Monday, 20 October 2014

Inspired by mysteries

My online friend and fellow writer Georgia Rose commented, after reading my Family History Secrets blog, that I must have endless patience to do all the research involved.

I had to admit that it's as much to do with addiction as it is perseverance! Plus, being as my Esme Quentin Mysteries are inspired by genealogy, any trawl I do has the added incentive of me inadvertently stumbling upon a  brilliant plot idea!

Georgia confessed she'd be frustrated if she couldn't find out what she wanted and it's true that it's disappointing when I hit the proverbial brick wall and have to abandon a trail without achieving a result.

But there's always another mystery on the list to investigate. Or, as new records are being made available all the time, I might return to those questions I've not yet answered to see if information has come to light since I last searched which might give me that longed-for breakthrough.

Over the years I've discovered the answers to numerous intriguing questions and, although some remain stubbornly elusive, I'm hopeful that one day I'll uncover the truth about those too.

Questions such as:
  • What happened to my great-grandfather when he 'disappeared' after the 1881 census?
  • Why did my great-aunt run away from home in 1904, aged just 16, and tell her employers she had no family?
  • Who was the mysterious spinster to whom my husband's ancestor secretly left his estate and not to his wife?
  • Why did my husband's great-great grandparents travel to Australia in 1868 and why did they not take their children with them?
  • Who was the father of my illegitimate great-grandfather?
  • Who was the mysterious half-brother to my great-grandfather who I discovered on someone else's family tree?
  • What happened to my great-great-grandmother when she disappeared, leaving her illegitimate son behind with her parents?
  • What happened to my husband's ancestor after he was convicted of theft in 1831 and sentenced to 14 years transportation? 

Why not pop over to my familyhistorysecrets blog and find out which of these mysteries I've solved and which I'm still working on? 

And if you have your own family mysteries, either solved or unsolved, I'd love to hear about them.


  1. You see...this is exactly what I mean Wendy. I admire your patience and perseverance of putting the time in to solve all these tantalising little mysteries in your own history. I daren't look at my family tree, just the thought of all the time involved makes me shudder but maybe one day my natural nosiness will get the better of me :-)

  2. Ha! It'll get you in the end Georgia! And if you've got the perseverence to write a novel - which of course you have - family history won't phase you one bit! ;-)

  3. My sister is researching our family tree and also has a long list of mysteries to solve. Each answer she finds seems to throw up another dozen questions. I'm sticking to fiction - it's much easier to tie up all the loose ends with fictional characters!

    1. And why not, Linda! Much more controllable that way - not to mention less frustrating!

  4. A great post, Wendy. I'm interested in family history, too, and can see how writing mysteries and researching mysteries in your family tree can go hand in hand. Off to read your other blog now.

    1. Thanks for looking in, Jan. Yes, it's great that the two feed off one another. And you're never short of things to investigate in family history. There's always another branch to check out, so no excuses that I've run out of writing ideas!