Nothing can take a reader out of a story quicker than an item used before its invention. I can’t begin to tell you the number of times a match was struck in a time when it didn’t exist. It’s not the job of an agent or editor to vet the historical accuracy of your story. Many writers aren’t fond of research, but it’s an absolute must for a credible tale. I seem to be the odd writer who loves research almost more than writing.
I can’t stress enough how important Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition, is to have near at hand. The first known written usage of words is given in this must-have dictionary.
The following list is only a small sampling of the sources that can be found on the Internet. These are a few of my favorites from Medieval to Georgian.
With a bit of diligent research using your favorite Internet search engine, most answers to your historical accuracy questions can be answered. Just make sure your source is reliable. 😉