Delving into History

Edith here, north of Boston and immersed in 1888. 

I thought I’d share a few of the posts I’ve done for the Midnight Ink Authors’ blog, where I’m up on the second Tuesday of every month. Midnight Ink is publishing the Quaker Midwife Mysteries so I keep my posts over there on the subject of 1888. ink-spot-banner4

Up today is a discussion of midwifery then and now.

Here’s one about various tidbits of research: police procedure, medicine, and language.

2015-08-16 18.39.08I also looked into carriages and other horse-drawn vehicles.

Names of characters are important, and I’ve found a few fun ways to ferret out what people were called in 1888.

And here’s one on how life was on the cusp of change in the period where I set the series.Delivering the TruthCover

Sorry this is brief. But I’m reading proofs of Delivering the Truth AND putting final polish on Breaking the Chain! Now back to it.

Readers: do we have any other history buffs out there? Geneology nuts (besides Sheila Connolly, of course)?

12 Thoughts

  1. Oh, fun research, Edith ! I particularly enjoy your research into period names. Just reading the headstrones in, say, the old and hidden Lanesville cemetery in Gloucester suggests all kinds of interesting characters and stories. The names are so evocative.
    Looking forward to Delivering the Truth.

    1. Hello Marion. Just learned this week, in the course of family research, that one of my ancestors–Henry Phelps–my four times great grandfather–is buried in Cherry Hill Cemetery in Gloucester, (1828-1890) If you’re wandering around in there, say Hi to Henry for me please!

  2. I majored in history in college, and I love reading books that are set in another time — that is, if the book is truly an “historical” and not just called that because it takes place 200 years ago but has modern dialogue and modern conventions. Love the research! When I was growing up, there was an historical cemetary within walking distance of our house, and I spent a lot of time exploring it. It dated back to the early 1800’s and a lot of the gravestones were worn into illegibility. One that always haunted me, though, had 9 round stones, piled on each other, with names and dates. Nine children, in the same family, and none lived past their 2nd birthday. Can you imagine giving birth to 9 children and not having one of them live past 2 years old? It always broke my heart.

    1. That is terribly heartbreaking. And then next to it you see the stone of a man or woman who lived until age 90 and wonder how they made it that long!

  3. I love history. If I had more time to read, I’d read more historical fiction period and seek out more historical mysteries. As I read, I do keep in mind that I’m reading fiction, but it can be a great way to get a feel for the historical times. It often gets me interested enough to do a little research myself about the true history behind the story.

  4. Such a timely post, Edith! Some months ago the Wickeds had a post on family history and I suggested that I might put together the pile of genealogical material I’ve somehow acquired over the years, whip it into readable shape with pictures and all and get spiral bound copies for all my kids for Christmas. Done! At least enough for volume one! Thanks for sparking the idea. I know they, or their kids will appreciate it

  5. I am especially drawn to the North Shore history, especially Salem and Marblehead where, through the study of family history and genealogy, I discovered that my ancestors were there centuries before I was born. Until I started to follow the trail beyond my great-grandparents I had no idea that my Salem ancestors were English and, for the most part, not French. It’s a story that takes you through the French and Indian wars, colonization, slavery, witch trials, Le Grand Dérangement, Civil War, WW1 era refugees… all which inspired me to have my DNA tested to reconcile the conflict between a family oral history with the appearance of facts that didn’t connect.

    I had to let go of the story we knew and be willing to discover our history. Recently, I entered my DNA data into different databases that connected genetic profiles of the last 1-2 centuries with localities and ethnicities. In this way my oral family history became understandable even as it added new information which, on its own, would be difficult to accept. Genetics brought big surprises and believability.

    1. How fascinating, Reine! Every time I hear or see an advertisement for 23 and Me I think about how gathering facts might confict with or support family stories. I haven’t had my DNA tested yet but you may have inspired me to put it on my goal list for 2016. Thanks for sharing!

      1. Jessie, I read that 23 and me is one of the best for the areas they cover and focus on. I wish I had started with them but have found that Ancestry has other good advantages. Each is different and will often reveal different genetic history. But the more you discover, the more you might see how it fits together. I have learned most by submitting my data (from Ancestry) to different genetics research groups that have different focuses and formulas. I learned most by submitting my DNA data from Ancestry to DNALand. Also to GEDMatch which has a genealogy section where you can submit a GEDCOM as well. All have matching features to help you find close matches to others who submit their DNA file for that purpose. My favorite analysis group (DNA LAND) was recently formed by genetics researchers at the Columbia University. It’s free, interesting, and it’s excellent.

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