Organizer Mark Miner sent us a post-party update. Maybe you can steal some inspiration for your own annual gatherings: He’s someone who knows how to put on a reunion. Below, a few takeaways.
- Enlarge your invite list. From his genealogy research and family Web site, Miner estimates 50,000 people were eligible to attend. They didn’t all get engraved invitations, thoughhe used the media to get the word out, and more than 115 cousins traveled to the three-day reunion last June.
- Consider sponsorship. It wouldn’t work for everyone, but this celebration’s reach and the familys roots near Pittsburgh earned it official status as part of that city’s 250th birthday.
- Visit a historical site. Our primary event was in the Sen. John Heinz History Center,” Miner writes. “Guests were treated to remarks by history center CEO Andy Masich and Pittsburgh 250 executive director Bill Flanagan, as well the unveiling of a photo-memorial to cousin Erick Foster, killed serving in Iraq in 2007.
- Incorporate family history. Miner showed a PowerPoint presentation about the familys connections with history (one involves Gen. George Armstrong Custer).
Photo and memorabilia displays included a photograph of Oklahoma pioneers James R. and Lydia (Miner) Brown and letters from a cousin, Corwin D. Tilbury, who served on Pittsburghs city council during the citys 150th birthday in 1908. (Mark put period postcards and photos on a Pittsburgh 150 Web page.)
In the July 2009 Family Tree Magazine (on newsstands May 5) look for tips on using family reunions to (gently) squeeze genealogy information from relatives.
And click Comments below to share your own reunion advice.