My question regards how good historical research is done for the Tudor period. I've seen references to "primary research" which I assume means material actually written during the 1500 or 1600's. Does this mean you must have access to the original or is a copy acceptable? I'm guessing many original documents are not readily available to the general public.
Also, when doing primary research does that mean that you sit down with the original (or copy) and read it exactly as written? Have a lot of original materials been "translated" (for lack of a better word) from the old English style to modern English? I know the Tudor spelling was not standardized and they used different terms than we do. Perhaps deciphering illegible handwriting would be a challenge too. Do researchers ever come across a word, term, or reference and have no idea of its meaning?
Weren't some communications of Henry VII, Elizabeth I, Catherine of Aragon etc. written in other languages such as French, Latin, or Spanish? With this being the case,has some prior researcher helpfully translated such documents in to English?-or does the researcher do this themselves (if able) or hire someone else to do so?
In addition to the writings of royalty other people would have written reports or letters. I guess one of the puzzles with everything written would be to put it in context based on any bias or agenda of the writer. Is it difficult to determine the accuracy of some writings because of this?
Sorry this is so long. I actually have more questions about this topic but I've restrained myself.
The process of trying to determine the most factual picture of Tudor times is fascinating to me-a bit like a treasure hunt.