We Are Family! Take Part in the Global Family Reunion

April 7, 2015  - by 

“Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.” —Jane Howard, Families

We are all invited to the Global Family Reunion slated to be held in New York on June 6, 2015. Because not everyone can get to the main event in New York, branch parties are being formed around the world. The Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, is also gearing-up to host a branch party. The Family History Department would like to invite family history centers to open their doors and plan to take part in the Global Family Reunion. If you are a member of the human family, you are invited!

What is it all about? Bestselling author A. J. Jacobs was inspired by a letter from a distant cousin in Israel who told Jacobs that they are 12th cousins. Jacobs began thinking about this idea that we are all cousins and connected by something much bigger than our individual selves. As he worked on his own family tree, he connected with the mega trees on FamilySearch and One World Family Tree. Speaking in his keynote address at RootsTech held in February 2015, he said, “I realized this is the ultimate social network. Instead of one person working on a single tree, you have hundreds creating an interconnected family tree—it’s an Amazonian forest!”

At RootsTech attendees shouted “I am a cousin” to the rest of the world. Jacobs has hopes that as people realize they are related by blood or marriage to millions of cousins around the world, they will have kinder, more caring feelings toward each other.

The Global Family Re

Im a Cousin
union would be a wonderful time to invite families to your local family history center. Perhaps you would like to partner with a local public library or society. You can keep the event low tech, with typical family reunion games, food, and fun. You may wish to add some technology and open up your computers to visitors to see their own place in the FamilySearch Family Tree. You can offer photo and document scanning to participants. If you sign up to host a branch party, your activity will be advertised on the Global Family Reunion web page. Any branch party is invited to participate in the world’s largest family photo in history! You will also have access to live streaming of the events in New York.

For more information see the Global Family Reunion page Hosting a Branch Party sign up and FAQ. People attending in New York will pay a gate fee, and all those proceeds will be donated to fighting Alzheimers. Some branch parties are charging admission fees, but no charge should be expected for an event at a family history center. No donations or any kind of gate fee should be solicited at a family history center.

Go ahead! Make it a date, and invite church and community members to the biggest family reunion in history!


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  1. I keep hearing about food in connection with family history centers but I still have a notice we got for the FHC which says ” No food or drink in the Family History Center”
    As director, I have never been told otherwise. I ask the missionaries not to eat at the computers or in the FHC on their P days while they do their email. So what IS the official word on this anyway? Heather

    1. Heather, call FamilySearch Research Support at 18664061830 to see what the official word is! It may depend on the family history center.

    2. Whenever you wonder about official policy, your best source is the Family History Center Operations guide found at https://www.lds.org/elearning/FHD/Local_Support/FHC/EN/FHCOperationsGuide.pdf

      You will find no mention of food in the guide. Therefore, it would be a local decision to be made in consultation with priesthood leadership.

      That said, you might want to think about the fact that computers and spilled food and drink do not mix well. For that reason, many centers ask that patrons not have food or drink in the center. You can always use another room if you want to provide refreshments for an event while continuing to protect your computer equipment.

  2. This sounds wonderful. I would love for our Center to be involved but the article is dated April 7, 2015 and I received it May 29, 2015 – i couldn’t plan or even get authorization for an event by June 6. What happened? Did I miss an earlier notice?

    1. Hi Mary. These articles get published in the general FamilySearch blog several weeks, it not months ahead of the Directors Newsletter. Publishing for the newsletter has its quirks including long turn around times, which I know are frustrating for you as a reader. I think you could take many of the ideas from the Global Family Reunion and use them for an event at a later date. Thanks for being interested and sending in your feedback.

  3. I agree with Mary, I just saw this article today–a day after the world event! Do you think this will become an annual event around the same date? I would like to plan a virtual family reunion event next year. I’m not a FHC director or anything, just a regular gal who’s interested. Thanks for your help!