So why am I not rich.

Because John’s grandfather was a younger son and did not inherit the family estate. Instead, no doubt with some portion of the inheritance he set himself up trading as a wool and leather merchant in Rothbury. Housed in a row of businesses with stores below and accommodation above, he was unfortunate enough to be next door to a blacksmith, whose carelessness caused a fire which destroyed all the buildings in the row.  John lost his business including stock of some 30 tons of wool and a great deal of leather, his home and furniture. There was no insurance then so hardships would ensue. Hence the perceived rich pickings of the new industrial Lancashire. Or so his grandson thought. So I won’t dwell on that lot. Let’s look at the family seat in Biddlestone and beyond. How did they become so wealthy back in the 13th century?    

Me the genealogist.

Knowing that my grandparents were born in Bolton, I set about building my family tree. I traced back to John Selby married to Alice Hutchinson, who were the parents of Joseph Selby born in Bolton in 1799. Unfortunately, John seemed to have appeared out of thin air, so I tried Alice Hutchinson, who was born in Bolton and found that her father also had no local birth record. So where had these Selby’s and Hutchinson's come from? Exhaustive checking of the IGI Genealogical collection found possibilities for both in Northumberland. I found a match for her Alices' father, Thomas born in Halton Northumberland and two possible entries for John Selby’s birth, one in Earle, Northumberland and the other in Rothbury. The one Earle in died in infancy that just left the one born in Rothbury, but why would he go to Lancashire when he appeared to be born of an ancient and well to do Northumbrian family? Why indeed.

 What started me writing novels?

Shortly before retirement, I became interested in my family history. I began by tracing as far as I could making use of the free Birth, Marriage and Death Index on the internet and in my local library. I then ordered a couple of certificates of birth and marriage of my grandparents. These gave me access to addresses and occupations. I wanted to know more. I was hooked and joined an internet genealogy site to enable me to view the full range of national census information. There were annoying gaps in some of the census data, so I paid a visit to an aged great aunt in Bolton who gave me valuable information. I followed this by a visit to Bolton family history library where some missing census records were found filed in a separate place as ‘flood damaged’. They were probably missed when they microfilmed the collection. After this small success, I fancied myself as a time detective. I was hooked and determined to go back as far as possible.

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