Germanna Foundation's 61st Reunion: July 12-15, 2018
Every summer people from all over the country who trace their family roots back to the original German colonists who came to America in the early 1700s to settle at Fort Germanna and the surrounding area in Virginia gather for a fun four-day reunion held by the Germanna Foundation. The Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to exploring the Colonial Virginia frontier via the historic 1714 Fort Germanna and its German colonists and their descendants. It is located at the Fort Germanna Visitor Center on Germanna Highway (Route 3) in Locust Grove, VA.
2018 Reunion Events include:
Thursday, July 12
Registration Open House
Drop by the Brawdus Martin Fort Germanna Visitor Center to pick up your registration materials. While you are here, take this opportunity to hike the trails, browse the library, and check out the interpretive display.
Fort Germanna / Enchanted Castle Archaeological Site Open House
Germanna Foundation Staff Archaeologist Dr. Eric Larsen, summer intern staff, and Virginia Commonwealth University Field School students will be on hand to lead informal site tours showcasing their seasonal work. Will they #FindtheFort?
Clore Family Gathering
An informal get together for Clore descendants will once again be hosted by Skip and Joy Poole at their home in Lake of the Woods.
Fishback/Rector Family Gathering
An informal get together for Fishback and Rector descendants will be hosted by Fran Rowell in Culpeper.
Friday, July 13
Choose one of three Germanna Heritage Tours: First Colony, Second Colony or Frontier Culture Museum
First Colony Tour
First stop on this tour will be where it all began for the First Colony at the Fort Germanna site with Archaeologist, Eric Larsen. The question as to why the 1714 immigrants were brought here will be answered by your Trustee Tour Guide, Barbara Price. We will follow the road that our ancestors took to Germantown, then on to Elk Run Church with our host, Ed Dandar. Elk Run Church was the local parish church that our ancestors were required to attend and in close proximity to Germantown. As we meander south, we will be met by a local historian in the town of Jeffersonton, the site of the Little Fork Colony, and end our tour at the historic Little Fork Church with not only ties to Germanna, but also to Lady Butler Brayne Spotswood Thompson and Salubria.
Second Colony Tour
Join your guide, Trustee Stephen Chanko, for a tour to Second Colony territory in Madison County, Virginia. Drive through some of the prettiest spots in the Robinson River Valley and the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains as the tour takes you past the early land patents. Enjoy a leisurely visit at historic Hebron Lutheran Church. By popular request, a delicious family-style lunch at Graves Mountain Lodge is planned.
Frontier Culture Museum Tour
Travel to the Frontier Culture Museum of Virginia at Staunton with its former Director of Research and Collections (Germanna Trustee Katharine Brown) as guide. At this living history outdoor museum, you will visit original, authentic 18th century farmhouses brought from the European cultures that settled the colonial American frontier: England, Germany, and Ireland, see reproductions of African and Native American settlements, and see original Virginia farm houses as those cultures blended in the early 19th century. You will experience how YOUR Germanna ancestors lived in Germany and in America. Special emphasis will be placed on the German farm from the Palatinate, not far from villages from which Germanna settlers emigrated.
Banquet & Auction
The Annual Banquet is the main social event of the reunion weekend. After a day of touring outdoors, join us in air-conditioned comfort overlooking Lake of the Woods. Begin the evening enjoying the social hour with cash bar followed by a buffet dinner. Bid on a variety of items during the silent and live auctions.
Saturday, July 14
Kids Colonial Camp (ages 6-12)
Before you go to the Historical & Genealogical Conference, drop your children or grandchildren ages 6-12 off at the Fort Germanna Visitor Center for a fun day of activities provided by the staff of Camp Flintlock. Kids will spend the day participating in Colonial games and other period activities. Camp Flintlock will provide a Colonial Store where you and your children may shop for souvenirs at the end of the session.
