View Full Version : Family Reunion: Who's been to one?

03-10-2010, 04:30 AM
I don't mean the usual get-togethers people have when they see the relatives they already know, I mean the ones where they meet relatives they've never met, or don't know all that well, and might even travel to see. I plan to go to one this August with my dad. It'll be in Tennessee, near Mississippi (or is it, in Mississippi and near Tennessee?).

Dad says we'll leave on the 5th, and leave for home on the 8th. He plans to buy plane tickets so we can just fly and get there in a much shorter time than driving. The last time I attended a real family reunion was years ago, when I was around 10. I don't remember much about that one, except there was a big fake cake covered in real frosting, and it had the family names on it and a picture of an old couple (my ancestors, I think).

I'm excited, since I'll get to learn more about my family and know who more of my people are (at least on my dad's side). I plan to take along my digital camera and video recorder, and my phone (so I can call my aunt and check on my dog, since she'll be staying with my aunt while I'm gone). Dad says the last time I met them was when I was 4, but I don't remember, so it'll be new to me. But I'm also nervous. I don't know what to expect. Part of me thinks I'll go and have a great time, and another part of me thinks I'll go and end up miserable while I'm there.

03-10-2010, 04:35 AM
My dad's family has one every year in August, and the women and girls have an annual tea party in May. I wish the tea parties had started when I was younger because I needed to connect with my dad's sisters. They were strong women.

03-10-2010, 09:28 AM
My Mom's side never had any.

I went to a few on my Dad's side. They were fun when I was young and then I went to two as an adult and vowed to never go to another.

03-10-2010, 09:39 AM
I've been to various reunions for three parts of my kin, through the years. I don't mingle very well nor cultivate much camaraderie therein, but it is a pleasure to indulge. I encourage anyone with family to try their best to enjoy such events. Networking is something I wish I could do with them, but my family is still trying to escape the abyss. We keep things simple and with thanks for the lives we still have to lead.

03-10-2010, 02:23 PM
Both sides have annual reunions. However my dad never attended... I see why :-|. Occasionally i'll attend the maternal... if the weather isn't scorching. My family is huge, so just a visit is like a reunion.

03-10-2010, 09:35 PM
My father's family has them on average every 2 years. We have one this summer. It's going to be really nice. My father is one of the hosts and they are going all out for it.

03-10-2010, 09:38 PM
My mother's family has one every summer. Usually in the town she grew up in. This year we're going on a cruise. Should be fun.

03-11-2010, 01:56 PM
I attend two family reunions every year. My mother's family reunion is at the end of June. Normally held either in MD or DE. And my father's family reunion is the 1st weekend in August. It is held in different states; depending on who is hosting the event.

03-11-2010, 05:02 PM
There was a time where we had one each year but the big one on my dad's side anyway is every two years. We have a set sched so to speak. The city changes every two years for example in 2000 it may have been dc and in 2002 it then would have gone to Ohio, like that. Ours isnt the hey lets meet in so and so back yard. The host city is pass the torch at banquet of the prev reunion. They then plan the next reunion. Info is sent out months in advance and money is due at set times. The info ususally contains the cost of the hotel rooms, picnic or outing info,t shirt cost and banquet info.
The reunion is always in the summer usually in July and is always fri-sunday with a church service usually that sunday.

03-11-2010, 05:08 PM
I've been to all of my family reunions on both sides. I feel like an outcast on both sides of the family, even after the fact that both my father and mother are the popular ones at their family reunions.

We had one last year in Orlando. There's going to be another one in Kansas this year; I probably won't be going this time around. I've been to every single one previously. I saw relatives I know, have seen at previous family reunions and still don't know, and often run into relatives I've never seen before and will probably never get to know.

I only had someone reach out to me one time, and she wasn't even a family member. She was my cousin's girlfriend. She was nice.

I know, it's sad. I'm a very quiet, lonely person. No point in forcing myself to fit in; I always ended up feeling stupid and or bad whenever I did anyway.

03-11-2010, 05:27 PM
My mom's side has a annual reunion but it's the same thing every year. At first I would meet people for the first time, but as time has passed only the same people show every year and most people stick to the people they already know. I haven't gone to one since the one before my mom passed on 2006. She made it her mission to have all her kids and grandkids show as if she knew it was going to be her last time attending. I actually had a good time like when I was younger back in the day.

My dad's family had one about 2 1/2 years ago and I saw a lot of people I hadn't seen in a long time and quite a few for the first time. I had a blast there as well. The reunion was in my hometown on the old homestead that my great-grandparents settled when they first came to Texas in 1912. If any of you don't know anything about small towns, all you have to say is "we having a..." and all your in town friends, your cousins' friends, friends of the family, and friends of friends will show. (I've been know to crash a couple reunions myself so I'm not complaining:p) So we had a blast with our cousins and friends and everybody acting like we've been kicking it for years. The plan was to have a reunion every two years but I don't know what happened this past year. I know that some of the main planners experienced some set backs and illness so I guess no one thought to pick it up for them.

