LEWISTON — The Franco-American Collection (FAC) at the University of Southern Maine (USM) will hold a series of online workshops this month exploring personal history and memory. Three introductory programs discuss oral history, genealogy and memoir-writing.

The series is part of an ongoing effort by the Franco-American Collection to offer community programs to deepen and broaden understanding of Franco-American life, past and present. Denis Ledoux, chairman of the FAC’s programming committee, said, “These programs are open to the general public regardless of ethnicity and will focus on the process of oral history, genealogy and memoir-writing rather than on specific memory content.”

From noon to 1 p.m. Monday Oct. 19, and Wednesday, Oct. 21, Molly Graham, oral historian and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Voices oral history project manager, will present a two-part workshop on oral history. The webinar workshop is meant to teach potential oral history practitioners the basics of how to conduct a life-course oral history.

Her content will include identifying participants, conducting pre-interview research, informing interviewees of their rights, release forms and interview etiquette. The goal of the workshop is for participants to independently conduct their own oral history in local communities. Samples of necessary forms will be provided. Additionally, the legal and ethical issues involved in doing oral history will be discussed.

From 1 to 2 p.m. Monday Oct. 26, B.J. Jamieson, Maine State Library’s genealogy librarian, will present a webinar on basics of genealogy with a focus on Franco-American genealogy research.

And from 1 to 2 p.m. Monday Nov. 2, Ledoux, director of The Memoir Network, who has been helping people to write personal and family history since 1989, will offer a mini-Turning Memories into Memoirs workshop. The class will cover five basic must-do tasks memoir writers need to tackle successfully as they prepare to leave a written legacy. While this is a writing-focused program, its principles can be applied to preserving oral history or writing genealogy narratives. Participants will receive class downloads after their registration. No prior experience necessary.

The programs, made possible by a grant from the Québec Delegation in Boston, are free. For more information, contact Ledoux at [email protected] or the FAC’s archivist, Anna Faherty at [email protected] or by phone at 207-753-6545.


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