Coordinates for places- fomerly RE: [Ger-Poland-Volhynia] Powiat maps of Russian Poland

Gary Warner gary at
Tue Mar 23 08:29:08 PST 2004


I would agree absolutely that it would be best to note only the correct
place in the database instead of all the variations, but, as you note,
sometimes that is simply not possible to do with the limited information
that we have.  As noted in my earlier email, however, I think that
somewhere in your database, even if it is only in a note, that the entry
as found in your source records needs to be entered.  That is the only
sure way to be able to later revise your "correct" location if you later
get data that says that the true location is yet somewhere else. 

Concerning the extraction of data for the Parish Records Index (PRI)- or
in areas you are not very familiar with in your own personal research, we
usually do not know enough about the local area to determine which is the
"correct" location, so I am more inclined in this instance to enter the
place exactly as found in the original record.  It is usually only by
assembling a family where the children are all born in what appears to be
the same place that we gain sufficient knowledge to be able alter the
location name to the "correct" one.  As Dave Obee points out, however, be
extremely careful about combining places that are not really the same
location.  In every country, it appears, there are many places with the
same name.

Concerning the Geo Locator in Legacy, it is a good tool so far as it has
the place that you seek, but it is NOT all encompassing.  I have noticed,
for instance, that it does not yet show all the governing jurisdictions
in Poland.  Perhaps that is a glitch in the database entry.  It also does
not show every small town in the USA or Canada, but does show
interestingly enough that some towns are in several counties in the USA
(the same is even more true in Poland and Volhynia- so beware), and that
is a problem for our members to further correct as they enter their
data.  Perhaps the best feature of the Geo Locator is that it lets you
look at a map so that (if you already know where the town is) you can
correctly select the correct global coordinates.  What I consider the
BEST feature of Geo Locator is that it can spell better than most of us. 
Thus, if you use it, I will not have to again contend with 23 versions of
"Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada" in the database.  I have the same dilemma
as all of the rest of you- I am exceedingly nervous in combining place
names to the "correct" one.

Gary Warner

At 07:36 AM 3/23/2004, Karl Krueger wrote:

  Sorry to reply to this so late but I have been out of town the last 5
  days. It seems this discussion has evolved more into specifically
  entering data for SGGEE. Gary, if you want us to use the Geo Location
  List feature I'll give that a try. I haven't used it yet, but it will
  surely apply to those "verified" locations I keep in my own ongoing
  database. I'm about ready to send in some more data so should I try
  to incorporate it for my known towns?
  I appreciated what Dave had to say about being careful make
  corrections to misspellings. Since I have been transcribing from EWZ
  I have a number of issues that come up. It would just get messy if I
  were to reference each case of a mispelling/alternate spelling as I
  often get multiple siblings all referring to the same parents' towns
  with different spellings. When I can positively identify the town
  (like if it is a town neighboring the  towns I'm working on such as
  within Kreis Chelm) I just leave the entry as the "correct" spelling
  for that town. It would really muck up the SGGEE database if we enter
  every "version" of misspelling for a town that I clearly know. Where
  things are indefinite, I list each spelling. Ultimately, I see it as
  the responsibility of the individual researcher to look up the
  record(s) themselves and make their own conclusions, and SGGEE does
  provide the details where they can find each record. Since I restrict
  myself to a defined locality, working on all families in that region,
  I can often draw conclusions that are not evident from a single
  record, and thus I try to offer my "expertise" in making these
  judgement calls.
  A great example of this is one I came upon this weekend. One person
  listed the death location of her mother as being "Mitschigau". So I
  entered that into the appropriate field and wondered where Mitschigau
  was. Later I came upon a sibling who listed the death location of the
  mother as being "Detroit".  So I could keep "Mitschigau" referenced
  in the database but I have simply changed it to the correct location
  as "Detroit, MI, USA".  Anyone interested in this family can still
  look up both records themselves and come to their own conclusions.
  So I guess what I am bringing up is, when it is clear what the
  accurate data is, should we still clutter the database with much of
  this garbage that we can throw out? SGGEE specifically warns its
  members to verify information using the records themselves and don't
  trust the database as the authoritative answer. This seems to be an
  issue the Research Committee needs to advise us on if we need to
  change the way we have been doing things. I can see that depending on
  the nature of records one transcribes from, the issues that need to
  be dealt with will differ (parish records vs EWZ).
  To summarize what I see as being the issue: Should the database
  reflect specific data (vs multiple possiblities) when it is clear
  with a high degree of assurance that the "specific data" is correct?
  My OPINION would be to keep only the "specific data". That in itself
  would act as guide for any researcher indicating what "we believe" is
  the correct data, while the responsibility is up to that researcher
  to study the records themselves and determine if they come to the
  same conclusion.

  Gary Warner <gary at> wrote:

          To all,
          Adding geographic coordinates to place names is indeed a good
          idea, and, as
          Karl notes, adds a great deal of satisfaction to your family
          history work
          to know where a place is located.
          Any of you that use the Deluxe version of Legacy 5.0 as your
          family history
          program can now add geographic coordinates to all place names
          using a
          feature called Geo Location List. It is based on an
          electronic gazetteer
          of the world that is a part of the program, and although not
          works most of the time, especially if you have a reasonable
          clue how to
          spell the place, or at least know what the place name starts
          with or sounds
          like. The times when I cannot make it work are usually when
          one of our
          members gives me a place in the USA and there are three such
          places in
          different counties in the same state!
          For instance, In Karl's place called "(Kustanai) Qostanay,
          Kazakhstan", it
          seems that Qostanay is the state or region in Kazakhstan in
          which Kustanai
          is located, and that Kustanai is located at coordinates
          E0633500. When you have found this place in the Geo Location
          List, Legacy
          will add those coordinates to that place name in your family
          file, and then
          ALSO link you to a Map Quest map that shows where it is in
          the world! Very
          cool in my estimation.
          For those of you who submit data to me for inclusion in the
          master Pedigree
          Database, it would sure be nice if you all used this feature,
          or anything
          else that ensured consistent spelling of place names (to the
          extent that
          such is possible), so that there are not a dozen different
          spellings of the
          same place name that I then have to merge manually. In my
          current merge of
          data. I just made 13 different spellings of Vancouver,
          British Columbia,
          Canada into one master location. Oh that it were possible to
          do that with
          all places :-)
          Gary Warner
          Gig Harbor, WA

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