Rains reunion this weekend!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Hi neighbors. Writing, genealogy, history, and gabbing with others who share these interests are some of my favorite past times.

I don't know how many members of the Rains family are in this reading area, but there will be the very first Rains Cousins Reunion in Cedar County from 2-4 p.m. this Sunday and you are all invited.

Because of the location, there won't be any food served. We will be at the new home of the Cedar County Historical Society's museum at 106 E. Davis Street in Stockton.

This is a genealogy-based get-together and everyone is encouraged to bring family histories, tales of their ancestors and pictures to share.

The Rains branches involved stem from Jeremiah and Josiah Rains who were twin brothers.

Although I'm not a blood relation to this line, I've got plenty of pieces that fit into the overall puzzle.

We are hoping lots of people will show up and bring their printers, scanners, laptops, tape recorders, video recorders and cameras.

If you've never considered doing something like this to bring all the branches of your extended family tree together; it is an adventure I would strongly encourage you to think about.

Glenda Pate, the director of the Cedar County libraries, with one library building in Stockton and the other one in El Dorado Springs, is the main go-to person behind the Rains reunion.

Some day in the near future, I'd like to have a genealogy reunion with the Nickels/Frieze families. Then there are the Campbell/Randolph families, the Hamby, Haines, Gray, Bray and Wollard families too.

Like all other aspects of genealogy, the lists can become seemingly endless.

As much as I'm looking forward to meeting new "cousins" I am most eagerly anticipating the family stories of "the old times."

How I loved sitting on my grandmother's porch as a child and teen with all the aunts and uncles and fellow cousins listening to the "old timers" tell about their adventures.

If it was a special holiday, there were great-uncles and aunts who would tell stories of another time and place; of life styles we can scarcely imagine these days.

On my grandmother's porch I heard tales of pioneer days, and of all the wars fought by each generation since the Civil War. But the talk wasn't always about wars.

There were stories of babies being born on stormy or snowy mid-nights; of doctors or mid-wives being "sent for" instead of called. It seemed no babies were ever born in my family on sunny afternoons or cool mornings.

There were long tales about favorite horses and hunting dogs and times of floods and dry spells.

Talk eventually got around to pie suppers and other school or church activities the eldest ones there had participated in as children or teens.

The aunts would recall their first "store-bought" dress describing in detail how they saved up money for it, where they bought it, how much it cost, what it looked like, every special occasion when they wore it, and what eventually became of it.

Many times that topic led to one about sewing baby clothes, quilting or making rag rugs.

Some of the best and funniest tales involved courtship and weddings and the "shiv-rees" that followed the newly-married couple into their wedding night or loudly woke them up the next morning.

One thing I noticed about these front porch journals was that sooner or later, every one got around to telling about something they once did, wanted to do, or mastered and gave up.

These were the so-called "day-dream" tales shared toward the end of the family talks. Uncles who always wanted to go to California to see what the gold mines were like, aunts who wanted to sing on the radio, grandmothers who wanted to see the mountains.

They would look wistfully at their hands when telling these secret dreams that they had put aside because there wasn't time in the "real world" to even dream about them, much less fulfill them.

That is what fascinates me so about genealogy and family history. Not only do I want to find out about the world my ancestors lived in and the lives they led, but I'd like to discover the "put-aside dreams" that their lives didn't give them time to achieve.

Until the next time friends remember, try to meet your oldest living relatives, wherever they are, and learn about their parents and grandparents.