GHS Research Projects
Early Records Project
GHS President Stephen Moore was recently the recipient of a research grant from the Belanger-Gardner Foundation of Bishop's University. The grant was awarded for research to be undertaken on behalf of the Society relating to the early settlement of the lakeshore of Lake Memphremagog extending north from Georgeville in the direction of Magog. The research effort consisted mainly of the examination of notary records concerning the land transactions of early settlers to the area. The project was designed to address the Society's void of records pertaining to families from this area and was undertaken during the winter months of 2016-17.
Abandoned Roads Project
A project is currently underway which focuses on the abandoned roads in the hinterland surrounding the village of Georgeville. These roads which were once major thoroughfares for local inhabitants during the nineteenth century, have since been 'abandoned' by the municipality and are currently in various stages of regeneration. Many are becoming overgrown and given their lack of use, lost in the memory of modern day travelers.
The nature of the project is two-fold. First, these roads will become the object of occasional walking tours, such as the one originally scheduled for the summer of 2016, namely the 'Bridle Path' on the southern section of Magoon's Point. This tour, to be led by Stephen Moore, has now been postponed till 2017. Tours of similar roads will also be undertaken over the course of the next few years.
The second aspect of the project is the goal of video-taping the length and breadth of these various roads individually. By securing a current day record of these abandoned roads, the Society will be able to document at least a semblance of their former condition and the land that borders them.
While photographs have been collected for years by the Society and its members, it has often been haphazardly and with no specific organization or thought as to subject matter, time period or classification. In 2008, a concerted effort was made to address the problem of the Society’s archives with a special committee set up consisting of Board members . At the time it was decided to segregate the village’s history into two distinct periods:
The Georgeville Historical Archive: 1797 to 1918
The New Georgeville Archive: 1918 to Present
The committee issued a request to the membership and the general public for any and all photographs, ephemera, war memorabilia, family genealogies, postcards and letters with Georgeville connections, sketches and drawings of the Georgeville area and pertinent newspaper clippings of Georgeville stories. Naturally, the greatest component of this mix was photographs, out of which a distinct ‘Photo Project’ emerged.
Over the years the photographs continued to amass and a solution has yet to be found as to how to deal with so many images. Various software options have be considered as well as ‘cloud’ type arrangements with other institutions.
In the meantime, in 2014, the Society hosted a ‘photo fair’ at which over 600 photographs were scanned and documented. Since the fair, the scanning process has continued and there are now over 1600 photos in the GHS archives, thanks in large part to the dedicated efforts of Board member Judy Bachelder. There are still many photos that have not as yet been digitized, with countless more in the community at large.
Admittedly, most photos in the collection pertain to the latter half of the twentieth century, though important images from earlier periods have been secured. The latter have been very helpful in ascertaining the age of certain buildings, their transformations over the years, and in many cases, their disappearance from the local landscape. Similarly, they have been invaluable in the presentation of various exhibitions in the past.
More recent images include a wide spectrum of village life from various events such as celebrations, parades, pageants and sporting events. Recently, the family of the late Mary Landry donated to the GHS her collection of Georgeville ‘notables’ that have graced the walls of village’s community center in recent decades.
Once a suitable venue or means of viewing all the photographs in the archives of the Society is secured, members of the Society as well as the general public will have access to this valuable resource in the future.
Oral History Project
A remnant from the pre-Society days is the oral history efforts undertaken during the 1960s and ‘70s by GHS director emeritus, Addie Atkins. As one of the founding members of the Society, Addie had been amassing all sorts of interesting information about the village of Georgeville and its inhabitants. She was the de facto ‘local historian’ and set about during this period to record the life stories of some of the community’s more senior residents. The medium at the time was a crude, inexpensive cassette tape recorder and the results were less than optimal by modern day standards.
Nevertheless, Addie captured an important record of earlier times for posterity, and now an effort is underway to analyze the tapes and transcribe the valuable recollections of former Georgevillians in formats that are more readily accessible.
Society member, Marguerite Dunlop, has accepted the challenge to decipher the content of Addie’s tapes as well as others recorded in more recent years. The tapes will be edited for useful historical content and made available in both hard copy and hopefully, digitized audio files.