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One for the history buffs

One for the history buffs

Once you pull on that first thread of your family history, it quickly becomes an all-consuming occupation, says local historian Liz Edwards.

And just how all-consuming Liz knows well. For much of the last two decades, Liz has been researching and writing about her own ancestors who hail from Devon in the UK. But last year, she was finally able to publish her years of research in her book Devon Born — a true labour of love.

On 2 August, Liz will join Associate Professor Tanya Evans in presenting a History Council of NSW Seminar ‘Memory Research and the Family Historian’ as part of the Orange Readers and Writers Festival.

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“People just love family history and there are certainly plenty of people in Orange who do it,” said Liz.

“It is bringing to life your ancestors and finding ways of doing that, so you might have names and dates of birth, deaths and marriages but you need to fill that out somehow.’

Those attending the seminar are encouraged to bring in an item related to their own family history of local history research.

“We’ll be giving people ideas about how you can go about research and how you can construct a book, because it can be very complicated when you've got family histories to make it make sense for other people,” said Liz.

“Then there will be a chance for people to bring in an object to do with their family, or a photograph or showing us some of their research and see if we could help them with ideas as to how to progress.”

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Liz spent 20 years as a print journalist in Orange and since retiring has written six books of local history and is an active member of the Orange and District Historical Society.

She is currently in the final stages of writing a history of the Dalton family of Orange, which will be published later this year.

“They were probably the most prominent family in Orange for many decades,” said Liz, who’s book covers how the Dalton family went from poor Irish immigrants to building a vast business and pastoral empire based in Orange.

“I think it is fascinating because there are many facets to the story: their success in business, they also bought up a lot of pastoral properties and went into sheep and wool, they were very strong Catholics and most of all they never forgot their Irish past and were very much involved in the Irish cause for home rule,” said Liz, who has spent two years on this book.

Hear about Liz’s family and local history research at the interactive seminar ‘Memory Research and the Family Historian’ from 10.30am – 2.30pm at the West Room located next door to the Library and Gallery.  Tickets are $15 for History Council of NSW members, $20 for non-members.

Book online through www.orangewinterfirefestival.com.au or call the library on 6393 8132.

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