When you have a difficult genealogy research case, creating a mind map of your ancestor's evidence just might be the tool you need to get you beyond the problem.
Ron Arons, who has a history of using mind maps to solve genealogy brick walls, and is the author of the new book Mind Maps for Genealogy, attended Warren Bittner's recent webinar on complex evidence. Warren's phrase, "web of evidence" struck a chord with Ron, and so did this graphic where Warren showed how he tied all of the evidence together:
It immediately reminded Ron of mind mapping and so guess what Ron did next? He created a mind map of Warren's research. (Click to enlarge.)
In this mind map Ron used different colors to connect the same individuals across different documents. He matched up common data points (individuals' names, locations, etc.) and organized it in clockwise chronological order, creating a timeline. For example, Frederick Behre is connected across documents using a rich/deep blue set of connector arrows, Minnie's connector arrows are in pink, Dora (Fred's wife) is in crimson, and so on. In some cases, Ron connected the same residential address across documents using grey connector arrows.
The end result provides the ability to visualize how the evidence in seemingly unrelated documents fits together, thus giving the researcher a new angle to visualize their problem.
Ron also has a new book out on the topic. Mind Maps for Genealogy: Enhanced Research Planning, Correlation and Analysis provides an introduction to the concepts of mind maps. In addition to providing step-by-step instructions for using two of the leading mind mapping products (which also just happen to be free), this book provides numerous examples of how these tools can be used, including with the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS), the FAN (friends and neighbors) Principle, and Inferential Genealogy.
Webinars on Mind Mapping
Learn more in our webinar library from both Ron Arons and Thomas MacEntee: