Genealogy and How it has Shaped my Writing

Part 1 Introduction

My parents were seriously researching our family history at the same time as I was researching for my first novel RIDUNA, inspired by the story Dad shared with me of my Great Grandmother Harriet (Hopkins/Jackson). We were holidaying on the island of Alderney; a fitting place to tell us her story as he knew it:

Harriet sparked my imagination; an orphan living on the island of Alderney at eight years old, being brought up by her Grandmother (Elizabeth Renier) and Step Grandfather (John Taylor) until the age of fifteen years, when she became too much to handle. Sounds familiar? Anyway, she was shipped off to her aunt’s on the island of Guernsey.

Here’s Harriet’s true story as we knew it back in 2010.

Now we know more about the plight of Harriet’s parents, her actual story would make a good book too.

Over the next few weeks I will share how Mum and Dad carried out a painstaking search of our family history, which began its journey on the island of Alderney when Dad, Mum and I poured over acetate after acetate of records held at The Alderney Museum, guided by the later curator of the museum, Peter Arnold, the island potter back in about 2005.

As I wrote my first draft, my imaginary story of Harriet and her true story became intertwined; veering from truth to fiction and back again. You see, at the time of planning the novel, I did not know the end of the real story!

Next post ‘Harriet’ and her family history as we know it.

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Filed under Alderney, Channel Islands, Family History, Inspiration, Planning a novel, Uncategorized, Writing a novel

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