Some genealogical software draws on the API for Google Maps so the user can plot the events on a map. This might be a desktop-based application such as Calico Pie's Family Historian, or a web-based one, such as MyHeritage's new Pedigree Map. Or it could be a general-purpose GIS program which the user has pressed into service for family history purposes.
To take advantage of mapping features, and other features in the software, users may standardize the place names in their genealogy database to the modern name for a place, rather like the Family History Library or other repositories might choose a specific gazetteer for their place authority -- only in this case, the standard place authority is the current map you see when you use Google Earth, or whatever place authority the GIS system uses.
However, some modern metropolitan areas extend past the borders of counties, and sometimes sprawl over state lines. If a town crosses county boundaries, how do you make the decision about which county to standardize on?
I would like to know:
- What are the criteria you use to make your decision?
- Which geographical reference works or tools have been helpful to you?
- How do you remember to check records in all the relevant jurisdictions?
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of using your approach to the problem?
(I'm restricting this question to the US so that we can develop questions and answers for different countries.)
Records generated by a particular county will have a specific county on them. Records which have a specific street address will reveal which county the residence is in, or where the event took place. However some items, such as newspaper obituaries, will simply refer to someone being a resident of, or simply "of" the town name. I am assuming that the researcher is recording in notes exactly what appears on the documents.