03-14-2010, 06:05 PM
We have a reunion every two years. I have two this year, my dad's father's side is in Louisiana and I recently started to go to this one and getting to know this side of the family. We also have one here in Houston and this is my dad's mother's family. We are currently working on the final arrangements since we are the host city.

We are working on the welcome packages. Does anyone have any ideas on what we could put in the welcome packages? Want to do something different.

03-16-2010, 04:03 PM
We have a reunion every two years. I have two this year, my dad's father's side is in Louisiana and I recently started to go to this one and getting to know this side of the family. We also have one here in Houston and this is my dad's mother's family. We are currently working on the final arrangements since we are the host city.

We are working on the welcome packages. Does anyone have any ideas on what we could put in the welcome packages? Want to do something different.

Yeah, i know we usually will get a declaration from like the mayor or some public official recognizing our reunion but that more so goes on the banquet program. Mmmm oh we usually go to the visitor place that every town has and get different pamphlets about poplar attractions and things to see in host city. We also get little things like fans, key chains, cups and stuff like that from famous local business.

For example when we had the reunion in ATL since the peanut is a state crap we had ga peanuts in the bag, we info on underground, discounts fro Six flags, pins from the ga visitors bureau, little things from the world of coke, stuff like that.

We also had separate bags for the kids that had a ga coloring book, and little games, candy and stuff.

But you should really be able to get everything you need for the bags including the bags themselves for free. Start with the vistors people in the town first.


03-17-2010, 07:55 PM
Thanks for the suggestions!

03-17-2010, 08:03 PM
Every time my mom's side of the family get's together (usually at funerals these days) I see new faces I didn't know. The last time I came across a set of creole speaking brothers and learned that there have been Chinese people living in Haiti for generations.

03-22-2010, 04:34 PM
Every time my mom's side of the family get's together (usually at funerals these days) I see new faces I didn't know. The last time I came across a set of creole speaking brothers and learned that there have been Chinese people living in Haiti for generations.

I did not know that. Wow.:)

I was shocked when I learned that there are Chinese people in Jamaica, too.

03-23-2010, 04:25 PM
My mother's side of the family has been getting together annually for reunions for at least 48 years now. When my great-grandmother was nearing the end of her life, we met every year in Va since it was not easy for her to travel. Since her death, someone different hosts it in their city every year.

Some come faithfully, some come and go and some have just gone MIA. Some painful family secrets of the past are the reason for some of this and I'm not sure how to reach out to the fold and grab these back in.

The Baltimore crew is hosting in Columbia Maryland this year and our agenda includes a family picnic with steamed crabs, an evening get together with card playing, board games and catching up at a cousin's house and a family redition of 'The Wiz".

Each host gets starter funds to secure deposits and arrange for hotel arrangements and we set family dues to help with costs.

Many cousins have joined Facebook so that's a cool way to keep in touch until we see everyone in the flesh come Aug. 2010.

Different topic re: Chinese in Jamaica: My college roomate's father is Jamaican who is half Chinese. That's when I first realized that there was a Chinese population down there. ;)

08-21-2010, 09:37 PM
My father's family had one some years ago...my mother's side haven't had an official one, since my mother is the only one in California. I know 'more' about my mother's family and am closer to her side...could it be because she is the oldest and it's five sisters!? *smile*
I met my Daddy's people and for the most part 'got a clue'! lol there are definite Gorden traits! lol lol
I think we will be having one officially on my Mother's side since most of the Cali folks ( my sisters and brothers) have moved back to Tennessee/Mississppi...Roots!!! lol
I like them..but you should be prepared for stuff you didnt know and may not have wanted to know!

09-21-2010, 07:52 PM
Went to my family reunion for the Labor Day weekend and it lasted for five days! It was fantastic. It was held in Southern Maryland at my cousin's home and we do a campout/cookout reunion where everyone pitches a tent on the property and we enjoy family, food, and friends. First year there were about 18 tents and this year we increased to about 25 (with many people upgrading tents this year to include showers, ac for the hot weather, and heaters for the cool nights. Looking forward to next year!

for pics (Bourne-Jackson-Barnes-Rice Campout/Cookout Reunion on Facebook)

09-21-2010, 08:33 PM
My family just had one, over Labor Day weekend. It was for my mom's dad's family & it was the first one they'd ever had. I met a whole bunch of family that I had never met before, which was nice. Overall it was an enjoyable weekend & we had a great time.

One nice thing that they had were these charts to show how everyone was related.

09-21-2010, 09:08 PM
I went to only two family reunions as a young adult: one on my mom's side and the other on my dad's side. Never again. To this day, I see why neither one of my parents talk to their own family. The family (and the parents themselves) are interestingly nutty.

