Thursday, August 27, 2009

Under the "Family Reunion" Tent

Originally uploaded by midgefrazel
Carnival of Genealogy, 79th Edition: "Family Reunions"
Update (below)

For the past several years, I have traveled to Connecticut to family "days" for some of the lineage societies that I am life member or a yearly member of, from my maternal New England based families.

This year, I attended the 107th reunion [since 1902] of the Gallup Family Association. Most New England reunions are held locally near to where the immigrant person lived. This year, the reunion was held in the backyard of the "Gallup House" next to the Gallup Cemetery in Ledyard, CT even though there are Gallups everywhere. (Think Gallup poll and Gallup, New Mexico for example)

I was the "newbie" to this reunion so I was given a copy of the current Gallup Genealogy published in 1987 as a prize. The new Gallup genealogy (2 vols.) will be ready in October. I won't be in it as I don't think anyone gave the information for my specific line. They had a printout of the one that went to publication and it was in two huge binders. They announced that it will cost about $100 for life members and be pro-rated for yearly members and non-members. If you are buying one to donate to a library, then anyone may purchase it for donation at the lowest price. Of course, you will have to tell them where you are donating it to (library, historical society, etc.)

Basically, you sit down and make friends and eat a catered New England style lunch. There's a business meeting and sometimes a speaker. You also must stand and introduce yourself, tell where you live and in the case of the Gallup Family Reunion, read off or recite your ancestors from John Gallup down to you. (I had to do it from memory and even I struggled!)

I enjoy seeing multi-generational families at these events. Oftentimes, children and grandchildren "come home" at that specific weekend to visit and attend the reunion. Mostly, however, the people who attend yearly live fairly close by and know each other. Children and grandchildren come from a huge distance and win the prize for the furthest away. One family lived in the South.

I ventured into the woods, on the path, to go to the cemetery. It was an eerie walk and felt like venturing through the woods with Harry Potter at Hogwarts. It is on the land that my ancestors farmed. It is amazing to think that I am walking where they walked every day.

I have been here before but as it is a gated and locked cemetery, it is hard to access. I photographed all of the graves and between Carmen Johnson and myself, we will try to identify who is buried there. Some of the gravestones are hard to read. The sun was bright and it was hot but, I did the best I could.

Rachel Branch, the incoming secretary, read excepts from a family journal and made a display of family photographs. After that, a member's husband took a group photo with his fancy camera.

As it was so hot, people scattered and the whole reunion was only 2 hours. The Mystic, CT area has many attractions and I imagine folks wanted to see them or go home to a cool house.

This reunion will be in this location again next year. I came home and paid my life membership fee. I am looking forward to the new genealogy (which will include the uplines format for easier finding of your direct line ancestors). I have started the process of identifying the photos.

I go yearly to the Denison reunion and hope to make it to the Avery reunion someday!

After posting this here and to the Gallup Message Board, this is what Gallup descendant Judy Armstrong tells about her observation of a past reunion: (used with her permission)

"I was fortunate enough to attend the 100th reunion of the Gallup Family Association held at the same place, i.e., the Gallup estate in Ledyard. It was just wonderful-my favorite part was seeing the children do military drills in costume! They also sang and recited. The walk to the cemetery was very impressive as was the cemetery itself- with our ancestors lying there-some had flags on their plots (Colonels from the Revolutionary War, as I remember). The whole event was a "Life Moment" as I have come to call these wonderful and very outstanding experiences which have occurred in the late years of my life. I encourage all Gallups to attend !"

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