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Shaking Your Family Tree!

Rallying All of Your Kin for Big Family Reunion

July 08, 1988|MYRA VANDERPOOL GORMLEY

Family reunions are enjoying a big surge in popularity these days.

To make your family reunion successful try to find a place that is picturesque and centrally located for most relatives. Find accommodations with prices that are within the reach of the majority. State parks are an excellent spot, but you should also consider vacant junior colleges, universities or private camps that are available, especially in the off-season.

For the genealogist, family reunions can be the highlight of the year--a time to show-and-tell about the progress of your research on the family tree. You can also help family members determine whether they are second cousins or third cousins once removed.

The genealogist should bring charts to show all the family lines and family group sheets to be updated with names and information about new members added to the family through birth or marriage. Ask everyone to bring old family pictures.

A favorite feature of many family reunions is "liar's night," where everyone tells wild stories and anecdotes handed down in the family. If there are some good storytellers in your group, let them have the stage to tell about the "good old days."

Music should be a part of your family reunion. Almost every family has someone who can sing or play a musical instrument. Discover your talented family members and ask them to bring guitars or other instruments, and it helps to provide copies of the words to songs for sing-along sessions.

Spouses can form a panel to tell about their initiation into the family, or each couple might tell about its courtship and wedding. Veterans in the family might relate their war stories, and be sure to ask the famous cooks in your family to share their favorite recipes.

A worship service with family members leading the singing of favorite religious songs and reading the Scriptures can be a special part of your reunion.

Name tags are a must for large reunions. You may want to include a "How I Got My Name" session during which family members relate how their parents picked their names or stories about ancestors for whom they were named.

To keep expenses to a minimum, pass the hat for the miscellaneous expenses of an early-morning coffee pot or for a wiener-and-marshmallow roast. Assign family members to bring sports equipment you need, such as softball, volleyball or horseshoes. Include some appropriate toys and coloring books for the little ones.

Be sure you have someone designated as the official photographer and have everyone donate a few dollars to pay for the film, developing and mailing.

Once your 1988 family reunion is over, start planning the next one. Computers make reunions easier with their capabilities to provide addresses and phone numbers.

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