19 April 2009

UK: Home building for genealogists

Looking for a new way to honor your ancestors and their Old Country villages? Take a cue from a British couple who have built miniature models of her ancestors' homes after researching 500 years of family history.

The Telegraph carried the story.

Peggy and Peter Newman, both 77, have traced buildings linked to 13 generations of relatives since they began researching the project 25 years ago.

Painstakingly carved by hand, each of the 14 houses and other buildings took six months to construct.

Mr Newman, a former electrical engineer, who is now a keen carpenter, has built the houses while his wife has researched the materials and the style, and has contributed needlework.

Mrs Newman said: "The models go back through the ages, with buildings from Tudor and Victorian times right the way through the two World Wars until the present day.

"I am very fussy when it comes to history and they really are authentic. It has been quite hard work but a lot of fun."

The collection, which has cost the couple more than pounds 100,000, includes a blacksmith's, a church, a windmill and a seaside scene.

It also contains homes of Mrs Newman's nine times great grandfather Thomas Rist, who died in 1616, and of David Rist, her five times great grandfather's cousin, who died in the 18th Century.
Some models also have figures of their owners. Her GGGGF is shown pushing his baker's cart.

And talking about seeing a mirror in a mirror - one model is the couples home where the entire collection is displayed.

Most of the research was conducted before the internet, and Mrs Newman travelled across the south of England, visiting libraries, sifting through old newspaper cuttings, and contacting local historians.

Some of the older houses are based on photographs as the buildings have been knocked down. The photographs were sent to a kiln so the couple could be supplied with the necessary tiles and stone.
Mrs Newman got the idea after seeing a doll's house in a shop.

What a great idea!

1 comment:

  1. Pretty neat - are there any pictures of these minatures???