What is a Family Reunion?

A family reunion is an occasion when many members of an extended family get together. Sometimes reunions are held regularly, for example on the same date of every year.  Many social groups, including churches, observe National Family Reunion Month in the month of July.

A typical family reunion will assemble both grandparents, great-grandparents.  The older attendees are generally grandparents, parents, siblings or first cousins while the youngest could be second, third or fourth cousins. It is also not uncommon for regular family reunions to be sponsored by family organizations or family associations centered around a more distant common ancestor (often referred to as “ancestral family organizations”) or a commonly shared surname (“single surname family organizations”).

Traditional family reunion activities include an afternoon luncheon or early evening dinner and program featuring music, song, poetry reading, history recitals, honorary recognition of elders, community contributions and educational achievements. Some reunions include historic skits where members reenact pivotal points in a family’s history. Participants are introduced to the art of developing a timeline as well as period research with a focus on costume design, customs, dialogue and social, economic and technological developments. Story telling is another component that brings to life tales of ancestors and their accomplishments. Along with stories of legends of the past, life lessons are taught. The meaning behind family traditions are shared while relaying important family history factoids and the ties that bind. Genealogy tours take the family on an exciting tour of important genealogical hot spots including the family homestead, the towns in which the family settled, the jobs they held, machines they worked, markets they traded and streets they walked as well as social activities they immersed themselves into. Genealogy presentations highlight historic documents and vintage artifacts that identify timelines, economic status, historic events and locations of ancestors.


Family Reunions are growing in increasing popularity with the focus on renewing and strengthening family ties and bonds. In fact, cities across the country, like Philadelphia, have specific governmental offices that work in conjunction with its Chamber of Commerce to help families plan their reunions. A designated staff member with the Philadelphia Multicultural Affairs Congress assists families in planning their reunions for free; offer sample weekend itineraries and family reunion checklists; suggest free time activities and venues; locates bids on hotel; and offers various items that support the reunion from planning stages to the actual event.  Check with the city where you’re planning your reunion.