About Writing, Life and Writing About Life

I’ve been doing some research for the novel I plan to get to one day, which is based on the life of one of my husband’s family, who was transported to Van Diemen’s Land (now Tasmania) in 1852. I’ve been thinking of it as a rags-to-riches story, and recognising that I will never be able to know everything about her life so I will fill in the blanks with my imagination. I did want to find out as much as I can, though, as I don’t want to change things that are possible to discover. There is a lot of information about people who were transported, and on Ann’s convict indent (we share a name) she is recorded as having been ‘five years on the town’. I have been trying to make sure if this does mean what it seems to – that she was a prostitute – and wondering what that really meant in terms of her life.
Imagine my surprise, then, to find the entry on the 1851 census which shows the family – herself, husband and two children – living in Abergavenny and included in the household is a girl who is listed as a servant. It doesn’t sound like the ‘rags’ part of the story I imagined – perhaps they were living quite a lucrative life of crime? I will have to keep digging and find out more. One thing I do know is that the more I unearth about Ann and her life, the more dramatic her story becomes. “You couldn’t make it up,” as they say.

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Comments on: "Family History – Curiouser and Curiouser" (1)

  1. It’s true…truth is always stranger than fiction (probably way more entertaining too !)

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