In researching Anglo Saxon times for my next novel, I've had to dig deeper than usual. Unlike other historical periods awash with information, I had to forage. Those damned Anglo Saxons just didn't leave as many records as were left from other periods.
My Argelès neighbour who lives in Ely, the site of the novel, showed me a book that her husband had given her. She was the one who encouraged me to make my next novel Murder In Ely.
Prime the trumpets of joy.
I had names that led me to more information which led to more. I had a place to look for personalities, battles, marriages, etc. which also led to photos of masks and sketches of houses that were thought to be representative of the times.
Youtube had some documentaries on the period giving me a bit more.
Then when I got back to Geneva there was a box of books from the US waiting for me.
Backstory coming up...
At university I had a Chaucer professor, a man from Glasgow, who when he read Chaucer aloud it was so beautiful I could have cried. Many years later in a Washington D.C. restaurant this time with his wife and my daughter I encouraged him to quote some lines in Middle English, and my daughter later said that I hadn't exaggerated about the beauty of the sound of his voice rippling over the words written so long ago in the seed of our current tongue. (She also told me after her pediatrician told her the facts of life "You did know what you were talking about" and maybe now that she's in her 40s she'll realize that maybe mom knew a bit about a few things.)
Although my prof's period was later, I asked him for help.
The box of books were from him. Each one had something in it I can use on things like kinship, the effects of religion, etc.
Although I'm dealing with a real character and some of her life turned up in Bede and other documents, to write a fiction work I needed more details of daily life, relationships, etc. Most of my readers won't know if I'm inaccurate unless I do something really dumb like have an Anglo Saxon check his GPS on the way to battle. However, I'll know.
I have enough to start writing this section of my mystery.
I did get a good grade in my Chaucer course. I'm glad the Chaucer prof is still in my life, because he's a fascinating human being in so many ways beyond books to the rescue...