Sunday, May 2, 2010

Google Maps – Fewer Trips To Get Lat – Longs

Google Maps is going to save me a lot of money.  I won’t have to retrace many earlier trips to ancestral homes, ancestral burial locations and the waypoints along their migratory paths.  

New features in Google Maps provides the latitude and longitude of these locations.  All I have to do it point at them and read.

In many locations, the resolution of the aerial images is so good that I can point to my ancestors exact tombstone. 

I’ll miss walking through cemeteries with grandsons just to gather the latitude and longitude information of our ancestors markers, but we’ll find another way to spend ‘together’ time.  

I’ve taken photos of ancestral tombstones and homes over the past decades.  Few of them need to be retaken.  The expense of return visits to gather latitude and longitude data can be budgeted toward other research needs.

The advantages of easily obtaining these addresses is a real benefit to genealogists who document their research with these details.

My data in Legacy is ready for these specific addresses because location fields are available for every location in your database.  Latitude and longitude fields are normally populated automatically for cities and towns, but for special locations like homes, tombstones and waypoints, the fields can be populated manually using the information on Google Maps.

If you don’t use Legacy or a similar program, you can still include the location data in their files.  All of those who later use your genealogical data will thank you for including the exact location information.  You can even use the locations to find great aunt Harriet’s grave after you forget its exact location somewhere down the road.  

Scenery changes with time.  Homes are remodeled or torn down, trees and boulders are moved.  The exact locations associated with your ancestors won’t be lost if you include the data in your database.

Enabling latitude and longitude in Google Maps is simple: 

1. Click on the green labs beaker.


2. Enable one or both of the LatLng tools.


It is just that simple.  Point at the map or satellite images in Google Maps and read the exact location beneath your arrow. 

Genealogists everywhere say “Thanks Google”.

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admin said...

What a great tip. Thank you.

Google Maps is also a great tool for looking up addresses that your ancestors are known to have lived at. In a lot of cases, you can get a street view.

Whilst the current home may be slightly different from when your ancestors lived there, it gives you an idea of what their life might have been like.

Kind regards, Sandra.

GeneaGeek said...

That's a great tip. I don't use Legacy but I'm sure I can include the latitude and longitude somewhere in my research.
I also posted about Google maps as a genealogical tool in January with a focus on the street view option.

I'd still love to visit the places physically though but at least these tools can tell us if we need bother. I went to a cemetery once to find there was precious little left - if I'd looked on googlemaps I'd probably have realised there was nothing there.

Lee Drew said...

Yes, visit the sites associated with your ancestors if you can, but if you forget or can't get their exact latitude and longitude on the spot, just remember where they are located. When you get home, you can use Google Maps to get the information.

The key finding them again is looking around for key markers that will be easily recognized in the satellite shots on Google Maps.

Dr. Bill (William L.) Smith said...


Congratulations on Top 100 Recognition!
Visiting all 100 takes some time. Thanks for what you do!

Bill ;-)
Author of "Back to the Homeplace"
and "13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories"