Tag Archives: family reunion

Family reunion revisited

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.

2008 Mann family reunion in Piggott, Arkansas

Photo of the 2008 Mann Family reunion in Piggott, Ark. Photo taken by Ken Renshaw- renshaw@newwavecomm.net 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!

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Kissin’ cousins at the family reunion

Jeff Foxworthy has a funny joke where he talks about rednecks attending their family reunions to find dates. While I’m not claiming to be as funny as Mr. Foxworthy, I do have a pretty funny reunion story.

The Mann family held a reunion on Saturday, April 12, in Piggott, Arkansas. About 75 folks all related to the Mann clan were in attendance. The further one traveled all the way from Mexico, a whopping 1,500 miles.

This was the third such reunion in 6 years, the first being held in 2004. The most recent was in April of 2006. While the modern string of reunions is not the first of its kind, it is the first in recent years. We’ve got newspaper clippings of Mann reunions about 60 years ago.

These reunions have been the descendants of John Wesley Mann, b. 1855. I’m trying to convince the group to back up at least one generation to include more cousins. John Wesley’s father was a Confederate Veteran and I’d just like to go back to include all his descendants. For the confused, it is “ancestors” if you’re going back…if you’re coming forward, it’s “descendants.” So, John Wesley Mann is my ancestor…I am a descendant of John Wesley Mann.

So, in 2004, during the first of the modern reunions, as I was roaming around, reading nametags and introducing myself to people, I struck up a conversation with a fellow who looked bored. I asked him what line he belonged to and he said he didn’t, that he’d just come with his wife. I then asked him his last name. It was Seitz.

I told him we had Seitz in the family…in fact, John Wesley had married a Mary Jane Seitz. Her dad was Isaac and his dad was Abraham. His eyes lit up when I mentioned those names and I took him to the chart and showed him where I was talking about. He jumped on his cellphone and took off outside. In only a few minutes he was asking me to speak to his dad. Turns out, they were descendants of Abraham (or Isaac, I’ve forgotten now) and he’d come to his OWN family reunion after all.

Roland Mann b.1964
Son of Billy Mann b.1941
Son of Waldon Bill Mann b. 1919
Son of Robert E. Mann b. 1880
Son of John Wesley Mann b. 1855
Son of William Montgomery Mann b. 1821. Private in Co. E. 5th Arkansas Confederate Infantry.


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