I’ve started my ‘holiday at home week’ in fine style by completely exhausting myself at the Who Do You Think You Are? live show. Oh, dear, I’m afraid that means I will have to spend today just sitting in the sun in the conservatory doing nothing.
For anyone who hasn’t heard of the WDYTYA live show, it isn’t at all like the tv programme – it’s a sort of trade fair for family history societies and companies like Ancestry who run family history websites. This year it was held in Glasgow, so as it coincided with the start of my holiday, I thought I would go along. I didn’t expect to find out more about any individual ancestors while I was there, but I wanted to try and work out where to go next with some lines of research. Although I enjoy research, I always hate to have to go somewhere such as a local archive collection for the first time without knowing what to expect, what to take with me and what I might find there.
Sometimes the research is like panning for gold, sifting through lots of material in the hope of finding a few grains of relevant information. Sometimes it’s more like detective work, following a thread to see if it leads to the right place. I’ve been in both situations over the years I’ve been researching my family. What I like about it is unearthing the interesting stories you can find in any family – and occasionally use in novels, of course! I was going to say ‘only the names have been changed…’ at this point, but actually when I’ve used something from the family’s past I have always had to change not just the names but most of the other facts too, leaving just the underlying situation the same.
Talking of research reminds me that the Edinburgh ebook festival is still going on and there are some interesting stories and articles there but they will only be online for a few more days, so hurry along there if you don’t want to miss it.
In other news, I am about halfway through the novel known as ‘Pitkirtly VIII’ or ‘Night of the Living Elves’ (still some work to do on the title). The Scottish referendum takes place in a few weeks’ time. If you really want to know my views on it, there is a relevant post about it on one of my other blogs, the grandly named Sheila Perry Predicts Scotland’s Future. Reading my near-future sci-fi dystopian novel, The Mountain and the Flood, will also give you a clue.