So Exciting I Could Not Sleep!

  mbp 10:08 25 Sep 04
Locked

I had an idea last night that kept me awake all night. When I told my wife about it ub the morning, she was very enthusiastic in what I had to say.

Basically, I found how to trace my ancestry to a period of over 70 generations. It contained tradition, gossip, intrigue, bloodshed and gore. I was so excited about it I started to put it on the Web straight away.

Then it struck me. I should really include this into my book. But my book will not be ready for some years to come. If this flash of inspiration were made public, lots of authors would jump on the band wagon and my inspiration would be theirs. So, sorry, no Web pages, write it into my computer and hopefully publish it one day. If I do not make it, then hopefully my children or grandchildren will be able to publish it. The concept would be still mine until it is published. Originality and concept preserved for the time being!

  Forum Editor 10:21 25 Sep 04

Parish records in England and Wales don't go back farther than 1538, so unless you have a personal family history record that goes back beyond that there's no way you can trace your personal ancestry over 70 generations, or anything like it.

  Taran 10:42 25 Sep 04

Tracing your family history is an interesting and often surprising passtime and there are a great many resources, people who specialise in doing it for you as well as dedicated software packages currently available to assist in the process.

Nothing though, can make up for the fact that beyond a certain point, things become murky in the extreme and unless individual families kept detailed personal records that have survived to the present (unusual but not impossible and normally only where the family was in a certain social position) it often all boils down to possibilities and probabilities with little actual fact to back things up.

This is often how many people try to claim that they can trace back to one or more royal familes or that their uncle fought in 1066. It's a pretty good bet that a lot of relatives fought in 1066. I've noticed that nobody ever claims they were related to Ethel Bucket who worked at the local fish shop though... ;o)

  mbp 10:54 25 Sep 04

That is why it is so exciting. That is why you will likely buy my book when it is published. Because you will have to read it to disclaim its authenticity! I am not limiting myself to English parish records. As an author, I claim the right of "poetic license". Mystery and misticism is the spice of an author!

  mbp 11:11 25 Sep 04

Sorry if I have led you up the garden path so far. I owe it to you to make a clarification.

I am British (or English) by definition. However, my blood lines are not Northern European and hence the history of my ancestors go beyond 1538 AD. I hope this puts things in perspective!

Sorry to get your adrenelin going!

  mbp 11:17 25 Sep 04

My story is based on Historical records. Certainly the intervening years become somewhat vague, but who cares about the intervening years. This is where the author's "poetic licence" dresses up the STORY to excite the imagination of my readers. To be published, Hardback, in about 3 years!

  Taran 11:19 25 Sep 04

With the greatest respect, I've yet to buy a book for the sole purpose of debunking it, its content or its author. I don't objects to wasting the money but I do object to wasting the time to read it and reading a book on that basis is no way to do it justice. Sort of sacreligious in my mind - I like books.

Any author could also claim your same right of "poetic license" and if in doing so I, for example, claimed that my Great Grandmother (with an infinite number of 'Greats' added on) was Boudicca and my Grandfather was King Arthur then fair enough.

"Poetic license" by its very nature is not fact, and so I see little reason to chase the ghosts of the past based on anything other than fact and no reason to buy a book written on the basis of said "poetic license".

I do sincerely wish you the very best of luck and success with it though. you are obviously very enthusiastic about it and perhaps what you know that you cannot say openly will be enough to make it a roaring runaway success.

  Taran 11:41 25 Sep 04

Your 'story', being based on historical records, is starting to sound like a novel, in which case cliams of lineage, real or imagined are largely immaterial.

I know quite a few authors and one (a very successful fantasy author) goes abroad on holiday with his family, photographs ancient monuments, architecture, landscapes and so on, researches any major historical battles that happened in the area and bases his entire novel on that. Races, religions, weapons, armour and so on are all either invented or loosely based on reality. He's made an extremly lucrative and successful career out of it all so far, but to my mind it is pretty obvious what he does and how he does it.

Anyway, my initial posts were based on your statement that you could trace your family origins back through over 70 generations. If you could do that you'd be speaking with your pre-Christ descendants.

I think you'll also find that the history of everone's ancestry goes back beyond 1538, it's just that accurate records become difficult and in most cases impossible to obtain beyond that point, regardless of where you or your family originally hailed from.

Anyway, good luck with your novel.

  mbp 11:56 25 Sep 04

Taran: Thanks for giving me the benefit of the doubt! And a bit of encouragement. I assure you, I have been working on my book for the past 4 years, and must have written 150,000 words, which is only 1/2 way there,(then went stale) but this latest flash of inspiration came to me out of the blue. Unfortunately, I have to shroud it with secrecy until I unveil it formally. I have just been given a shot of inspiration and must harness it immediately.

All this has been the result of a thread, "Protecting My Work". Conclusion: "You can't show your hand and expect to win!" So, it looks like I am going to be fairly busy from now on with this new stimulli.

  Forum Editor 11:56 25 Sep 04

goes back beyond 1538 - no matter whether we're Northern European or not. The fact remains however, that no country (that I know of) has maintained any kind of records on births, deaths or marriages for ordinary citizens further back than the 1500's and it's just not possible to trace a personal ancestry beyond that period with any degree of accuracy, no matter what concept you might dream up.

Novel-writers can create what they like of course, and if that's what you're doing then good luck to you.

Interesting as it is this isn't really related to computers at all is it?

  Forum Editor 12:06 25 Sep 04

I've written the odd word or two myself over the years and one thing I've come to know is that you won't stand much chance on a first-time approach to a publisher if your manuscript is bigger than about 100,000 words.

Most novels are between 60,000 and 100,000 and if yours is 150,000 at the halfway mark I advise you to do a massive rethink on the structure if you ever expect to be published.

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