Historical & Genealogical Conference
A full schedule of informative lectures takes place the Germanna Community College Daniel Technology Center in Culpeper, VA. Between conference sessions, browse and shop the many vendor booths at the Vendor Hall. 8:30 am. Coffee and donuts start the day and a box lunch is included in the conference fee. Enjoy meeting people interested in history and genealogy from around the local area as well as from across the country.
• Ashley Abruzzo, Journey to the Land of Lincoln: Germanna Settlers in Illinois
As Illinois celebrates its bicentennial, Illinois native Ashley Abruzzo will present on the various Germanna families who settled there. With assistance from Germanna descendants, she has collected family histories and images to narrate the lives of these settlers. Where in Illinois did they live? Did any serve in the military? What were their occupations? Did they rub elbows with any famous politicians? All that and more.
• John Blankenbaker, Germanna Short Stories
Through a series of short stories, our Germanna people are presented in novel ways. Still we will see that they are much like the people you know today. They weren’t always angels and model citizens and they came from varied backgrounds. Some of the stories have humorous elements while some have their tragic moments. An entertaining and educational presentation.
• Glenn Cress, Interpreting DNA Test Results
Your DNA test results includes the names of others (who have tested) who match with your DNA. These names may include close relatives as well as distant cousins. Vendors provide only estimates of the actual relationships. The main focus of this presentation is to review some of the techniques/tools that can be applied to help analyze/interpret your DNA test results for y-DNA, mt-DNA, and at-DNA.
• Kevin Duffus, Blackbeard’s Last Battle
The notorious pirate Blackbeard stands among the best-known figures of early colonial American history, yet no one still knows who he really was. To this day, his identity, his origins, and his motivations for committing acts of piracy remain in contention. Did he hail from England, Jamaica, or the Carolinas? Was his surname Teach, or Thatch, or something else entirely? Was he an undistinguished common sailor suddenly thrust into command of a pirate ship? Was he a former Royal Navy sailor and an aristocratic, Anglican slave-owning planter who inexplicably turned Jacobite and pirate? Or was he a mariner on a salvage mission lured to piracy by a mob of looters, and who later became a pawn in an attempted political coup in proprietary North Carolina? These conflicting interpretations have provoked hostile debate. At stake are the credibilities of monolithic institutions and museums, the reputations of researchers and authors, the financial stakes of publishers, and the future of a popular historical narrative. History carved in stone is never easily disconfirmed, especially when history’s icons have been sculpted and burnished by centuries of myth and folklore. For more than 45 years, award-winning research historian Kevin Duffus has followed the wake of the notorious pirate’s journey through history. Along the way he has discovered significant clues and pivotal waypoints in the Blackbeard records that point to a startling conclusion—one that many scholars do not want the public to know.
• Carole Nash, Area Native Americans
Learn about Native Americans of the Germanna settlement area from one of our Germanna cousins, Madison County native and Carpenter descendant Dr. Carole L. Nash of James Madison University. Dr. Nash is well known in the Virginia archaeological community and has spent her career studying the Native Americans of western Virginia.
Germanna Oktoberfest and Pirate Fun
Put on your dirndl and lederhosen or your best pirate gear and head to the grounds of historic Salubria for this casual, family friendly dinner. Celebrate our German heritage and partake of some pirate fun. Tour the mansion during the pre-dinner cocktail hour. Back by popular demand, traditional Oktoberfest fare catered by Bavarian Chef is on the menu. Schmeckt so gut! Sample Blackbeard’s punch if ye dare! After dinner enjoy entertainment provided by the Low’n’Brows, a local German band.
Sunday, July 15
Worship Service at Hebron Church followed by Lunch
Join fellow descendants and current members of the congregation for a meaningful worship service at historic Hebron Lutheran Church. Lunch will be provided following the service by the women of the congregation.
Our favorite historical re-enactor, Dennis Loba, and his cohorts are in the midst of planning a display just for us. How will they top the 2016 Knights of the Golden Horseshoe encampment? What will they have in store for us in 2018?