The earliest known reunion in this family occurred in
the 1920s in York County, Pennsylvania. This event was documented in a newspaper
article, which listed all of the family members attending. Using this listing, we can determine the
reunion was for descendants of Michael and Sarah Ilgenfritz Stough. We
would assume that at that time, families had close ties to second and third
cousins, which today we might call distant.
As time passed, It appears the larger reunion ended as families had smaller
reunions. These smaller reunions consisted of immediate family members. This occurred within my family, as
the Michael and Louisa Shindler Stough Reunion was born. This reunion began
around the 1950s, and continued in this format until 2000. In the earlier
reunions, there were
100-200 people in attendance. Michael and Louisa had a very large family, 18
children, with 11 living to adulthood. Most of their children also had large
families, so it was easy to have a successful reunion. As time passed, people's lives
became busier, and people lost interest in the reunion. This caused attendance
to drastically decrease.
With the drop in attendance, funding also had dropped. The reunions of the late 1990s had les than 70 people in
attendance, and there was talk of ending the reunion. There appeared to be a lack of interest
and it was difficult to find volunteers to serve as officers. Since I did not
want this event to end, I volunteered to serve as Treasurer for a 2-year term.
It was an easy job, with the only work occurring close to reunion time. As my
term was about over, I was trying to think of ways to make the reunion more
successful. As one of the "primary" historians in the family,
I thought about opening the reunion to ALL descendants of John George Stauch. I
knew it would not be an easy task, but it might work.
At the 2000 reunion, I volunteered to serve as
President of the reunion. It was easy to find a Secretary and Treasurer; I just
talked my wife and sister into it. It was an easy decision to expand the reunion
to keep it alive for future generations. I immediately began to locate descendants and tell them about
the reunion. Most people welcomed my efforts, while others wanted no part of it.
There was a newspaper article in a local newspaper about the expansion of the reunion, which yielded several phone calls.
By mid-2001, we had sent information to over 150 families that were not previously
included in the reunion. We had received many donations that helped with the cost of the reunions expanded format. Invitations were
then sent in August, with "return" postcards included. These postcards
were to be returned so we knew how many people would be in attendance. Out of
more than 275 invitations, we had less than half of the cards returned. While we
expected a better percentage of returns, we had a good idea of how many people to expect.
We knew that the reunion would definitely be a memorable one.