Paul Serup is an independent researcher and author based in central British Columbia, Canada. Though he didn’t know it at the time, the simple act of reading a book almost thirty years ago changed the direction of his life. He recounts:
“After reading Charles Chiniquy’s autobiography, Fifty Years in the Church of Rome, in 1986, I was so fascinated and curious about what Chiniquy had said, particularly about President Lincoln’s assassination, that I began researching the ex-priest’s life.”
He initially wrote the Champaign Circuit Court in Illinois to find out more about the case, but received a letter back from the Champaign County Historical Archive in May, 1986, stating that there was no information available.
But Serup was intrigued, “I would have tried a few other queries and if they were fruitless, then I probably would have given up and forgotten about it. Several weeks later however, I received another letter from the same repository, from a different archivist, saying there was some information available, which she enclosed with the letter. So my research began. I had no plans of any kind for a book or anything like that, I was just curious about what sort of man this Charles Chiniquy was and if there might have been any truth to what he had said.”
Conducting research on a man who lived primarily in Quebec and Illinois, while himself living in B.C., presented the author with challenges, “I understand that I hold the record for the most inter-library loan requests of any patron in the history of the Prince George Public Library and also the library of the College of New Caledonia, (Prince George campus). I also happened to know people in Chicago, Illinois and therefore, when I visited, I also was off doing research at the Chicago Public Library, Chicago History Museum, Newberry Library, and other repositories. It has been a huge amount of work. I don’t know if I would have started it if I had known how much effort it would entail. It is very satisfying to be finished the research for this book”