Recent events in my attempts to discover more about my family history brought me to a unique family reunion. It was the Jones-Harrison family reunion and it took place on the Oregon Coast.
Thanks to the efforts of a newly-found second cousin, about 70 people showed up to meet, share stories, and learn. We celebrated the wife of the late Frank Harrison—the son of Lee Frank Harrison by another woman prior to my grandmother.
Two of us found ourselves included due to our DNA data on 23AndMe. I made contact with two second cousins and a cousin through the DNA connections, and that brought me to this event.
Another young man joined the reunion. He’d been given up for adoption as an infant by his very young mother. Fortunately, a loving couple adopted and raised him. Through the DNA test, he discovered himself a member of this wonderful family. He and his adoptive parents came down together to a warm, welcoming reception.
People came from all over the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, and a guy who drove all the way from Massachusetts with his son.
What struck me during this time was that all these people lived around me all my life and we didn’t know we were related. My mother, Verna Jeanne Harrison, tried for much of her life to find information about her father. That ended in about 2007 with her Alzheimer’s diagnosis. It wasn’t until after Mom passed away that some of the important information about her father came along and my research started making progress.
I wish Mom could have been at this reunion. She could have seen and met the wonderful, caring, people I did; spent hours talking about growing up and living. She would have been surprised—as I was—at how we lived around each other all these years. And, she would have shed tears and laughed with the rest.
I hope we can continue to meet and share this way. It is a great legacy to leave the children.
NOTE: I did not include names of the attendees to respect their privacy. For more information, please look in the archive or the links in the text for the posts Family and Desperate Times.