When you’re writing your life story, you want to avoid factual errors, but no one’s memory is reliable and comprehensive enough to fill in every detail. Dates, the exact names of places, the correct spelling of people’s names, the precise distance between cities—these are the types of specifics that you’ll want to get right.
I’m old enough to remember what research used to entail. You’d have to pretty much camp out at your local library for weeks, taking notes and photocopying, in order to research even a small book. Today, from the comfort of home, you can download or copy and paste information right into your computer. There’s just no comparison in terms of efficiency and degree of access.
- Internet Public Library—it’s just like going through the library stacks except there’s no heavy lifting.
- Google Archives—creates an automatic time line of historical events involving any topic you choose.
- MelissaData—lists sites that help you pinpoint locations and find statistical information.
- Gary Price’s List of Lists—helps you to identify the “top 10??? or “top 100??? of many topics.
Your memoirs are a piece of history! Give them their due by taking the time to research the time period and get your facts straight.