• MM Shelley


How much research should go into your story? There is no set answer to this question. It all depends on the story you are telling and how you want to tell it.

My love for research is vast, and it’s a part of writing that I enjoy. I feel as though I am an investigator, and I want to learn more and see where my research will take me. This has helped in other areas of my life too! Years ago, I started my journey of researching my family genealogy. There is only so much I could learn from word-of-mouth stories that are passed down from the older generation.

During my research, I discovered that some of these stories were not true, similar to the ‘telephone game’ stories can become misconstrued and change into Tall Tales.

I was told that my great-grandmother Maria Abencerrage was born in France and immigrated to the US. Well, I uncovered in my research that this was not true! My great-grandmother was born in Morenci, Arizona, on May 19, 1901. Her mother was Soledad Abencerrage, a Mexican woman, and her father Gonzalo Gallardo, a Spaniard, and they had three children. Unfortunately, Soledad passed away while the children were young. My great grandmother, Maria, and her older sister, Birdie, were left with a married couple who ran the town mortuary. Her brother, Ricardo, went with the girls’ father to another mining town.

There are stories of my grandmother Maria being absolutely miserable living with this couple who put her and her sister to work for them. Which probably propelled Soledad to marrying at 23 to my great grandfather.

Researching my great grandmother opened doors into research for my great grandfather, Seferino Lopez, and a web grew all the way to Lugo, Spain, to his parents. It’s amazing what happens when you start with only a name and a date. You discover that not all family stories are based on truth, and sometimes they are much more spectacular than you are led to believe.

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