Scapple: A Tool I’m Using For DNA Matches

As you know, I’m working on the Beaton/Batten Mystery (sometimes it feels like all my genealogy moments are spent on it). I’m sure if I ever figure out who William Beaton’s parents were I don’t know whatI’ll do with my time. Perhaps I’ll be able to work on the rest of my ancestors. ?

I believe I also told you that I have a tree that I call my ICW Tree (in common with tree) where I have floating or disconnected branches and as I find someone who’s connected to the mystery I add them to my tree. How that works is that even if they only have a few ancestors in their tree, I add them, and then I work their genealogy and see if I can connect them to another floating branch on my tree.

When I add my DNA match, I enter their name or username, and as a middle name, I call them “DNA” and in their suffix, I put the number of centimorgans and segment information. I did this before Ancestry created their new dots and I’m using the “middle name DNA” to search for my DNA matches so I can add the dots now. As I update all my Ancestry dots, my process will be different, but for now, this is what I do.

I’ve been adding floating branches for quite some time, so I do know that I have people who have shared ancestors, but I decided I wanted something a bit more visual. When you look at the tree view, you can’t always see those DNA matches as they are spread out over generations.

Because William Beaton is my great grandfather finding out who his parents are can be a bit more involved. After all, you have 16 great-great-grandparents. Although I have matches that connect to my mystery many of them are small amounts of DNA, so the tree is getting larger, but I feel that I’m getting close to figuring this out.

Again it’s that time thing; sometimes you have to sleep.

So as I said, with disconnected or floating branches, these DNA connections aren’t as visible. That’s why I’ve turned to Scapple.

(I know it’s a bit blurry)

Above you’ll see several of my DNA matches and how we connect. There are ancestors in between, but here you see the common ancestor. So in one case, Lorenza Johnson is a key person, and in the other, it’s James Grantham. As both are born much earlier that William I have to look to each of the descendants of those men. But I think the couple perhaps is a descendant of Lorenzo and then more likely a grandchild of James Grantham.

What I’ve also realized is that some of the small amounts of DNA connecting myself and my matches are because each of these men had multiple marriages so some of my matches are descendant from other couples.

I started using Scrapple several years ago as a mind mapping tool. It’s great for projects and then mapping out the different directions you may take on that project. I’ve also used it when I go to a city to research so that I can put all the research locations I’d like to go to and then put all the record sets I’d like to check at each location.

The beauty of Scapple is that when you use it, there is a 30 Day FREE trial period. But the FREE trial is different than most FREE trials because it’s days of use. So if you use it every day for 30 days, that’s how long the trial period works. But if you use it once a week, it will last for 30 weeks. Also, the FREE version is the same as the licensed version.

Scapple is offered by the company, Literature and Latte and I also use their other product Scrivener from writing. Scrivener has a similar FREE trial period so you might want to check that product out as well by clicking the link below.

Buy Scrivener for Windows (Regular Licence)

I’ve been thinking about creating this Scapple view for some time so I created the above just for this article. There are additional connections that I have to add to my Scapple chart but I see some ideas to follow up on already and I’ll keep you posted. Who knows perhaps this will be my breakthrough and I’ll be getting to regular research soon.

Note: The post above contains some affiliate links. This means I make a percentage on sales via these links. This does not INCREASE the price you pay as a consumer. It’s  simply a supplement to my income so I can continue  to support The DNA Angel Project and to make donations to the Alzheimer’s’ Society


  • Valerie says:

    How I can connect parents with a son in Scapple?

    • Hope I understand your question. As this is a mind mapping program, I’d do similar to what is shown in my main photo. So the parent connects to the Ancestor and then the son connects to the parent. There are several generations between the common ancestor and the DNA match in my example. I just didn’t show them.

  • Laura Hedgecock says:

    This is a great idea. I don’t find Scrapple as easy to learn as other mapping softwares, but it does give you the most control.