Friday, 23 January 2015

Henry and the Popplet

Did you think I was writing a children's book? The post title would lead one to believe that was the case.

Popplet was discovered while attending a webinar. Thomas MacEntee, genealogy ninja, presented "Mind Mapping Your Research Plans and Results." I heard of the concept, but never thought to use it as a family history research tool.

Thomas explained "a mind map is a visual map of an outline or thought process". He went on to say we are already doing this function, but without software. Love the idea of taking research data and creating a visual pathway to solving genealogy problems.

To begin mind mapping, Thomas suggested "start with a concept or proof question" in the center. He goes on to say we should not go too broad.


not "all the information on ancestor" --- start with "where was ancestor born."

Thomas discussed several programs for mind mapping. The one that caught my attention was Popplet.

This program is free for five different popplets and seemed the easiest for beginners.

By the way ... Thomas strongly suggested we use color. Great idea. Make your Popplet pop! Nice way to visually identify various record sets.

So ... here is my first attempt to create a mind map.

What was the most pressing research problem? Henry Wakefield, 2nd great-grandfather, a stubborn road block.

Since there few facts about Henry, I felt comfortable adding all known information.

In the center we have Henry.

The red box contains the "1868 Baltimore City Directory". I uploaded the document, from Ancestry, into the database. Love the ability to add images!

I entered information gathered from the document into the notes field.

There is an icon located top right of each popplet. When you click, a box opens to add comments. Click again and it closes.

* Comment for this box ... Henry Wakefield, tailor, 290 S. Ann Street.

The blue box contains "Trinity German Lutheran Baptisms". The record is for Charles Wakefield son of Henry Wakefield and Elizabeth Judd.

* Comment ... "Trinity German Lutheran, 1853-1877: Baltimore City, Maryland. Ruppert, Gary B. Westminster, Md: Willow Bend Books, 2002". Book located at The Historical Society of Baltimore County.

The pink boxes contain United States Census, located on Ancestry, for Charles Wakefield. Records that contained helpful clues were the 1900 and 1930 censuses.

* Comment ... 1900, Charles lists father's birthplace as England - 1930, lists Wales.

The orange box contains an image from the "Wakefield Memorial" book.

* Comment ... Henry referenced in "Wakefield Memorial : comprising a historical, genealogical, and biographical register of the name and family Wakefield" compiled by Homer Wakefield, 1897. Have copy of book in personal collection.

What did I gain from this exercise?

* It was fun to learn something new.

* Like the visual overview of Henry's life in one location. Each time we discover new hints, they will be placed on the map.

* Like the collaboration aspect of Popplet. Will introduce this concept to my brother, who is also working to solve the riddle. Never know ... we just may pop in the last piece of the puzzle!

Come along and popplet.


  1. What was the question about Harry you were trying to solve? He's a brick wall but why?

  2. I'm still using a visual board. It stays up for months until I feel like I want to "Highlight" another one of my Elusive Ancestors. I'll check it out. I like the name.


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