Yesterday’s On This Day post completed a year of such posts. I am not sure that when I wrote the first I had intended to continue for a year without a break but it was not long before I made the commitment to myself. But why did I do it? There were two primary reasons:
First, I wanted to highlight the wealth of material held within the papers of Captain Thomas Bowrey. Some sections are well known and have been studied by many people but there are also very many hidden gems. I hope I have brought some of these to the attention of the wider world. Perhaps you have found something new of interest to you.
Secondly, I wanted the discipline of writing something, hopefully interesting, every day. I have, at least partially, achieved this goal. I have posted each day but only you can say if they have been interesting. One bonus has been the contacts I have had with those who have had their interest piqued during the year and the new perspectives they have given me.
In the process, I have written in the region of 100,000 words, perhaps more, and mentioned countless names of ordinary people from the period. Perhaps I have mentioned one of your ancestors. Bowrey’s papers may hold the only record of them outside basic vital records. You may have been able to see the type of work he carried out or how much he was paid. Rarely, you may have been able to obtain an insight into his character. Rarer still, I may have written about one of your female ancestors. I would love to know if you have found one of your forebears here.
It has been an eventful year. I have completed modules two and three of Gill Blanchard’s Writing Your Family History e-Courses and thoroughly enjoyed their challenges. They are as suitable for writing biography as family history. I have made significant breakthroughs in my research, including those of Bowrey’s early life and, most recently, further details about the life of his black-sheep step-uncle, Henry Smith. I have even written many more chapters of my biography.
The end is now in sight. I have just started on my final chapter and, then, I need to rework the whole book. I have learned so much over the year. I also need to consider how to get the book published. I will continue to post here, just not every day. I am likely to treat myself to a small break but I promise to return. However, those posts will be longer than the couple of hundred words I have been writing over the past year. s I stumble across new gems, I will be sure to highlight them here.
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