I am a member of several history Facebook groups and two things have amazed and impressed me. The first is just how many people there are who love history, and in particular British history. Many live outwith the British Isles, and some of these people have British ancestors. As a history author this is a delight to me. The market for my books is worldwide. And of course, like anyone who discovers a large group who share the same interests as them, it has simply reinforced what I already knew – history is fascinating.
But secondly is the depth of people’s knowledge. It astounds me sometimes the amount of information people have on various aspects of history. These are people who are not academics, but have simply researched and learned more about the subject they love in their spare time.
I am currently researching weddings for my next book. There are so many questions I have about weddings in the 15th and 16th century. What were weddings like royalty and the aristocracy? What were the rituals? How religious was the marriage ceremony? Who attended? The process is made hard by the fact that I imagine weddings of the rich would have been different from those of the poor.
But like the members of the Facebook groups I consider this part of the fun and pull of history. The potentials for learning are infinite. Added to this is the fact that some details we will never know for certain. What we think we know is sometimes disproved as more information comes to light. The jigsaw puzzle is never finished.