Column: Tips to learn more about your local history

(NC) There are lots of things you barely notice as you go through your life: old photos of people in uniform; Grandma’s locket; medals tucked into a drawer; a memorial to military history that you walk past every day.

Why not stop for a minute and take a closer look? What does that monument commemorate? What do those family treasures mean? You’ll often discover a fascinating story.

Here’s a family project: challenge each member of the household to choose one thing they see often, but they have never thought about. Then settle in to find out more.

If it’s a monument, start by reading its plaque to learn about what it commemorates. Ask questions of your family, friends and neighbours and listen to their stories. You’ll probably discover that you can relate to what you hear. The plaque on that monument may bear the name of a family in your community and the locket may be a gift from grandmother’s first love. You may get first-hand accounts of past events from older neighbours.

If it’s a family photo, remember that they were usually used to capture significant life events. Is it of a young person in uniform on the day they left to join the armed forces?

To get more insight on your object, visit your local library or community museum. You may see a familiar face in a historical picture or recognize a former student at a wreath-laying ceremony.

You can find resources to help with your family research challenge, discover more century-old stories or find local events at

You’re also welcome to join the Facebook conversation at Canada Remembers.

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