Tips from the Pros: Record Precise Locations as They Were, from George G. Morgan

For each of your ancestors’ vital dates (birth, marriage, and death), always record the precise location as it existed at the time of the event. That means listing the town, the county or parish, and the state for U.S. events. For foreign locations, the town, province, and county should be recorded. More important, because boundaries and jurisdictions change so much over time, make certain you have the correct county or state or province or country listed as it existed when the event occurred. This is important to you for purposes of locating copies of records and important for future researchers who want to confirm your research and obtain copies for themselves.

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5 thoughts on “Tips from the Pros: Record Precise Locations as They Were, from George G. Morgan

  1. This is so simple it should be obvious to all of us but validating and verifying research sources makes everything you do in researching your family’s past more valuable to you (and those who use it after you). George Morgan is one of North America’s leading authorities on British surnames. If you ever have the opportunity to travel with him on one of his “research trips to London” to visit the archives, jump at the chance!

    Bob Oliver
    Webster City Iowa

  2. I agree each event requires recording the full location at that time. Since I am mainly researching Canadian records, it has been a challenge. For a while, I maintained a file recording when county boundries changed. However, it has proved to be nearly impossible. Sometimes only part of a town changed counties. Finding the information has also been difficult, since it is not readily available on the Internet. One method I use now is checking the census record closest to the event date. Whatever county it lists is the one I use.

  3. This makes perfect sence, however it also must be remembered that when doing the research you may have exactly the right information but when looking online it may not be found there but at the name as it is now. Make sure to look both ways or you can miss a lot. Kentucky was not a state for many years but yet I find records with KY that should actually be Vigina I believe.

  4. There is also a difference between where the family residence was at the time of the event and where the event actually occurred. For instance, many Souhern Indiana mothers deliver their babies in Louisville, Kentucky. The birth certificate will be found in Kentucky, not Indiana.

  5. As implied in numbers 2, 3, and 4, also add [in prentheses] the current location, for those who may need it for any reason. Thank you.

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