Family History Research using Mapping

September 30, 2007


 Information Mapping to assist with Family History Research

Anyone who has ever become involved in researching their Family History will know that it produces a volume of data.  You start by keeping paper records, you quickly move to a database created specifically for the job, you become adept at filing and organising.  However, even with family history software (I use Family Historian) and the best filing system going, it still becomes very difficult to be able to see “the wood from the trees”.  You end up with so many unfinished bits of research that it can become overwhelming.  Worse still, if you subscribe to any family history internet groups, new enquiries come in quite reguarly, which send you off in a totally different direction.

I have recently started using Mindjet’s MindManager 7.0 Pro (which is brilliant at visualising data) and have just realised that it is the answer to the problem.  I will now be able to go through the piles of “stuff to be done” and will be able to use colours and images to “list” everything.  However, because it will have visual images, I will be able to quickly see topics of a similar nature.  I will be able to delete things once they have been resolved (and updated onto the family history sofware) as well as being able to see whether any interesting lines of enquiry are appearing.  Family history is a bit like doing a very large jigsaw puzzle (without the picture as a clue) only it is more difficult because you don’t know how many pieces there should be and you don’t know what overall shape you are aiming for.  Therefore, by having a flexible, moveable image-based Information Map I will be able to keep everything in sight simultaneously and be able to filter so that I can concentrate on one aspect at a time.

I’m sure this could prove invaluable for anyone currently researching their family history.  You can try the software (MindManager) free for a 21 day trial period: