Geography and Genealogy

In the prior post we discussed the places that are included in the new GenDetective Location History file.   As genealogists know, geography dictates (controls) the information that is available for us to dig into to hunt for our ancestors.  Obvious differences can be found at a national level.  The United States has census records very 10 years,  so does Great Britain and Canada, the Australian census records were destroyed as required by law once the statisticians finished, and the Irish census records went up in flames.

So what does all of this have to do with you?  In GenDetective one of the first tasks that is performed when analyzing a GEDCOM file is the matching of the locations in your family tree to the known, standardized locations that are included in GenDetective.  Where did the GenDetective locations come from?  They are published by the US Board on Geographic Names, and they have lists for both US and international locations, and include the latitude and longitude coordinates used in mapping.

How do you know if all of your locations matched to the GenDetective locations and are those mapping to the locations you meant?   Where do you expect a location named Kinston to be placed?  A partial list includes:

  • Kingston, Jamaica
  • Kingston, Ontario, Canada
  • Kingston, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, USA
  • Kingston, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, USA
  • Kingston, Ulster County, New York, USA

To see each place that your  family tree locations were matched to by GenDetective run the “My family locations” report.  In GenDetective start in:

  1. My Maps
  2. Filter your map by using Show my family; default is direct
  3. In Reports of Interest, select My family locations
  4. Click the Create this Report button

my_locationsLooking at the My Locations report (left) you can see locations that do not have coordinates.  These are the locations that did not match up with any predefined locations.   There is one other report you might want to consider, the Locations locs_no_coordswithout coordinates report found in My Maps (right).  This report provides an alphabetical listing of the locations without coordinates and includes the number of events in your family tree that are recorded at that location!

My next blog will discuss how you go about correcting place names or assigning coordinates for use in GenDetective maps, trip planning, and the Location History file.

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One Response to Geography and Genealogy

  1. Pingback: Assigning GPS Coordinates in GenDetective 2 | GenDetective

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