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Family Reunion Forum

Reunion Idea - Family Clubs

When I discovered that my great grandfather was related to a family known as "The Beckley Five", it did not take long at all to come into contact with their descendants. I soon learned that they were a family who was keenly interested and proud of their history. They've been coming together in reunions every year since 1957. I've been told that they have had up to 1,000 participants at the family reunions, especially during the 80's and 90's.

They are a huge, organized family, being the descendants of five brothers who lived near each other and whose families were close. But, one of the things that really impressed me was their organization. They've established Beckley Family Clubs in a number of the major cities, i.e. The Milwaukee Beckley Club, The Atlanta Beckley Club, The Mississippi Beckley Club, The Chicago Beckley Club, etc. etc. Each club comprises of family members in that city.

At every reunion, clubs actually compete to be the next family reunion host or host one of the future reunions. They know in advance of the places their next 3 reunions will be held, with a particular club being the planners or host of it. They even have their own ceremonial club march.

Also, the Family Clubs in the various cities gives the family members in that city an opportunity to come together, getting to know each other by doing several projects (fundraisers, etc.). They also have an honorary official in the family who is known as the "Grand Matriarch". This is typically an older or elderly person who has a lot of family knowledge. When I came into contact with my first Beckley, she immediately urged me to talk to the Grand Matriarch of the family. I gave her a call, awkwardly explaining to her that I had stumbled on a blood connection to her people, and how her people and my great grandfather were separated during slavery, never to see each other again. She was very open and immediately embraced me, especially after my sharing certain details that explained some things that they'd always questioned. That particular "Grand Matriarch" died a year later and a new one was appointed.

Just wanted to share these ideas with other reunion planners and participants.


Messages In This Thread

Reunion Idea - Family Clubs
Re: Reunion Idea - Family Clubs

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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