The first-ever Global Family Reunion, operating under the notion that all individuals are cousins, explored the science and history of human families at the site of the 1964 New York World’s Fair in Corona last weekend.
More than 3,700 individuals participated in the reunion, held at the museum at 47-01 111th St. in Flushing Meadows Corona Park June 6, featured talks from genealogists, scientists and entertainers covering everything about families, including personal stories, ancestry and DNA.
Several thousand more individuals participated in more than 40 simultaneous parties worldwide.
The reunion also included comedy, games, exhibits, music and genealogy booths. Performers included Tuelo & Her Cousins and Sister Sledge singing “We Are Family.”
Speakers included Morgan Spurlock, director of the “Supersize Me” documentary and D. Joshua Taylor, genealogist and president of the Federation of Genealogical Societies. There were also video presentations by actor Daniel Radcliffe, former U.S. President George H.W. Bush and comedian Nick Kroll.
Proceeds from the event will go toward research, training and education for Alzheimer’s disease. The Global Family Reunion is partnering with the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund and the New York chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.
About 47 million people worldwide live with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia and that number is expected to rise to 76 million by 2030, according to Julie Jacobs, wife of author A.J. Jacobs, the founder of the Global Family Reunion.
“We cannot have that happen to our family tree,” Julie said.
Chicago resident Geneva Norman, 67, whose big family has been meeting in Ohio for 95 years, is related to Ronald Bell of Kool and the Gang, actress and singer Dorothy Dandridge, baseball player Jackie Robinson and singer John Legend.
She recently discovered that she has Finnish and Cameroonian roots.
“This just appealed to me automatically,” Norman said.
Jamaica resident Natasha Rupan, a member of the Hall of Science who attended the reunion with her daughter, said she appreciated the reunion’s emphasis on all individuals being related.
“The fact that we all come together and understand that we’re all the same,” Rupan said.
Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtour
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