Well, that’s not quite true. This past week I got back onto it, and that means the research process. It takes time to write a history book, and it takes even more time to research. What I need to do first for this third volume is find out all the things that happened in Montana from 1870 to 1900. To make that more manageable I’m going to focus on the 1870s first.
To begin I’ll find relevant topics and create files for them. So far I’ve got 12 files open, as you can see below:
A Look at Gathering Historical Research
Take a look at that file #75. It’s called William Farlin and the Start of Butte. Now, I have no idea who William Farlin is, but I know about Butte. One of the first places I might look to get some quick information is on Wikipedia. Here’s what I pulled up:
This is what it looks like when I type in William Farlin on Google Books:
Now I’ve got to wade through everything that came up and find what’s relevant. That could take a long time – 15,300 different results came up in the search! I think the people in Butte would be surprised that one of their founders is represented so well. The truth is that most of those results are rubbish and have nothing to do with what I’m looking for at all.
Usually I’ll go through about the first 4 pages of results, maybe more if what’s coming up isn’t any good. Lots of stuff that appears is useless, and some things are great but only have one or two paragraphs. Still other books having nothing listed but their cover and a link to Amazon.
Here are what a few of the pages I chose look like:
That’s the process I followed with the first two books of my Montana history series, and I’m just beginning to work on my third. With any luck I’ll have it done by the end of February like I plan.