Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Mind Map my Research

Genealogists may come in all shapes and sizes but if there is one thing we have in common is our thirst for knowledge. As such, some of us have learnt on the go and keep looking for opportunities to learn new techniques and improve the quality of our research.
I came across a great opportunity this year to test my methods and get everything straight from the beginning and I couldn't refuse it so I joined a free MOOC at FutureLearn called Genealogy : Researching YourFamily Tree, which I will review once it is over.
In the meantime, I wanted to share one of the concepts that were discussed very early during week 2 : Mind mapping.
Mind mapping is a graphic way to organize your ideas hierarchically and experts like veteran genealogist (his words) Ron Arons are using it to improve their research.
Yes, it does sound like we've been doing this for years one way or the other but, sometimes, we've been restricted by space, or our system is far from reproducible, or we just simply don't like to doodle. Don't panic ! There is an app. There are many apps, some free and I tested one of them.
Mindly offers a basic app for free (with in app purchases) and I installed it a few days ago. I was able to learn how to use it in less than 10 minutes and it took less than an hour to translate my to do list looking research plan into a nice constellation of concepts.

Here is how they looks like in an early developmental stage.
I started with the main topic which was : Finding information about my great great grandfather Cipriano. Then I split the information into 3 different bubbles : what I know (Bio), what I want to know (Questions), and where to look (Sources). Each of these bubbles contains facts or clues or questions. For example inside Bio we will have Birth, Marriage, Children. Inside Questions there is Date and Place of Death. Inside Sources I will add links to only the likely sources (no point to look for him in Thailand, for instance). They can also contain images and links. When I find an answer from Questions I just move the bubble to Bio. And voila !

Did I break my brick wall ? Not yet, of course.
Am I motivated to do the research in an organized way ? Totally.

Does it look awesome ? You bet it does !

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