Top of the agenda there is where did they
> live. Pinpointing the physical location is of fundamental importance.
> Larry
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> *From:* Michael Hait <michael.hait at hotmail.com>
> *To:* apgpubliclist at apgen.org
> *Sent:* Mon, November 1, 2010 12:17:16 AM
> *Subject:* Re: [APG Public List] APGPublicList Digest, Vol 12, Issue 38
> This has been an interesting discussion, especially since I have little
> knowledge of the GPS system.
> However, here is my argument “against it being useful.” If we are
> talking about the precise location of a gravestone, then I can
> definitely see the benefit of having GPS coordinates. That is a given,
> so please understand that I am not referring to this situation at all.
> Fortunately, gravestones are one of the least of the records that we use
> in much of the research we do. In none of the other research we do would
> these coordinates be important or even useful.
> As genealogists, dealing with records created by various bodies whether
> civil, religious, private, or otherwise, the physical location of a
> place (i.e. latitude/longitude) is less important than the artificial
> boundaries established by these record-creating institutions. The
> physical location does not change, but it says nothing of where one
> would need to find records. The civil borders of towns, counties, and
> even states change over time, the borders of church parishes, dioceses,
> etc., change over time, and families move over time. Pinpointing them on
> a map to this degree of accuracy is less important than locating them in
> relation to the historic county boundaries, historic parish boundaries,
> etc. Knowledge of local geography (esp. watercourses), history and laws
> is what helps us locate the records that we use.
> Other than the aforesaid gravestone situation, in what way can the GPS
> coordinates be considered EVIDENCE? (This is not a rhetorical question,
> but an honest inquiry.)
> Michael Hait
> michael.hait at hotmail.com
> http://www.haitfamilyresearch.com
> *From:* James Burnett <mailto:dougb81042 at gmail.com>
> *Sent:* Sunday, October 31, 2010 7:02 PM
> *To:* apgpubliclist at apgen.org <mailto:apgpubliclist at apgen.org>
> *Subject:* Re: [APG Public List] APGPublicList Digest, Vol 12, Issue 38
> John. I Certainly second every thing you are saying about using
> coordinates to convey location of ancesteral items of interest. I don't
> understand the arguments against it being useful or accurate. To those
> who don't have a Navigator you don't need one. Since all of those
> participating in this discussion have a computer you actually do have a
> navigator. It is called Google Earth and by the way you get altitude
> along with lat and long with no additional effort. I am not looking for
> the accuracy to permit me to drop a basketball down a well. Just get me
> within a hundred feet and my eyes and feet will take care of the rest
> because I will have looked at google earth and know what I am looking
> for. How much simpler can it get? To be perfectly honest I would think
> that any genealogist that is doing work outside of the library would be
> expected to use coordinates to define locations today. I certainly take
> them and if I forget my navigator I bet you can guess what I use--Google
> Earth.
> A perfect example is a gravesite that I have been trying to locate for
> several years. I have a picture of it taken in 1995. I have a location
> written in 1933. Given the remote location and the road changes that
> have occurred we have not located that site yet--the photographer died
> without leaving any further description. Lat and Long would have been
> fabulous to have. This just seems such a nobrainer to me I can not
> understand the reluctance to accept.
> I would also say it does not matter if the older couple you are writing
> the report for understand how to use them or not, their grandchildren
> would. Reports are both for the customer and anyone else that reads it.
> Enuff said as I navigate from 28 Deg North, 80 Deg West.

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