Oral History project is underway

Sarnia Historical Society group is organizing interviews in attempt to 'save stories'

Laura Greaves, vice president of the Sarnia Historical Society, is among those organizing interviews intended to build an oral history of the area.

A group of local volunteers is busy collecting stories of Lambton’s past from those who witnessed them firsthand.

The Lambton County Oral History Project, a joint venture between the Sarnia Historical Society and the Lambton County Historical Society being led by Laura Greaves, is currently working to collect stories by conducting interviews with seniors throughout the county.

The interviews are being conducted by a group of volunteers who are all committed to collecting the stories while they can. As project volunteer Dean Hodgson explains, “We are interested in preserving the local history of Lambton County and a ‘way of life’ that is disappearing. We hope that we can record stories of people, schools, churches and neighbourhoods, even businesses, from a time of a slower paced lifestyle when everybody knew their neighbour.”

The group is particularly interested in those communities that were once flourishing. “At one time places such as Blackwell, Mandaumin, Bradshaw, Uttoxeter and many others were thriving little communities where life centred around the school, the church and the general store.

Organizers are hoping they can save some of the stories from a time before “super Highways,” fast cars and high tech communications.

The group has already begun conducting the 50 interviews they plan to complete throughout 2016. They hope that this history series will inspire seniors throughout the county to come forward and share their stories.

Once the stories are collected, the interviews will be transcribed and both audio and written versions will be deposited with the Lambton County Archives. Stories will also be featured on the Sarnia Historical Society website and on the Lambton County GIS Map of Culture website.

The project was made possible with funding from the Lambton County Creative County Fund and the Sarnia Historical Society.

Anyone interested in more information about the project can contact Laura Greaves (vice president of the Sarnia Historical Society) at (519) 331-0480 or by e-mail (laura@sarniahistoricalsociety.com).

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