Members and Friends Invited to Take Part in Global Family Reunion

  • 20 May 2015

Larry Beardall and Laurie Beardall hold up “I am a cousin” signs during A. J. Jacobs's keynote speech at RootsTech  February 14, 2015. The idea for a global family reunion came as Jacobs realized that we are all cousins and connected by something much bigger than our individual selves.  Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.

Church members and friends worldwide are invited to participate in the Global Family Reunion on June 6, 2015, in New York City, USA, and in branch parties around the world.

Because not everyone can attend the main event in New York, the Church’s Family History Department invites family history centers to open their doors and plan to take part in the Global Family Reunion.

The idea for the Global Family Reunion evolved after 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, 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!”

A. J. Jacobs gives his keynote speech at RootsTech at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City on Saturday, February 14, 2015. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.

Audience members hold up “I am a cousin” signs so that A. J. Jacobs can take a selfie with them in the background during his keynote speech at RootsTech at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City on Saturday, February 14, 2015. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.

According to Jacobs, a RootsTech 2015 keynote speaker, if people realize that they are related by blood or marriage to millions of cousins around the world, they may have kinder, more caring feelings toward each other.

What you can do

The Global Family Reunion is the perfect time to invite families to your local family history center. You may want to partner with a local public library or society and include typical family reunion games, food, and fun. Provide computers to visitors to discover their own place in the FamilySearch Family Tree. You may also want to offer free photo and document scanning services 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 Hosting a Branch Party signup page 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 LDS family history centers will not be soliciting donations from participants or charging any fees.