about writing and life and God

Getting your facts right

on September 26, 2012

Here in the far north of Scotland, the weather is gloriously stormy and the sea is driving in with towering white-capped waves hurling themselves over the harbour wall.

So I spent yesterday afternoon in the local library working through the archives of local newspaper the John O’Groat Journal for 1921 and 1922.

One of the things I wanted to check was where local folk got married, so I could get it right for the two characters in my novel who marry in December 1921. And the answer was unexpected – which is why it is so important to do this kind of research for a novel!

Ordinary folk in 1921 did not get married either in church or in the Registry Office. A few got married in a local hotel, but most got married in the Manse, the home of the minister! I really had no idea that this ever happened but, looking at the marriage notices in the newspaper for about six months, made it plain that this was the general custom.

Today I must see if I can track down more information on this. Delightfully, one of the marriage notices I found was for a great-uncle of my own- and yes, he and his wife were married at the Manse. His daughters are both still alive so I may have an inside track to the info.

And this teaches me just how much useful information our own families have. My sister has provided lots of interesting background. I’m fortunate that one of her special interests is family and local history and she’s involved in the local family history society and their publications. Special provision once again!

The local paper included a cartoon in each edition. One showed an elderly peasant woman gazing at a fine multi-tiered wedding cake in a shop window. When the baker comes out, she asks him ‘what’s that war memorial for?’


3 responses to “Getting your facts right

  1. Pat says:

    How weird and what a lovely fact that you found your own history here too. Hope you’re enjoying yourself in all the research.

    • I’m having a great time. Spent ages this morning in the award-winning Heritage Centre – like Yarmouth’s Time & Tide but covers all aspects of the town’s history. Really brilliant. And the three volunteers on duty all knew me – one was a cousin! Time for lunch now…

  2. As a family history enthusiast this was most interesting to me. Have fun.

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