Sunday, November 24, 2013

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."          
To tell you the truth mind mapping was not on my genealogy radar. I have heard about the concept, but never thought of using it for family history research.
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 is my 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!

Thanks Legacy Family Tree for hosting this webinar. Thanks to Thomas MacEntee for sharing your knowledge and expertise.

Hurry over for the webinar. Free until November 28, 2013.

Come along and popplet.


  1. Happy Blog anniversary! This is my first visit to your blog. I enjoyed reading about popplets. I had not heard of using that tool before. Thanks for sharing & may you have many more posts in your future!

    1. Glad you enjoyed the post. Hope you saw the webinar while it was still free. Really am enjoying Popplet!

  2. Very nice, Deb. I did one as well - Popplet is so easy to use, why bother writing when my arthritis is a bit of a problem - this is quick and easy. And I've already got several new ideas for research from doing one for my father's grandmother's family in Northern Ireland 1840s

    1. Celia,

      Thanks for stopping by to leave a post. Popplet is becoming my new addiction. Like I need another one! Can't wait to hear how this tool helps with your research.