Tuesday, January 4, 2011

It's a Family Renuion

Every two years the Koonce family hold a family reunion hosted by different individual families. This year it is my mother's family's turn. Of course, I am on the committee and I am very excited about the upcoming event. It is to be held, as is our custom, during the Labor Day weekend. Although I'm excited, I still feel some anxiety and annoyance. I look at envy at those families that are able to attract hundreds of kin to attend their reunions. My family can't seem to get even 100. My grandmother had 11 children. Out of those 11, the family has grown to nearly 100 by itself. Yet, the interest in family has dwindled. My uncle says that we are fragmented and seems to have no optimism about that changing. I don't want to accept that.

I contracted the "genie" bug from an aunt who has since died. Unfortunately, no one else has gotten the addiction. It would make such a difference in my research if I had at least one partner to share it with me. So part of this year I will try harder to infect a few others of my family with my genealogy obsession and figure out how to entice more family members to gather together. (I'm not calling that my resolution but it sure sounds like it.) Any suggestions?


Unknown said...

This is a HARD one. It seems the more the years go on the less interested people/relatives are.

I tried a family reunion in December. I started in August planning this by collecting e-mails and designing an 'invite' asking for opinions on dates, places, etc. No response. My cousins daughter was in on this with me. She'd work on her side of the family and I on mine. Every two weeks reminders went out and finally with the vote of the few who did respond we settled on the restaurant. At Thanksgiving we required a final count - We went from having it in a banquet room to having it at my sisters house. 26 people - almost all 1st cousins, one brother and a sister (one would not come). There were several 'stragglers' of the next generation down (nieces/nephews) but that was it. There was almost NO interest on my (4) cousins kids and their families. One of the daughters of my oldest cousin brought her mom and dad...my oldest cousin has Alzheimers and her husband has Parkinsons.

It was tough...disappointing...but fulfilling. I'm glad we had most of the first cousins together. I saw a niece whom I had not seen in 20+ years. I saw my cousins, I received some great pictures from 2 of my cousins. But the best part was the cousin with Alzheimers who was the life of the party...flirting with the guys, asking me a million times who I was (and others). Her reply after my telling her I was Mary was "oh little Mary Post I remember you."

Would love to hear updates on how yours goes.

Jennifer said...

So the moral is enjoy the family members that actually want to get together. I will take this to heart. Thank you so much for your posting.

Mavis said...

Wish I could offer some advice on this one.

On my maternal side there has been a family reunion for the past 50 years. That sounds great but.... it was my granddad's side of the family that began the reunion back in the early 1960s. Somewhere along the way (1970s), grandmom's side of the family was invited and granddad's side got kicked to the curb and the whole thing is dying a slow death or as my mom would say, it's already dead. (They've been following the same dang format for the past 30+ years)There use to be bus loads of folks coming now it's primarily just the folks from whatever location is hosting it. Some of us have suggested quit having it every year and go to every other year but it always gets nixed on the basis that "someone might die." The other thing that didn't help is one of my Aunt's allientated a lot of the family years ago and it really hasn't been the same since. One more thing that's turning some folks off is the new trend of designating reunion colors and you're supposed to wear those colors to the Saturday night banquet.

About 10 years ago maternal granddad's side got together again but we haven't done anything since. I'm hoping to alleviate that this year but haven't gotten much response back. There is only about 80 miles that separate the bulk of my granddad's line from the bulk of my grand uncle's line and it would only be for a few hours. I know for me, mom, and one of my first cousins it's really important to us to keep in contact with granddad's side which we feel like we've already loss. The last reunion we had was about 10 years ago and considering that there are at least 300+ descendants between granddad and his brother (grand uncle had 18 children), you would think we would have had a big turnout but I doubt there was even 100 people there.

Dad's side is totally different. It's signficantly smaller (<50 of us) than mom's side and scattered from east coast to west coast plus Mexico. We got together back in 2005. One of my younger cousins finally got us back together. There have been attempts since then to get back together but hasn't happened. (Tried to offer a few helpful tidbits for the future based on Mom's side but they were ignored) Personally, on that side my familly, I think we do better just visiting each other but that's just my opinion. There are a few other relatives (second cousins to me) on that side but there has never been any real contact with them, so even if we did something more formal it would still just be my grandparents line in attendance.

Okay, didn't mean to write a book there.

Don't know that there is a moral in there. I enjoy getting together with my family and usually have a great time. With the 2010 one on mom's side, it did seem that there were a lot of younger people there but will we see them this year when it's hosted by the NC family, probably not.

Kristin said...

your best bet might be finding a cousin who will identify themselves and work with you. Keep blogging and they will find you! and,yes, enjoy those who want to get together.

Jennifer said...

Thanks, Mavis. I always enjoy your insight. We've experienced similar things. I'm not very close to the family on my father's side although I keep trying to connect. On my mother's side, it is hit and miss. I sponsored a family reunion for my grandfather's people. Lots showed up and I said "okay, let's keep it going but it's on you." There were no more reunions. But I'm not giving up. Besides enjoying families, the reunions usually reveals information that is helpful in genealogy research.