PictureThe final project - all completed.
This is a prized piece of art and is roughly 20"x26". It represents about 400 years of our family's history and covers a cabin in the woods in late 19th century Manitoba to the shores of Cornwall, England in the 1600's.
When I was growing up, I loved to hear the story of how Grandma's grandparents met. John Erwin Moss Firby saw a group of girls cutting through the cemetery and told his friends he  was going to marry "the little dark-eyed girl." Around 1880, he did marry Jessie Nankivell. After they wed, he took her to his homestead in Woodlands, Manitoba where they started their family.

PictureA photocopy from Grandma's Nankivell collection.
Grandma was able to  connect with others tracing the Nankivell family and received a copy of the document (left). James Nankivell and Edith Nankivell were two people who provided a lot of insight into her reseach and I believe it was one of them who gave her this page.
Grandma's uncle, Jim Nankivell, wrote a letter in 1936 that outlined the history of the Nankivell family and it matches the details in the document. One other thing he mentions: Nankivell is Cornish for Valley of the Wild Horses. I don't know if it's true but my teenage imagination was enthralled. This story had it all: romance, cemeteries and horses!

PictureThe sculpture created from a photocopied page (see above).
This is an example of how a story can be brought to life in a single piece so that it can be discussed and shared with the whole family.
Geoff Sandhurst is a wonderful metal sculpture artist. In 1994, I took a copy of the page (see above) and asked him if he could recreate the fist holding the anchor. He did an incredible job as you can see!
You can check out more of Geoff's artwork at, http://sandhurstsculpture.blogspot.ca/.
I am also very grateful to Felicia at the Michael's on Deerfoot Trail who pulled together my vague ideas and a beautiful piece of art and then created a beautiful family heirloom.

 
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I deeply enjoy doing genealogical and historical research and I believe that information is for sharing. It turns out, though, that not everyone is happy to read pages and pages of facts. How then do we  get our family stories across in a way that is easily accessible?
I've come to realize that sharing the family tree needs to be in some format other than a binder (electronic or paper). That isn't because there isn't value in a binder full of information but it's unlikely that any anyone will (a) pick it up from the bookshelf, or (b) read it. Why should they, really? It's a bunch of pages about people they never knew. And that's the crux of the matter. I want the next generations to get to know those who came before them.
When I sat down to think about how I share the information. I thought about the binders I have in my own collection that, while I treasure I rarely look at. That got me thinking about other ways I might display our history. It turns out that I've already done a few different things. My future blogs are going to describe my projects, and I'll be sure to include inspirations and ideas from others, too. There are so many ways to create family memories and heirlooms! Look for the Memories in Food cookbook I made for Mom last Christmas and the Nankivell Coat of Arms commissioned metal sculpture in the next couple of weeks.
Thank you for stopping by my site and spending some time with me!
~Laura