Local historian Eleanor Motley Richardson of Rockland and Naples, Fla., will give a presentation on researching, writing and publishing neighborhood and family histories at Union Historical Society’s September meeting. The public is invited to attend the 7:30 p.m. program Wednesday, Sept. 1 at the Old Town House on Town House Road, just off Union Common.

Richardson will explain the genesis and the process of writing her books, illustrated by a slide show of old photos. The author will demonstrate how she gathered material by digging beneath the surface, poring through the Registry of Deeds, opening up dusty leather-bound tax records in City Hall, scouring Vital Records and the Rockland Historical Society and conducting personal interviews, to bring alive neighborhoods of long ago.

Richardson said while her stories deal with specific Maine locales, there are stories on everyone’s street and in everyone’s family. She encourages her audiences to share ideas and projects, talk about how to get going and give each other courage because “A neighborhood history is a mystery story and you are the ‘History Detective’!”

Richardson has written four books of local history: “Hurricane Island” and “North Haven Summers,” about two Maine islands; “Andover: A Century of Change,” about Andover, Mass.; and “Mechanic Street: Uncovering the History of a Maine Neighborhood,” about a Rockland neighborhood. Richardson is a retired organist and organ builder and is married to the Rev. Peter Richardson. They live in a house built by his great-grandfather in Rockland.

The program will be preceded by a short business meeting and followed by refreshments. All Union Historical Society meetings are free and open to the public.

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail to dernest@villagesoup.com.