October is and has been named Family History month by Congress for several years now. In keeping with that, I would like to tell you about a reunion that I went to in August.
Sometime earlier this year I had received a note in the form of a flyer from a Grant clan member I knew. This was an announcement of the 106th Annual Grant Family Reunion. Actually, it is a reunion of descendants of Peter Grant who was the immigrant ancestor.
Peter, did not emigrate as most of our ancestors did. He was shipped over with about 150 other Scots who were captured my Oliver Cromwell's men in September of 1700. Most of these men were indentured to Saugus Ironworks in what was then part of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
I have been to several of these and find them most interesting. This is always held in Maine and since the state is so large, there are actually two reunions. One is for those living in the northern part of the state and one for those living in the southern part. I have never asked but I assume that if one wants to attend the "northern one" they may and likewise for the "southern one." Since I have only been to the "southern one that is where I have gathered my information.
I have been searching many years for documentation or a way to find my way to Scotland. I feel that this descendents group has been doing the same thing for all the years that they have been meeting as well as keeping the old family plots clean and the stones repaired or new ones marking the old graves.
We gather between 10:00 and 11:00 the morning of the appointed day. We all bring a dish to share and there is always sweet corn provided as it is pretty much harvest time for that delicious food.
I have found several who grew up in an area that I am searching. One of these people told me to send him my information and he would see what he could find. My roadblock is not my line to Peter. That is solid. I have been trying to find the parents a Grant who was my husband's great great grandmother. I have a feeling that we have another line of relationship through her. The time I am talking about is before the census listed family members other than heads of households.
Then comes lunch! What a variety of dishes! Everything looks so good and is. I am tempted to over-eat. There is still much talk during lunch. After lunch, though there is a brief business meeting and then introductions. We go around the room with people introducing themselves. This year I met in person someone I had met via e-mails and who I had tried to see all of eight or nine years ago. This contact had been about our research on Peter.
TThis group has a DNA project going so that at some future date we may be able to go across the "pond" and find our family over there. It is a Y chromosome search so that leaves me out but my documentation down to Peter is certain while others have marriages that they cannot prove. If I were not sure of my documentation, I would try to get my brother or his son to give the DNA sample.
About three o'clock people start saying goodbyes and, "yes I'll be back next year." I had ridden part way with a distant "cousin" whom I have known for sometime. On our way there, I had been talking of this great great grandmother, as there was another person from that area in the car. On the way back, we came to a traffic light and had to stop for the light to change. Instead of turning left, as he normally would, the driver turned right with the announcement that we were going to make a short detour. He and the other cousin had been talking about a cemetery up on a hill and she was going to go there with another of the people from the meeting. Lysle wanted to show her where the access of this was located. After showing her that, we went a little further and stopped. There was a cart track leading up the hill and they said there was a Grant cemetery up there. We were also parked in front of one...the people on the top of the hill were descendants of those in this little plot. I recognized some of the names as those I had seen elsewhere.
However, there was something else there for me to see. We had been talking about a certain neighborhood and the one-room schoolhouse that had been there. Here where we had parked was a huge boulder with a bronze plaque on it. It was marking the site (about 100 feet away) of the Joy schoolhouse that had been built in 1837 and was in existence until 1906 when it burned and the children from there went to other schools.
Family reunions are fun even if they are made up of mainly distant relatives. I think my grandmother had been to one of these Grant reunions years ago...perhaps as they were just getting started. As a child, I never asked the tight questions so missed out on much information. If you have a chance to go to one for your family, I urge you to go. So many people have a great amount of knowledge that I am sure you will learn something there as well as make new friendships.