Summer is a great time for family reunions and we had the opportunity to reconnect with my mom’s family in August. There are 62 of us (four generations), but only 28 of us were able to attend this year. It was a lot of fun to catch up with family we don’t see very often.
My sister and her husband hosted the reunion at their home, which has plenty of space for large groups to eat and play. They also had a brilliant idea to ask a friend who does photography as a hobby to come and hang out for the day and take some candid and formal shots. We have some great photos to help us remember the day! Most of us are so busy talking, eating and playing that we often forget to take pictures.
We were also supposed to attend a family reunion on my husband’s side of the family. We were really looking forward to this event, because we had never met these family members. My husband’s great-uncle’s family has been having family reunions for decades, but they were unaware that there were extended family members who lived close enough to attend. We connected through Ancestry.com and because their relative was the oldest in the family, they have a great deal of old family photos and documents. Unfortunately, we were unable to attend due to my being quite ill with a “bug” and subsequently, a migraine. They hold their reunions annually, so we hope to attend next year.
My dad’s family has been scattered and distant due to the death of his mother when most of the children were school-aged. They were raised in different homes, and to the best of my knowledge, the last time all eight were in the same location was at their mother’s funeral in 1936. They have all passed away, but we cousins are beginning to connect through social media.
I recently located my dad’s brother’s oldest daughter through a combination of Ancestry.com searches and Facebook. She was anxious to meet her cousins and traveled from Chicago to Portland for a visit last week. I shared old photos I’ve acquired and it was interesting to hear her tell stories about her dad, step-mom and siblings. It helped fill in the blanks for both of us, although I suppose there will always be questions about how our dads and their siblings coped (or failed to cope) during those childhood years after their mother died. We hope to connect with the other cousins from our dads’ side of the family next summer with a reunion and discover more about our shared history.
I’d love your suggestions and tips for organizing family reunions. What would make you attend a reunion? Have you hosted a reunion?
It’s true that people have mixed reactions to the prospect of a family reunion. I always feel reluctant to attend, then wind up having a great time. I do think far flung relatives who might be on the fence respond better to personal invites than group messages.
I’m not reluctant, but always a little nervous. Thanks for the tip regarding those who don’t live nearby. A more personal invite might be more appropriate. I appreciate the feedback!