In June I’ll be attending my very first family reunion—and boy will it be a big one! In fact, it’ll very likely set a new record for the biggest family reunion in history!
It’s called the Global Family Reunion, and it’s being billed as a “family reunion meets a world’s fair meets a music festival meets a TED conference.” Activities include musical performances, guest speakers, concerts, and demonstrations. Sounds amazing. I’m in!
The event is being organized by AJ Jacobs, a fascinating writer and “human guinea pig.” Some of AJ’s previous projects include outsourcing his life, reading the entire Encyclopedia Brittanica, and living biblically for a year. What’s different about the Global Family Reunion project is that everyone is invited to participate. I’m taking him up on it!
Soon after hearing about the Global Family Reunion, I visited WikiTree to look for a connection to AJ. WikiTree is a massive, collaborative, online family tree. New WikiTree users begin by uploading their own family tree information. They can then find any common ancestors from other member trees, and upon confirming the relationships, the trees can be merged together. This is where the real magic happens. As more connections are made, the tree continues to grow and becomes even easier to connect to. It’s been steadily growing in this way since 2008.
I joined WikiTree over a year ago and have made a lot of new connections, so I was eager to log in and try my chances at finding a relation to AJ. I entered my WikiTree-ID into the “100 Degrees of AJ” connection finder, and within seconds I was able see a path to him in 31 steps! Hooray!
Being a confirmed relation to AJ will qualify me to participate in a record-setting family photo, which I’m really excited about–I love records! What’s more–AJ has already discovered that he’s related to the likes of Albert Einstein, George W. Bush, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Daniel Radcliffe, just to name just a few, which means I am too!
While the Global Family Reunion sounds like a day chock-full of fun, it’s also interesting to think about the larger, long-lasting implications of how we’re all related. Spreading the idea that we’re all related is a great service to all of humanity. This awareness can only help to make the world a better, more connected place.
The Global Family Reunion will take place on June 6th, 2015, at the The New York Hall of Science, on the grounds of the World’s Fair. All proceeds will benefit Alzheimer’s. I hope to see you there, cousin!