Organize Your Family History
Stay focused and happy while exploring your roots
November 13, 2012 By Janine Adams 3 Comments
Peter Bradish says
I’ve been somewhat frustrated over organizing my genealogy efforts, from both a filing/naming point of view as well as creating effective research plans. The former is almost solved since I’ve finally worked out a named folder hierarchy and a logical file naming format. It will no doubt be tweaked as I use it to organize my 16 years of sources, etc. It took reviewing a number of different techniques to consolidate recommendations into a consistent form and not just a “do it the way it works best for you” which varied as I conducted each filing effort.
This past week I started to seriously learn about Mind Mapping. I ordered several books on the topic and am in the middle of “Mind Mapping for Dummies”. While waiting for the books to arrive I looked over what I could find on the web. I was not impressed. It looked once again like “do it the way it works best for you”. Plus, I’m very underwhelmed with using colored pens and paper just as I was in the mid-1990’s about doing genealogy on paper. Fortunately genealogy software existed back then which relieved me of the pencil and paper method.
During a Michael John Neill webinar this past week I was introduced to the “4-Step Process” which has its origins in mathematical proofs. I liked it even though the process description wasn’t as specific as I would like, but it almost was. The first step, Understand the Problem, coupled with the second, Design a Research Plan, looked like a natural for using Mind Mapping.
Not being interested in paper and colored pens, and sitting in a doctor’s waiting room reading the Dummies book, I downloaded the SimpleMind app (has a free version) onto my iPhone and began mapping the first exercise in the book. I was impressed, it was much easier than I anticipated. I quickly moved on to trying to map a brick wall I’ve been trying to break for years. It didn’t break the wall and grew rapidly large. But, the effort gave me a better perspective than I’d had before. I clearly need to practice and get better.
The screen real estate on a smartphone is crowded but usable. When I returned home I put the same app on my iPad. Much better. I upgraded to the paid version ($4.99) and was even happier, plus, I could easily exchange maps between my iPhone and iPad (DropBox). I can see there is a potentially great future using the Mind Mapping process for genealogy.
Writing about any genealogically oriented techniques you feel could be applied to genealogical mind mapping would be greatly appreciated.
Well, back to reading and practicing. 🙂
Take care… Peter
P.S. For a hybrid mind map of the Genealogical Proof Standard, you might want to look at Mark Spencer’s effort at (http://www.thinkgenealogy.com/wp-content/uploads/Genealogy%20Research%20Map%20v2.pdf). P.
Sorry. In my P.S. just posted I meant to say “Mark Tucker”, not Spencer… Peter
Janine Adams says
Peter, I admire your thorough research into mind mapping and using it for genealogy. I’ll check out the SimpleMind app you mentioned (though I tend to be a paper and pen gal when I mind map) and also the mind map of the Genealogical Proof Standard. Thank you so much for your comment!
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