Approximately 150 people took part in the Global Family Reunion festival at the Midwest Genealogy Center this past weekend. According to Programming Coordinator Jenny Tatman, the center holds a family-friendly event each summer, but the team wanted to make it “a little bit bigger,” this year.

Tatman explained the inspiration for the Global Family Reunion came from a similar event in Salt Lake City, Utah, and the center brought the idea to Independence to support the idea of everyone being part of a bigger family.

“Something we at the Midwest Genealogy Center help people do is find those connections,” said Tatman.

The event featured historical re-enactors, including a Union soldier and a Confederate soldier from the Civil War, who would talk to guests as a pair, as well we other genealogy-related activities for parents and kids, encouraging them to interact with the past.

“A lot of what we do is connecting history history with the present,” said Tatman. While elements such as the petting zoo are just for fun, she explained the center wants to connect fun elements with learning and history.

The next large event at the Midwest Genealogy Center will be its Veterans Salute on Sep, 28, but until then Tatman said the library is focusing on encouraging young adults to get involved with their family history. The center is hosting free genealogy classes over the summer,.

On July 26, kids and teens will be split up into two groups, with children 8-12 learning about what exactly genealogy is, and how they can start telling their families’ stories. Teenagers ages 13 and up will learn practical genealogy skills, focusing on how to do research into their family history. The class begins at 10:30 a.m..

As the center works to bring the past into the present, Tatman encourages residents to get involved and learn about their family history.

“We’re always open to the public, whether that someone is 10 or 70,” she said.