I attended my first family reunion in 2004. I’d been wishing to have one to attend for nearly 20 years. Y’see, I started “looking up my family tree” around 1986-ish. What caused it was my growing interest in history, particularly American, specifically War Between the States.
Really, I got so interested in the war, the causes of war, migration patterns during expansion and all…that I just got to wondering where my family was during all this. I also discovered the historical/heritage organization The Sons of Confederate Veterans and wanted to join. In order to join, however, you had to prove direct link to a confederate soldier. So, I started searching.
Eventually I found the ancestor who fought and joined the organization. I eventually took my own research back to about 1790. (The family has since “met” another branch and the lines go back another hundred years or so)
I think every family should try to attend a family reunion. We live now in such a society that very few folks even know great grandparents. I remember asking one of my classes at Northwest Shoals how many knew their grandparents and on back. I was amazed at how few knew beyond grandparents.
Attending a family reunion allows you to meet cousins that you might never have known. Also, one of the things I found neat was to hear different stories of the family–or different perspectives.
Photo of the 2008 Mann Family reunion in Piggott, Ark. Photo taken by Ken Renshaw- firstname.lastname@example.org and used here with his permission (click photo to see larger version). His website is: http://www2.jpl.nasa.gov/ambassador/profiles/Kenneth_Renshaw.htm)
Dad and I were talking after the most recent reunion that they seem to go by too fast. It seems, organized the way it is, folks come and then leave right after the meal. Heck, I’d rather have everyone plan to stay for another couple of hours so that we could sit around and talk with each other. There are members of the family that I’d like to at least spend 10 minutes with to say, hey, who are you, what interesting things do you know about the family? That, and what do you do where do you live, etc. I’d like to see that happen at the next one, maybe a more kicked back and relaxed atmosphere to allow us to spend some more time actually talking with extended family members. I’d also like to see us take it back a generation or two and try to get a whole host of families to come. THAT would be interesting.
If your family doesn’t have one–start one! Get to know your family; who they are, what they do and where they come from!