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Family keeps history alive
Originally published October 27, 2010

By Meg Tully
News-Post Staff
Photo by Travis Pratt

Betty Davis Jeffers holds a copy of her family tree compiled in 1947.
Betty Davis Jeffers remembers going to family reunions in the 1940s, when she was a girl.

Over the years, the Monrovia resident kept going back to the reunions, and in September attended the 71st Davis family reunion.

It was held at the Pleasant Grove United Methodist Church in Ijamsville, near where some of her ancestors owned farms.

Jeffers thinks pride in the Davis name and its history have kept the tradition going for so long.

"My grandfather and great-grandfather were very prominent farmers in this area," Davis said. "So much so, that their paperwork, things that they used, are in the archives at the manuscript department, University of Maryland archives."

The Davis family traces its roots to Jenkin Davis, who emigrated from Wales to what is now Lancaster County, Pa., sometime around 1700 to 1718. Jenkins Davis is Jeffers' sixth great-grandfather.

His descendants moved to the Frederick area in the 18th century and Jeffers' grandfather, Robert Lee Davis, and father, Robert Leslie Davis, were dairy farmers in the area.

Many of the Jenkins family members belonged to St. Ignatius Catholic Church in Ijamsville, where Jeffers is a parishioner.

"It's just amazing," Jeffers said. "I was talking to somebody at my church. I said, 'I'm related to that guy sitting in the front row,' and she said 'You're related to everyone.'"

At the reunion, families greeted one another, told stories  and caught up.

They also shared a potluck lunch and brought heirlooms and documents to share.

This year, a new branch of the family showed up after having researched their genealogy during the February snow storms.

Jeffers said she enjoyed meeting them and catching up with family members she's known for years.

After lunch, reunion President Kay Davis Whelan asked everyone to introduce themselves and update family records with births, deaths and marriages.

Then, the group elected five officers to help organize the reunion next year.

Family members came from several states with the farthest arriving from Colorado.

The next reunion is scheduled for Sept. 18, 2011, at the same location.