Georgiana Molloy’s face appears on many web pages and in many books and documents, the image usually taken from photographs of the only known surviving portrait of her as an adult. That 1829 painting feels almost familiar and yet most people I talk to are not aware that the original is a miniature. It can […]
What has kept me going for more than a decade of research? The answer’s simple: there’s always something new to be discovered, something that’s been hidden nearly two hundred years and as each new piece of information adds to the story, everything becomes more clear.
Since researchers and biographers first became interested in finding out more about the Molloys, we’ve entered the digital age and as each year passes more and more old documents become available via the Internet. Even when I thought I’d found everything there was to discover, more kept coming to the surface. It’s possible that some findings may be proven incorrect by future research and new information will come to light so it’s important to continue the work and to share as much as possible.
Here are just a few research moments from the last eleven years.
Old documents fascinate for so many different reasons. Here’s an example of the way a writer’s own world is almost made real again in the words used. This builder was writing to Georgiana’s father requesting payment for materials and work on the family home, Crosby Lodge, in 1807. The amounts owing on this invoice were […]
In November 1839 Georgiana received the sudden and very surprising news that her sister Mary Kennedy had arrived in Perth. A passing soldier brought this information on the same day that her mother’s letter arrived saying Mary was on her way to live with the Molloys. The house at Vasse had no window shutters and […]
Sometimes it really does take an expert to untangle historical clues. Looking carefully and researching widely can only get you so far without serious expertise in a specific field. I’ve been looking more carefully at our photographs of the pen nib in Georgiana’s workbox and wondering how to work out whether it belonged to her […]
It’s late spring in Western Australia and that makes it difficult to post anything that isn’t botanical! So many WA native plants are flowering profusely and I can’t look through the window without seeing new blooms appearing nearly every day: this morning, blue sun orchids. Among the most vivid colours are the boldly-coloured ‘red and […]
The Reverend John Besley DCL From Tiverton in Devon, the son of the local mayor, Besley was a talented and charismatic man, educated at Balliol College (Oxford University) and always destined for a successful career in the church. After working in a prestigious but rather poorly paid role as librarian at the world […]
Minutiae… Small pieces of information can fascinate. They don’t usually answer the big questions but they work together in magical ways to bring the past to life. An individual is placed in a more detailed setting and their world is populated with real objects, against a background of colours and sounds. Even now, for most […]
I was very excited to receive an invitation to contribute a Guest Blog to the Biodiversity Heritage Library. I’ve been following this fantastic organisation for a while on Facebook and on their website, viewing the regular postings and information they share. Managed by the Smithsonian in New York, the BHL is a collective of major libraries including […]
One of the most difficult aspects of writing the book was deciding what information to include and what to leave out. Small facts about someone’s life, the minutiae of their world, can seem fascinating to one person and read like boring detail to another. Many of the gaps in Georgiana’s life were found by locking […]
One of the most intriguing aspects of research over the last few years has been the high frequency of historical coincidences that have come to light in the lives of the Molloys and the people around them. Two stories, apparently unlinked, can be suddenly revealed as connected by a shared association – usually a person […]