Become a Better Researcher

Our research problems are unique and our genealogy software, to be useful, must be flexible enough to match our respective problems and our respective methods. The Master Genealogist is that software, but power and flexibility has a down side. The more options a program has, the more decisions the user must make. This year, the Tri-Valley TMG User Group will explore those options and make some of those personal decisions. Would you like to play along with us? Do each month's assignment, and if you like, e-mail it to us at: We'll post some of the completed assignments on this blog each month. Let's hear it for choices!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

My June Assignment: Latitude and Longitude

I don't usually enter anything in TMG's Latitude/Longitude tag, but when describing a ship's location, that's the only relevant field. The published extracts from the Growler's log contain four dates in which her latitude and longitude is given. When I started to enter that information, I discovered - or rediscovered - that TMG does not see latitude and longitude as degree-minutes-seconds-compass values; TMG sees it as decimal values. Here are some visual pointers when entering latitude and longitude.
Tag Entry screen overlaid with TMG Help file

Individual Detail screen overlaid with Place preference window
My new favorite toy, BatchGeo, allowed me to map the Growler's location at various times on this first voyage. You will need to zoom out to see the various points.

Do you use the Latitude/Longitude place field? This is the first time I've used it in an Individual Detail screen, but I do enter it for cemeteries in the Master Place list. I've discovered that it's much easier to find a cemetery when my GPS has the cemetery's latitude and longitude!

Remember this year's goals.

  • We want to develop the habit of analyzing each record we use, and not just enter each information bit without thinking about its meaning.
  • We want to make conscious decisions on what data we want to enter into TMG, how we enter that data, and how we will use that data in our research.
  • We want to develop the habit of writing research reports and real family histories, not just printing out pedigree charts and family group sheets.
  • We want to make TMG fit our research needs and goals. We don't want to make our research practices fit TMG.

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