My great-great grandfather came from Freinsheim to Cleveland in 1857, and apprenticed with his uncle as a blacksmith. He was sixteen years old. I want to explore and write about his experience. To piece it together, I have original source material–photos and letters sent from my father’s ancestors back to their relatives in Germany. My German cousin Angela has been invaluable in learning the Old German script and translating the letters. I’ve been reading about the history of Cleveland, Ohio and the Rheinpfalz (Rhineland-Palatinate) region of what is present-day Germany, about steam and railroads and blacksmithing, about the 19th century immigrant experience. I’ve outlined and gathered my wits, and am now ready to begin writing a novel of historical fiction. With this blog, I’ll share some things I learn along the way.