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Family-Reunion.com Newsletter
by Mister Spiffy

Copyright © 1999-2004 RootsMagic, Inc.
All rights reserved

June 2004

I bet you all were wondering where Mister Spiffy’s newsletter of reunion ideas had gone.  Have no fear, it was just a brief (2 year) absence.  Mister Spiffy had some big commitments that pulled him away from this newsletter, but now he has some help to make sure this doesn’t happen again.  Look for this newsletter and Family-Reunion.com to both get better than ever (and *still* remain FREE).

But even while we were away, we continued to receive great ideas from our faithful readers, and we really love and appreciate the ideas you have shared with us.  We are going to jump right back into it with a bunch of great suggestions to help you make this year’s reunion the best ever.

And as always, if you have a reunion idea you would like to share with our readers, visit us at:


and let us know.

Kid’s Kash (submitted by C.M.)
For our family reunion we had "Kid's Kash" printed in $1, $5, and $10's. Upon arrival each child 15 years and under received $5. They were able to earn more Kash by participating in activities which help them get to know the other kids. I also asked them questions about the family throughout the day which earned more Kash. At the end of the day we held a Kid's Auction with items each family donated. Some were new and some were recycled from items their child had outgrown. This was the highlight of the day for the kids.

Musical Clothes
We put together 2 bags of clothes, women's lingerie, men’s underwear, gloves, hats, anything.  Then we asked everyone to get into a circle and we played music and passed the bags going in different directions, when the music stopped whoever was holding the bag had to reach in and pull out a piece of clothing and put it on.  This went on until the bags were empty.  Then we took photos of the hilarious people in their clothes.  Everyone enjoyed this.

Your Family Tree
If you have a genealogy software program capable of automatically printing large wall charts of your family (descendants of the main person), print a large chart of your family to hang up at the reunion.

 You can keep the chart simple, and have a marker available for corrections and updates to the chart for next year’s reunion (you know, marriages, babies and all).

 A great program for creating wall charts that you can customize is called RootsMagic.  You can find more information about RootsMagic at:


 Disclaimer: This is the big commitment that kept Mister Spiffy from doing this newsletter the last couple of years <g>.

Reunion Theme “Honor Our Family Soldiers” (Submitted by Jim M.)
I really enjoy reading your newsletters and have learned a lot from the ideas and suggestions that were provided by your readers. With that in mind I would like to share with your readers our reunion theme. I have chaired our reunion for the last four years and we have some type of theme every year. Last year we announced at the reunion that we would like to honor our family soldiers at this years reunion. To accomplish this I started by asking family members to search for photos of our family soldiers in their military uniform. This family reunion includes the descendants of my grandparents. My grandparents currently have 104 descendants, 92 of which are living. In this family there were 28 soldiers which also included in-laws that had married descendants of our grandparents. It was a big effort to collect the pictures in uniform. I collected pictures of 25 of the 28 family soldiers and all but three were in their uniform. Some family members sent me more than one picture and I used them all. The oldest picture was my grandfather in his Spanish-American War uniform taken in 1898.

 This theme turned out to be a big task but it was worth the effort. Once I received the pictures I scanned them so that I could print them the same size for framing and placing in the table display. Some of the pictures had to be refurbished and this was time consuming. I purchased 5 x 7 frames from the local Dollar Store for the photo display. I started collecting these photos about ten months before the reunion. The last one collected was thirty days before the reunion. When all the photos were collected, scanned and framed we had about 35 pictures. When I received a photo I immediately processed it, as I did not want to wait to start. I did not know how many pictures I would receive or when I would receive them!

 We enhanced the display by placing small American and military flags on the tables along with war posters from all the wars. The 5x7 posters were printed from the Internet and interspersed with the photos on the display table. The display tables was also decorated with red, white and blue tablecloths. I also collected large military posters from the local Army, Navy, Marine and Air Force recruiting offices. We decorated the walls with about 20 of these posters. Attendees took the entire set of posters home. We additionally enhanced the theme by selling T-shirts and Caps with Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force emblems. These were purchased at a local Flea Market and sold as a fund-raiser. They were all sold as descendants wanted to wear a shirt or cap representing the branch of service that their parent or relative served in.

 During the program I read the names of all the soldiers, their branch of military, medals, awards, where they served and any other information that we collected. Soldiers in attendance were introduced and recognized as well. We also presented a short history of our family soldier’s back to the American Revolutionary War. Most of this information was collected from family member’s genealogy records, military records on the Internet and the public library. I also found military history information at local War Museums.

 The photo display of our family soldiers was very impressive. The attendees really enjoyed seeing pictures of these soldiers, especially at an early age when they served in the military.  Our theme to honor our family soldiers was well received and judging from the comments of attendees it was a rewarding family history learning experience.  Too often our soldiers are not recognized for the their sacrifices and contributions to the freedom of our country. Since the reunion I have taken the entire set of military photos and placed them in a photo album that will be displayed at all subsequent reunions. Attendees that did not have the opportunity to see the pictures of our family soldiers may do so at future reunions. And, most importantly we “Will always remember them”.  

Reunion Games (submitted by BLPKY)
Our Jones Family Reunion has always been a (1) show up, (2) eat, (3) leave, type reunion.  That is until last year when I took over.  We played three games that not only kept the men off the horseshoe pit, the teens off the volleyball net, and the kids off the swings, but it kept those people that tend to 'eat and run' around until the end of the day.

First, we always have the reunion on Labor Day Weekend.  That gives everyone time to travel to and from without having to miss work (so much for that excuse).  But it was the games that kept everyone around.  First we had a reunion trivia game.  I asked questions about the family that people could talk over and answer, like "name as many kids under the age of 12 here today." Or "name as many home states represented here as you can."  Or "name the kids in college".  "Or name all the Grandmas here."  At the beginning of the reunion, I encouraged everyone to learn as much about everyone else at the reunion as they could.  But I didn't tell them why.  This made for great early conversation between the families and lots of fun interaction during the game.

Then we had a homemade crafts auction to raise money for the next reunion.  My mother (whom I'm very proud of) made most of the crafts.  (Where do you think I got MY talent?)  But once everyone got the idea, many people promised to bring their own crafts for the auction this year.  (By the way, we netted more than $200 towards this year's reunion.)

Last - but certainly NOT the least - we had our own 'FAMILY FEUD'.  (I was Mrs. Richard Dawson) I watched hours and hours of the TV game show and wrote down the questions I liked best, then made up a bunch more of my own.  I even made sure to have questions geared toward the younger children (cartoons, animals, Disney, today's teen idols) in order that no one would have to be left out.  Each team had to introduce themselves and tell something about themselves, just like the game show.  We had four team originally, and then challenged the two winning teams.  Believe it or not, the team that won was a family that was usually the FIRST TO LEAVE and seldom ever spoke to anyone else not sitting at their table.

We laughed until we cried, and everyone had such a wonderful time, several people have requested I bring the game back again this year.  However, now I've been getting requests for teams to CHALLENGE last year's teams.

But the best part of all is that nearly everyone I've spoken to since the reunion says that they're planning on bringing more family members this year.  And I do believe we'll be seeing some people who have never come before.

Word spreads fast when you're having fun.  It can only get bigger and better.

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