11 January 2012

Would Pooh Have Made a Good Genealogist?

Pooh as Genealogist

Pooh is my literary idol. If I could keep only one fiction book, it would be Pooh. In "The House at Pooh Corner," Pooh agrees to help Rabbit in the search he has organized to find Small. Rabbit insists that the search is all organized, but after he has gone, Pooh realizes several things. He has forgotten to ask who Small is and what kind of friend or relative he is. To help himself figure out how to look for Small, he makes a list, a sort of research plan, called "Order of Looking for Things." At which point, Pooh thinks to himself "Which makes it look like a bothering sort of day." [1]

A list can make a day feel like a bother, particularly when it is filled with to dos you would rather not do. Perhaps Pooh is better suited to spending time with Piglet and eating honey than going on a hunt, especially one requiring a list. But I know you are here because you love a list filled with genealogy to dos. You love the hunt, as do I!

What Sort of Relation?

In conducting genealogical research it is necessary to constantly create, revisit and revise our plans. Before we begin a search for an ancestor, we should take a cue from Pooh and ask ourselves and our living relatives what we know about him or her. Who is he? Where did he live? What kind of person was he? No living relatives? Search for what has already been written. There may be books, diaries, journals, manuscripts or letters. Some places to search include:

Where Is the Special Place?

Pooh begins his list:

"1. Special Place (To find Piglet.)"

Pooh in his infinite wisdom tells himself 

"because he's been organdized in a special place of his own. So I shall have to look for the Special Place first. I wonder where it is." [2]

While you have learned about what sort of relation your ancestor was, undoubtedly you uncovered some possible areas he may have lived. Before you create your research plan, find out more about his special place or places during the time he lived there. Learn about the laws, industry, religions, organizations and geography. Use the links above to search for places and also use map websites to see locations near or related to the special place. It is helpful to know if the place is located on a border, or has been located within multiple places within its existence.

Well friends, I think it is about time I went and had some tea with honey. Thank you to Pooh for his timeless wisdom. 

Happy Wednesday!

Scrappy Gen
Let's Remeber!
[1] A.A. Milne, The World of Pooh (USA: E.P. Dutton, 1957), 191.
[2] Milne, The World of Pooh, 191.


  1. Love this! There are many genealogy research tips to be had from Pooh and his gang. =)


  2. Great, fun comparison that makes 1 think!

    PS I still have my Pooh books too.

  3. Love it! I had to stop working on my kids book when I saw this come across Twitter! Great advice!!

  4. What a wonderful post--I just love it!

  5. Love it! You make a good point. : )

  6. What a great post! Lot's of wisdom in children's books.

  7. Love Pooh and love you! Great post Jen!

  8. Now THIS is real genealogy!

    I love the recognition that to-do lists can create bothering sort of days and even more I love the skill and wit in creating this post Jen - well done!

    Can't wait for the article likening Eyeore's house blowing away to losing all your family records because you failed to back up your database :-)

  9. Have you read "The Tao of Pooh"? It reminds me of your observations here. I loved Pooh as a child, my grandmother was a British trained Nanny, and she read it to me with all the funny voices for each character. Thanks for bringing back that memory of her!

  10. Oh great post! Now I can't get that Kenny Loggins song - "House At Pooh Corner" out of my head. You know the one - "Christopher Robin and I walked along . . ."

  11. What a treat to come home to all of your kind comments!

    Michelle, I have four. Is it okay to still love books from your childhood?

    Jen, Sorry I FORCED you to stop working for a minute. :-)

    Nigel, Hysterical idea for Eeyore. Perhaps there should be a series, the Genealogy of Pooh.

    Heather, I have seen it, but haven't read it. Perhaps I shall.

    Sheri, For you: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vjIYTd_lJqs

    Thank you Caroline, Danielle, Michelle, Debbie, Les, Hummer, Val and all! Know you are great people, now know you are Pooh lovers too!


  12. Thanks for this post. Excellently done.

  13. We must quote from Pooh at least every other day in this house. If Pooh says it, then it is wisdom!


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