Regency Gas Lighting

The_centennial_of_the_United_States_Military_academy_at_West_Point _New_York._1802-1902_(1904)_(14757253966)

West Point 1820

Pat here:

I am not all certain why I dove down the bunny hole of gas lighting (And no, I don’t mean gaslighting. My characters won’t be psychologically manipulating anyone! That’s just mean.)  other than that the hero of the next historical is most probably a US Army engineer. (Yes, West Point was already turning them out in the early 1800s, probably only two or three a year but we don’t want to get picky about back story, do we?) The point is, I needed to know what kind of lighting my isolated manor might have and if it could be updated. And the answer is yes, yes it can. . .

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A Very Brief History of Buttons

Button_collection_displayPat here:

I’m still digging around in research for my current, very tentative, historical idea. I’m thinking the village I talked about last time has lost its inhabitants to industries which pay better than farming small plots. And I’m thinking whatever cottage industry once paid women has also died, so young people packed up and left, and there’s no one left.

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Researching English Villages

Waddesdon manorI’m toying with an idea for a historical romance and haven’t quite decided on what era or area my characters and their situation might fit into. The idea requires a rather large manor house or even a sprawling aristocratic estate. I’m rather fond of houses, so the more house, the merrier for me. If it’s deteriorating, even better—so much story material there!

I’d like the house to be relatively isolated, but it’s not a self-supporting estate, so I need some sort of small village nearby. People need to get out of the house occasionally! So I started by digging around in English villages to see where such a place might have existed in the 18th or 19th centuries. I don’t want to go further back than that.

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Ask A Wench: our noble ancestors!

Jean Hasbrouck house New Paltz

Jean Hasbrouck House

Pat here:

The wenches thank Jane Irish Nelson for this fabulous question: Have you traced your family history? If so, what interesting stories have you discovered? And have you ever incorporated those stories into your books? Jane, you’ve won a copy of one of my books!

Wenches, being the history nuts we are, have delved into the lives and stories of our ancestors where we can and have some fabulous tales to tell…

Except me. I may have mentioned previously that both my parents were orphaned, my mother at birth and my father when he was young. I never had biological grandparents and have no family stories to tell. But after doing the DNA search on one of the genealogy sites and consulting with a cousin, I’ve traced bits and pieces. My father’s ancestors were deeply rooted in the Hudson

Huguenot cemetary

Huguenot cemetery

Valley of New York, well back to the original settlers. (There was a good deal of intermarriage in these early families. The same names pop up frequently on the tree.)  One of them has even written a small book with all the research he has done, although I seem to have lost the link. I have pages of research notes from family members, and all I can say is that I’m pretty sure that side of the family came from a lot of vain storytellers with too much time on their hands. <G> If I follow their irregular notes, I am descended from half of European nobility.

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Who is James Edward Oglethorpe?

512px-James_Edward_Oglethorpe_by_Alfred_Edmund_DyerPat here, just back from a three week trip by plane, boat, and car (don’t know how we missed train. . .) and a little too overwhelmed to write a coherent blog. The original intent of our travel was research in Charleston and Savannah, but weather upended most of those plans. Both cities are charming, and their early days would be great for contrasting, but that would take more time and space than I have. So I thought I’d dive into Savannah’s history first—until I remembered General James Oglethorpe, the city’s founder. The man was absolutely fascinating and a century before his time, at the very least. If only all our rich and famous could be as broad-minded. . .

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