I have to say the biggest perk of writing historical fiction is doing the research. And as you can see from my posts, I love dipping into the lifestyle of my characters by traveling to historical sites. But, today I had a totally new experience all together. All morning, I was at the North Carolina Archives (located at our Raleigh Library) to do some research for a school project that also delves into the historical background of my novel.
It’s really one thing to view something online (like the photo of Albemarle County in the upper left corner), but it’s amazing to actual see the historically recorded document in person. While I was at the archives, I got to flip through maps from the colonial era to even more recent maps of land use and vegetation cover. I was most fascinated by the colonial maps (of course 😉 ). You wouldn’t believe the details they put into this map – details usually obscured on pixel images. And the curved writing is so beautiful. One map I held, I actually think was written on thin parchment (based on the feel – though I’m not really sure).
Also, the people were great! They helped me with the call cards (little cards you fill out to view records), find what I needed in the card catalogue and maps (yep, old school, baby! 😀 ), and even showed me websites and books that also contained information I needed for my research.
How about you? Have you ever visited your local achieves?