Monday, May 28, 2012
Sedai Corner – May 2012
The Sedai Project is pleased to extend our sincere thank you to Mary Ebata, Joyce Hirasawa, Tomiko Kadota, Tony Katsuno, Bob Kimura, Ken Morino, Doreen Morita, Joseph Nakamura, George Nishimura, Mitch Nishimura, Eileen Ogura, Thomas Oyagi, Roy Sato, and Alex & Donna Yanoshita, for contributing their many wonderful stories to the Sedai Project. Many thanks to Mary Katsuno, Mits Sumiya, and Tom Takashima for sharing their memories about this years Heritage Nostalgia Night honouree, Nipponia Home, who will be honoured along with Momiji Health Care Society on June 16th. Support and interest from the community is the main ingredient to Sedai’s success and we are pleased to announce 149 individuals in 158 interviews have participated in the project, totaling approximately 367 recorded hours.
On March 31st, Chris Hope and Lisa Uyeda came together during the Keisho Conference to share their knowledge and experience on collecting oral history and researching family history. After a few requests from the community, here is a brief summary of their presentation from the conference.
Oral history is a critical primary resource for research and it provides a first hand account of historic events. Often personal reflections and family history are excluded from history textbooks. Many cultures around the world do not rely on written text to share their history with the community, instead they rely on story telling. Are you wondering where to start, who to ask, and when to share stories with family members? Family celebrations, anniversaries, and reunions are a great place to start asking questions and sharing your family history. Each year everyone gets a little older and memories start to fade. Now is the time to be proactive, ask questions, and share family history with one another. Any information shared with family and friends is likely more than what was already known.
Tracing family history is neither easy nor quick, however, the time invested in researching is valuable and rewarding. Begin by looking around the house and by asking family members, you may find distant family members have already initiated a similar project. Look through old photographs, check the albums for information, translate any Japanese text, sort through old films and documents, and don’t forget to ask questions.
There are also many informative online resources available including www.sedai.ca. Try searching through:
The Japanese Overseas Migration Museum – www.jomm.jp
Amerikamura Shiryokan Museum in Hinomisaki, Japan (this small museum doesn’t have its own website but more information can be found online)
The Nikkei National Museum – www.museum.nikkeiplace.org
Library and Archives Canada – www.collectionscanada.gc.ca
Vancouver Public Library – www.vpl.ca
University of British Columbia Archives – www.library.ubc.ca/archives
National Film Board – www.nfb.ca
The National Association of Japanese Canadians – www.najc.ca
Discover Nikkei – www.discovernikkei.org
Densho: The Japanese American Legacy Project – www.densho.org
The Japanese American National Museum – www.janm.org
Ancestry (free trials available, and on labour day) – www.ancestry.ca
A great start to understanding your family history is by tracing and documenting the names of relatives in a family tree and by discovering where in Japan (and the world) your family lineage originated. Other informative resources include old city records, cemeteries, churches, temples, and shrines.
Don’t forget to properly store any photographs, documents or artifacts you may have. Ensure that these items are stored in a cool, dry, humidity controlled environment, stored away from food, and preserved in acid-free materials. Items may also be donated to Sedai (along with a completed donation agreement form). Last but not least, share the information with other family members and the community.
For more information about Sedai, please contact Lisa Uyeda at email@example.com or at 416-441-2345 ext 303. Visit www.sedai.ca for our updated videos and follow us on twitter at @JCCCSedai