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Mark Angelo Askew is the author of "Fimark's Family Reunion Planner Guide Workbook and Keepsake" and the founder and director of the Family Reunion Planning Group that established November as Annual Family Reunion Planning Month.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Family Reunion Invitation Goes To 77 Million Relatives

I was amazed when I stumbled upon this story about a man embarking on a family reunion involving over 77 million relatives. How will he pull this off? Where will they meet? I admit, there is a belief in my circle of colleagues that one day we will all have enough information about our family lineage to know concisely how we are all related. A world chronological family tree, if you will, connecting us all both by blood line and the logs of history.

Today the closest thing we have to a world history and chronological log is the compilation of books we call the Holy Bible. It takes a few weeks to read the entire Bible, But it would take a lifetime to read and study the whole compilation of the book of man. How would one begin? The fact is we already have begun, just read the Bible and you will see an ancient family tree masterpiece of considerable proportions. But many have tried to take that chronology to the next level in an effort to unite the world of today. How so?

Enter and MyHeritage. These genealogy tracking tools and family tree builders have made significant strides towards establishing wide ancestral connections. Interestingly these connections involve thousands of genealogy researchers formed over a relatively short period of time.

These applications create family trees with roots and branches extending to other family trees ultimately connecting scores of family groups together thus proving that we are all connected to a diverse and densely populated stream of cousins, nieces and nephews leading to oceans of races, cultures and beliefs. Amazed?

Consider A.J. Jacobs, satirical author of a number of books regarding his laughable self-exploration fails and successes. Jacobs took on the study of family lineage in order to rediscover and define himself in this complex world of cultural diversity. What did he find? Jacobs, a man of Jewish decent made genealogy connects to thousands of non-jewish relatives from Gwyneth Paltrow to Barak Obama and beyond. Who would think? As a matter of fact, by the time his research was done, he found that he was related to some 77 million people around the globe. He's already sent out invitations to a 2015 family reunion. A record family affair if he pulls it off. His basis; To promote human kindness.

Unveiling a common kindred cord beyond racial and cultural barriers to make people stop and reason on the value of human kindness is a noble endeavor indeed. Proof of the words I often heard spoken over satellite radio by Maya Angelou herself, "We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike."

Still, is blood line all that is needed to appeal to our humanity and unite this diverse world or is there some deeper core in our being that needs to be tapped, a spiritual commonality perhaps? That said, there are those who consider themselves related simply on the basis of a shared hope and set of basic principles they personally choose to live by. "Love conquers all." "Be peaceable with all men." "Do to others as you would have them do to you." "Freely forgive." Certainly nothing complicated in this set of principles. And what wonders they work out in our relationship with others both in the home and those we interact with in everyday life. Once the ultimate set of principles is found and lived by, we will not hesitate to admit that we are all related in every possible way.

Congratulations Jacobs on embarking upon a worldwide family reunion event. Suffice it to say the world is watching to see how this project will unfold. While our approach to uniting a diverse world may be very different, we may share a similar sentiment. "Peace to all men of goodwill."

Planning a family reunion? Looking for event planning ideas, inspiration, genealogy worksheets and event planning apps? Make good use of the reunion planning tools featured on this blogs profile links.

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