Thursday, October 9, 2014

Family Reunion Friday - In the Beginning...

In the beginning there was a great have a family reunion.  To a genealogist a family reunion is a wonderful opportunity to fine-tune the family tree.  This isn't the motivating factor for many people to attend though.  A family reunion tradition may begin for many reasons.  Remembering the descendants of a beloved couple.  A get-together for a monumental anniversary or birthday celebration.  It doesn't matter why you have them, but if you want them to continue regularly and be successful then you need to do some maintenance on them now and then.

Too often family reunions begin and as they age into their 25th...50th...75th anniversaries you see changes.  Fewer people show up.  The people that do show up stay in their smaller immediate family cliques.  The old-guard are the only ones on the committee and new ideas don't seem as well received.  Many regard these reunions as boring and go only to please an older family member.

It's sad to see family reunions fall apart.  I am somewhat of a family reunion novice.  I've only been to two in my life.  One was when I was a very little girl.  I was shy and left to play with the other children...only there were no games so there was no playing involved.  Just a girl and her sisters bored to tears and constantly asking our father when it would be time to go.  I also attended one as an adult where I sat with my immediate family members, met a new cousin-in-law and fellow family historian and talked and got to hear my children ask multiple times when it would be time to go.

These are my only two experiences.  You'd think I'd be somewhat jaded about them, but I'm not.  I think they are a wonderful way to remember loved ones that have passed.  I think it's a great opportunity for new cousins to meet each other and keep in contact.  I think it's a fabulous way to introduce the family's history to a new generation and get them in to keeping it alive.  I think none of that matters if it's not an ever-changing entity that everyone builds on.

Do I know how to make a family reunion successful?  Nope.  Do I have ideas?  Yep.  Will my ideas work for your family reunion?  Who knows, but listening and trying other people's ideas isn't a bad thing.  I hope that other people will share what they have experienced (both good and bad) with planning and going to family reunions and maybe we can all learn how to make them better.  To make them more successful.  To make sure that family reunions are revived and do not become the dinosaurs of our age.  Extinct.  Things of the past.

This is the first post in what I hope will be a successful series.  So until next time...