09-22-2010, 03:31 PM
I feel you Intellexual. My family could have been the next Johnson& Johnson or the Hilton's if we learned how to stick together, trust one another, stop being in competition, lend a helping hand...the list goes on. I actually stopped going to my family reunion (mother's side) which is held every 3rd Sunday in August. The gatherings started to turn in to what she 'aint got, my son is better than yours, I can't believe ya'll still together, and so on...

However, I have never been to the all weekend family reunion in South Carolina (dad side). My younger sisters have been and they said they had a good time but if I ask them if they have any numbers of kin folk, they wouldn't be able to tell me.

Family 'aint what it used to be.

10-15-2010, 07:37 AM
My mom side of the family have one every other year. I love them, its fun and they are awesome people. In chicago around 2004, over 500 relatives showed up and it was awesome. We always have fun. We rented a bus one year that took the northeast part of the family to East St. Louis and we had a good time. Always

My Dad side, I went once and never ever ever been back. They have balls that cost 200.00 just for the ticket. Oh and you need a gown so don't forget the gown. To register it's 125.00 for adults, just so you can go. Huh??? No

03-18-2011, 05:56 AM
never anything legit, cause my family likes to keep close, either by visits or by phone. even w/ extended family. unless you consider things like meeting up for thanksgiving and Christmas "reunions"

03-18-2011, 02:19 PM
My mom's side has one every year in VA, since I have never really lived there I don't know alot of the distant relatives. For a good period of time growing up, my mom would go by herself simply because its cheaper than buying plane tickets for 5 people. However, when we did go everybody knew us (even though we couldn't remember alot of them) my family is very inviting so it was fun getting to know people. I think I have been to 2 more since then. Always hot, tons of seafood and barbeque, and food in general. Tons of games and TONS of people. But its always fun and makes for great stories :D

Napia Mia
03-18-2011, 07:43 PM
Never knew my "father." But my mother's side has annual reunions. They can be rather interesting but very clannish just because of how they're structured. We trace of family back to Henry and Mary Shaw. Mary Howard, according to family history was half white having been fathered by the master's family and was a house slave who jumped the broom into wedded bliss with Henry while still a slave.

If I recall correctly, they raised 14 kids something like seven actually had children. Some were born before the civil war and some were born after the civil war. A few were not her biological children but belonged to her sister who died during child birth. After the war, they migrated from Tennesee into the Topeka, Kansas/KC Kansas area and from there all over the country.

Seven of the these children actually had children and it's through these seven that we trace our lineage back to Henry and Mary Shaw.

Each of the seven represent a clan. I'm a decendent of the Tennie Shaw clan. My mom was never raised by her mother and was passed around from one relative to the next. One of the women that raised her for awhile was Tennie Shaw. Since all the other kids called her Aunt Tennie, that's what she called her too.

It wasn't until my mother was in her 60s that she found out that "Aunt" Tennie was actually her grandmother. I find this incredibly fascinating.

Anyhoo, my mom was eventually adopted outside of the family.

She also was united with her biological mother around this time too. That's when we became acquainted with her half sister, and her three boys — my first cousins. We knew about them, but they didn't know about us. Secrets...secrets I'll tell ya.

This is also when the rest of the Shaw decendants set their sights on finding the lost "Tennie" Shaw clan. Apparently they'd been holding reunions without us for about six years or so.

They found us and we've been attending the Henry and Mary Shaw reunions ever since.

My mom loves them. I think it's because she was adopted out of the family and never really felt she "belonged" anywhere. Me? I can take them or leave them. Mostly because they're cliquish and people mostly congregate within their own clans. Our immediate family is small and unless the reunions are held in our hometown, most of my family members don't attend and I can feel really left out. No fun. Also, I don't really care for my brothers all that much it that makes it hard to have fun as well. Somebody always gotta be evil and difficult so screw it.

I sometimes travel with my mom out of town to reunions but don't really get a big kick out of it.

However, they can be quite an event when they're done right. Meet and greet the first evening. City tours and other events on Saturday. Picnic and banquet on Sunday evening for those that can stay.

If my first cousins would show up, I think I'd have a better time. But they never come either.

03-19-2011, 05:51 AM
I attended a family reunion for my maternal grandmother's extended extended family when I was a kid and don't remember much about it. I didn't know them at all and was too young to really interact with anyone.

I am currently planning the first family reunion for my maternal grandmother's immediate family and have invited people going back several generations. It is in July and everyone is excited about it. I just want it to go smoothly. I know as the coordinator that I won't have much time to get to know people, but I just want my grandmother to enjoy herself. 3 days should be a good chunk of time for people to get to know one another.

03-25-2011, 02:52 AM
I guess now my mom's side is supposed to be having one next year or something.

03-22-2012, 04:19 AM

04-18-2012, 03:04 PM
Maternal Reunion - 1989

Paternal Reunion - 1998

In need of one for both sides soon!