Newfoundland's Grand Banks Message Board

Memorial University Resources
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Author:  GWTaylor [ Tue Feb 16, 2016 6:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Memorial University Resources

I just want to offer some kudos to the folks at Memorial University for the great work they are doing on collecting and archiving Newfoundland historical materials. You might be surprised at the amount of information the collections contain that is relevant to your genealogical research. The various centres all have very good websites. I searched some of the holdings on-line, and managed to find the full text of some documents on line, and others in places such as the National Library. Then last fall I visited MUN on a trip to St. John's (I live in Ontario) and was able to review original copies of some fascinating material. (Although they are working at it, much of the material is not yet digitized and you have to visit the holdings, or order copies.) At the Folklore Archive (MUNFLA) I found a paper written many years ago by a cousin which gave me some real insights into my own family. At the Maritime History Archive (MUNMHA) I found papers that document the history of some small communities, including a terrific piece on my mother's hometown. The Centre for Newfoundland Studies (CNS) helped me with the historical context for my family history; also, through the university's Digital Archive Initiative I was able to find, on-line, some newspaper articles from the 19th century that clarified some family connections. These are just some examples.

Resources such as these have helped me turn data into a story. Family history research is so much more than filling in boxes on a chart. I knew, for example, that some of my ancestors had moved here and there, that in some cases siblings were born in different and surprising places; I knew this happened, but now I know why. Also, in some cases I have been able to check the veracity of stories handed down through the family.

The staff at these centres have been invariably friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable. Respect their rules, be clear and specific with your requests, and if you have materials to contribute please do so. This is great stuff they are doing, and I hope they continue to get the support that they need.

Graham Taylor

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