Saturday, 19 September 2015

Family Associations

I am working on a project to identify and add Family Associations on a FamilySearch Wiki page Click here to view.  It would be awesome if it was found and added to by those organizations/associations that would like to find new members.  
The reason for the project is to support and encourage families to continue with their associations and organization.  
I have been saddened to find many associations struggling or not active any longer.  I would have to say though, I have also been a bit surprised that with the resurgence of interest in family history and family trees, that the associations have not been revitalized.  
The existence of family associations serve to bond families and assist, as well as facilitate collaboration of researching surnames. Sometimes a family will drift apart because of family disagreements, sometimes it was distances, and other times it was disinterest in making the effort on the part of one generation. Then a new generation will pop up that begins to wonder about their ancestors and who their family was or if anyone knew stories or had pictures of them.  
I had this experience.  My father's generation seemed to have the attitude, "let the dead bury the dead"... just take care of the living.  That translated into, I don't share stories about my life nor did I know anything about my grandparents, no one talked about them. 
One day, I decided I had enough, I needed to know about the family and better yet if there were any still living I needed to know them.  At the same time a cousin called and said we haven't seen each other in 30 years we need to visit.  Well... that was an invitation I was looking for.  We collaborated on research some, but it was another ten years before we were able to start reaching out to others.  I will say Facebook has been very helpful in the development of a loosely formed family group.  We formed a Family Group labeled the ancestor's name and emphasized we were searching for descendants. While we have not been able to make it to a formal organization yet, we have found and pulled three generations of descendants from all six of the children of my great grandfather and five of the eight children of my grandparents.
Benedict and Sarah Jane Hankins Langley family portrait.
The young adults are hungry for the information, but don't seem to be either willing or comfortable sharing their questions or memories.  They want to sit back and watch, in our case that semi works because the rift in the family left a void, and just developing personal relationships and a sense of family seem to be the order of the day.  My cousin and I are hoping to develop something that will last after we are gone.  Which takes me back to my project...

The early developers of  many Associations had hoped they were building a lasting organization, only to find there weren't any young adults willing to spend the extra time in making the organizations last and the older ones were not able to travel to reunions or meetings to continue to work together.  I know of a few that are struggling to continue but have and air of quiet desperation.
When I come across a healthy Family Association I want to cheer and do a happy dance.  It always feels like the family had over come that pain and challenge of when the pioneers had moved away to come back together, and there is a mother in heaven doing a happy dance.  
I have up to this point worked on mostly United States organizations, but I am now trying to identify international and foreign association / organizations, because the possibilities of families reuniting and learning as well as bonding are great.
If you know of an association and it is not on the pages, it is a wiki, you can add to it.  
'Til next month... Did your family have a reunion,or at least a get together?  Know of any associations... can always use help. 


  1. This is very interesting. I have toyed with starting an association, but my health has made it seem illogical. I do admin four family groups on facebook also, in hopes of bringing family together just as you have mentioned here! I am part of a couple professional family associations, and will check to see if they are on your list! thanks for this! Helen


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