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Stories add to local history

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Life was very different 60, 70 and 80 years ago in St. Francois Xavier.


The St. Francois Xavier Historical Society wants to capture and record the memories of current and former senior residents through its oral history project.


Society member Leslie Tsai is leading the effort to meet with longtime local residents. She and the other society members developed a questionnaire to be used in face-to-face interviews.


Tsai said while historical dates and facts are useful, she hopes to capture the reality of what life was like for local residents in the first half of the 20th century.


"First-hand stories can add weight to the history we have," she said. "I think the actual voice is very important."


Seeking memories about the village and municipality’s cultural life, she will be asking about residents’ childhoods, their neighbours, religious and social activities, and what they remember about the area’s buildings.


Tsai and the other Historical Society members decided to embark on this project after hearing a presentation on the importance of oral histories. With some longtime residents now in their 90s, they realized that they needed to act quickly.


Tsai plans on beginning her interviews within the next few months, and there is no end-date set. The recordings will be kept confidential and safely stored while privacy issues are addressed.


"We also want to generate interest among families to make these recordings," she added.

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