15 Reasons That Genealogy is Like Gardening

I am what I call a “potter” gardener. I don’t mind getting out there on a nice day, and just pottering around, doing a big of weeding, pruning, planting new plants, finding others that I don’t remember planting and so on.

And it was while I spent some time outside doing some gardening recently and getting some important vitamin D in as well … it occurred to me that gardening is rather like genealogy,  and not just because they both involve trees.

So here’s what I came up with …

  1. Like gardening, your tree is NEVER finished
  2. Both involve LOTS of digging
  3. Like gardening, from time to time you do have to prune branches off your tree
  4. There’s no doubt about it … both gardening ad family tree-ing take time
  5. Like weeding, every little you can do helps you see results
  6. Like gardening, it’s super exciting when you discover something new – something you didn’t know existed
  7. Not sure about you, but I love colour, both in my garden, and in my family history. And as researchers we love those colourful characters don’t we!
  8. Like gardening, from little things big things grow (well that’s the theory, and it sometimes works)! Start with a name or two … and in time you’ll have a family tree
  9. Like actual trees, some family trees are spread wide, while others are narrow but tall (more direct line type trees)
  10. When gardening you’ll come across different soil types. Some nice and soft, others like clay hard or with lots of rocks. Obviously when planting there, they take more effort and more time to nurture what grows there. This reminds me of brickwall. it’s do-able, but they take a lot more time and effort.
  11. There will ALWAYS be weeds in your garden, and in your family tree as well. They are those you need to verify if they are actually part of your tree or not (eg. which of the 5 William Slater’s born in a particular village within a 5 year period is yours?)
  12. Just like gardening, you’ll need different tools for the job when doing your family history (a family tree program, websites, charts to fill in, guide books, original records and so on)
  13. If you’re like me you probably work on different sections of the garden, depending on what catches your eye at the time … the same goes with genealogy. Multiple different trees, or branches, not to mention the BSO (Bright Shiny Objects) we get sidetracked by
  14. Like gardening, if you don’t ‘tend’ to your family tree (aka keep working on it) it can get out of control
  15. Enjoy the fruits of your labour. Sit back every now and then and take in all the hard work that you’ve done with researching, and think of the amazing legacy you’ve created for the next generation.

So there you go. Gardening is not unlike genealogy at all. So next time you’re out in the garden (which could be a while for me, as winter is starting to set in) … just think of how similar it is to you doing family history.

Happy gardening!

Genealogy, Gardening and a Time to Refocus

Spring is here, and after having the wettest winter for eight years or so in in South Australia, you can imagine that everything in my garden is growing like crazy. So now is the time to be outside out in the garden. I’m no gardener. I don’t make any claim to be. I’m the type of person who likes to plant things, and hopes for the best. And as about 50% of what I plant lives, I think I’m doing ok. 😉

Given that I live on a 1 1/4 acre property, with about half of that being garden, and the other half bushland it’s too much for Mr Lonetester and I to manage as we both work fulltime, so we have a gardener. But at the moment we’re between gardeners, and in the meantime the weeds keep multiplying, I’ve been making an effort to get out there and stem the tide.