As a part of my custom research client work, I utilize mind maps as a quintessential tool for genealogical study. Mind maps are graphical aids which can be used to enhance research or convey information. I use them to brainstorm, organize thoughts, profile resources, list search results, create timeline entries, correlate evidence, serve as guides for research planning, present broad concepts or information in reduced format, etc.

EXAMPLE (preparation of a single-page reference guide for future research)

Focal Subjects: Charles Stewart (Revolutionary War Soldier) and wife Ann

Data Resource: Revolutionary War Widow’s pension application file W6171; internal evidence revealed that between 1785 and 1819 the veteran had established residency in a host of counties stretching from South Carolina to Alabama

Objective: Create Mind Map to display county origin/formation data to include:

  • all places where the veteran had purportedly resided in South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama
  • county formational data (year of creation, etc.)
  • a chronological arrangement of counties based upon state of residency and the period of residency for subject localities
  • designation of any original, parent, or derivative (child) counties
  • information relative to record loss (i.e. burned courthouse, flooding, etc.)
  • potential record types to be searched

Purpose: Create aid to facilitate future repository/courthouse research

  • contains extensive compiled data on a single sheet
  • can also be saved as image or PDF file to portable device (smart phone, tablet)

Mind Map Research Guide

Could your research use a customized mind map?