Also…

http://www.londonancestor.com/leighs/coffee.htm
Sending your characters out for coffee or a beer? No Starbucks, but ample other places for them to hang out.

http://www.british-trees.com/guide/home.htm
Regarding earlier landscape project; definitive guide to native British trees; avoid non-indigenous plantings.

http://www.24carat.co.uk/denominationsframe.html
Best resource I’ve seen on British coins–what denominations were issued when, under whose reign, and what were they worth.

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Favorite On-line Research Sites

(These were initially posted on Romancenovel.tv in Summer 2007.  I’m reposting them here, as they are no longer available there.)

Hello again!

I bet everybody can help me out here. Let’s list some of our favorite online information sites. I’m picking these straight out of my favorites folder, so they won’t be in any order. At all.

Disclaimer: Like any source of information, the reader has to decide its correctness and suitability. I’ve had very good results from these sources, other than picking a small bone with the folks at the Georgian Index.

http://www.maisons-champagne.com/traduction/english/bonal_gb/pages/03/03-03_gb.htm
18th Century wine trade in France.

http://www.thenonesuch.com/lexicon.html
Regency lexicon; dictionary and thesaurus

http://www.biffvernon.freeserve.co.uk/contents.htm
Great background on the Great North Road, needed information for those trips to Gretna Green.
I’ve corresponded with the owner, and he’s been very helpful.

http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/Arthur+Wellesley%2c+1st+Duke+of+Wellington
Bio of the Duke of Wellington

http://laura.chinet.com//html/titles01.html
Titles and ranks for British nobility. I know, I recommended a book for titles; this works, too.

http://www.bl.uk/collections/brit18th.html
Concise history of the British newspaper, beginning in 1700.
Comes in very handy.

http://72.14.235.104/search?q=cache:49qmNOA4MPoJ:www.ex.ac.uk/~RDavies/arian/current/howmuch.html+agriculture+prices+england+18th+century&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=6&gl=us
Current value of old money. Links to many sites with various types of financial information.

http://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~jlynch/18th/history.html
another gateway site to different aspects of 18th Century history

http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/18sil/hd_18sil.htm
Information about corsets & 18th Century costumes. The illustrations, photos of authentic clothing, alone are worth a visit.

http://www.nohofencing.com/fencing_glossary.html
terms in fencing; a must-have for the duels in Desperate Duchesses

http://www.genuki.org.uk/big/Britain.html
This was mentioned on Eloisa’s bb; shows the counties of Britain as they would have been, up to the 1970s. another fab gateway site.

http://www.georgianindex.net/London/l_home.html#TOP
I know. This isn’t the front door of the Georgian Index, but it’s the page I always end up at: I need to find a furniture-maker’s shop; I need a fancy address. I need this page of the Georgian Index. You can get there from here.

http://www.hms.org.uk/
The Naval Re-enactors. Everything to do with the mighty British Navy, late 18th Century to early 19th. They’ve been very helpful with questions, too.

http://www.public.asu.edu/~warrenve/s18_ast.html
In case you need to find something for Georgian scientists to chat about.

http://www.pedigreequery.com/
Used much in the Essex Sisters. You enter any name you’ve selected for a horse, and it will tell you of any horse with that actual name, and its ancestry.

http://www.etymonline.com/
good for searching word and phrase origins, if you don’t have access to the OED.

http://www.regiments.org/
You need to maneuver around a bit in this, but has great information about the regiments that conquered and made a mighty emperor. They much prefer you find the information yourself, rather than asking questions.

http://www.oldlondonmaps.com/horwoodpages/horwoodmain.html
on-line version of Horwood’s famous 1800 map of London; extraordinary detail.

http://www.vauxhallsociety.org.uk/VauxhallGdns.html
Information and maps of the famous Vauxhall Gardens.

Okay. List YOUR most useful sites here.
Thanks for your generosity in sharing such precious information.
I’m eager to see what you come up with.

Virtual Research Assignment

(These were initially posted on Romancenovel.tv in Summer 2007.  I’m reposting them here, as they are no longer available there.)

One of the things I really loved about the much-missed Squawk Radio is the way Eloisa James, the inveterate professor, would always manage to include an assignment in her post, and everyone would have a little work to do in their response.

So let’s try an assignment here, and see if it can help develop research techniques. Here’s the situation: your Regency-set (let’s say 1812) novel has a lovely estate, and the entire park and landscape around the mansion has been recently renovated and replanted by one of the foremost landscape architects active in England at the time. Maybe the ubër-gardener would be a minor character in the book, so you need to find out more about him (we will assume his gender, for simplicity’s sake) and what kind of plants and trees he favored, etc.

I would start in Google, plugging in various combinations of words such as: landscape architect Regency England gardener foremost, etc… I know it was officially “Britain,” not just England, but I think a response would be better from using England. I would try using quotation marks judiciously, to narrow the search, hence “landscape architect” and “Regency England,” to help weed out building architects, and the forty-eleven (as my mother would say) hotels that have the word “Regency” in their name. Come up with a few names? I did this last night, and spotted a possible name right away.

Then, take your name(s) to Wikipedia, and see what comes up. I just love Wikipedia, and have found most of the information in there spot-on. I certainly wouldn’t use it for contemporary politics, or controversial matters, but it was certainly the first place I looked for information about obscure German principalities in the early 19th Century, or the Huguenots in England. Most of the articles were written by people passionately interested in the topic, and I usually verify at least some of it in print sources before I consider the entire article reliable. Is this helping? Are you getting corroboration for your name, or able to rule some others out?

Then, give Google Books a try,
and see what comes from there. It can be frustrating, as the most promising source may not allow you to read much, but it’s always worth a try.

Then, since you actually need a physical book about the gardener, try a university library. I use the Knight Library at the University of Oregon, partly because I have borrowing privileges there, and also because I have a friend, a marvelous librarian, who is also an Eloisa fan, and always willing to help.
Or use your local library, public or university’s catalog on the web.

Have you come up with a book? Are you ready to start actually reading about the gardener?

Walk through the steps, and see how far you get, and report back about problems and/or triumphs, and certainly the name & book you settled on. It’ll be interesting to see what everyone comes up with. And I’ll address questions or comments later today.