I was born in Saint John New Brunswick (Canada) educated at McGill university and have recently retired from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency where for 27 years I managed the seed-borne disease laboratory, testing seeds for plant diseases and was active in international organisations dealing with seed and plant health issues. A rather fitting career as one of twigs on a family branch includes the W. A. Burpee the founder of the Burpee Seed Company.

I began this quest into our family history many years ago. I have always been intrigued with our family's history but felt that there was much that I didn't know and was suspicious that some of what I did know wasn't quite right. Recognising that as the world grew smaller and our family groups spread further and further abroad we were in grave danger of losing any record of who we were and where we came from.

With this in sight I set out to provide a chronicle of our forebears. My goal was and continues to be, not just to find our ancestors and build a family tree, but to put meat on the bones with information about where they lived, how they lived their lives, information about their occupations, and what influenced their thinking and decision making and perhaps even how their lives may have changed those of others around them. Or in horticultural terms it is not the number of branches on our family tree that matters, or how far it goes back in time.... but how many leaves... and the situation of the tree in relation to its landscape.

For some family lines, particularly those of my mother - the Coburn and Jewett family the journey has been swift and rewarding as much of the family's history has been well documented. Others have been almost as easy once the correct door to the past was opened the information has flowed freely. Others have proven somewhat more challenging.

When not tracking down elusive ancestors or transcribing parish records I can usually be found transforming an old sheep paddock into a idyllic country garden.