Friday, June 1, 2012

Weekend Wanderings 6.1.12

The McFarren Family Reunion.

This evening Amanda and I will depart extremely hot and dry Phoenix (a high of 112) for the much cooler climate of Indiana (where tomorrows high is 73). The reason for the quick weekend trip across three time-zones is my family is having a family reunion. Extended family from all over Indiana and Arizona will be descending on my parents home in Keystone, Indiana.

3 Generations of McFarrens
The reason for the celebration will be my grandmother, Frankie McFarren's, birthday. Her story is amazing, meeting my grandfather while he was stationed in Australia during World War II, getting married, and then traveling halfway around the world to live in our hometown of Bluffton, Indiana. She did this while her husband, my grandfather, was still at war and so she moved by herself to meet and move in with a family she had never met before. In Bluffton she still remains, along with the history of the McFarren family legacy. 

So, as she reaches another year higher in the 80's, it became a great time for the family to reconnect and reminisce. While the family has spread out, and several surnames will be in attendance, the family remains close. The Reiffs, Graves, Mannings, Allens, Woods, and McFarrens in attendance should give a great representation of many aspects of the history of family, and stories will be flowing. I'm looking forward to it.

The inside of my Great-Grandfather's Bible
- a note from his mother
I love having information and stories on my family history. Genealogy for the McFarrens stretches back to John McFarren and his brothers who left Ireland (likely Northern Ireland) and came to Philadelphia in the 1720's. This fits well within the records of a major immigration of Scot-Irish from the old country, and there were likely political reasons for their move as well. Speculatively, how could there not be, as they were Scots that had been transplanted to Northern Ireland by the Brits. You know, the creation of the entire Protestant-Catholic terrorist war that wages for a few hundred years - one of the United Kingdoms worst mistakes. Anyway, all of that to say that it made complete sense for them to come to America then along with so many others escaping that situation as well as other hardships like possibly famine.

So from the 1720's we skyrocket to 2012 and this reunion. The centuries have passed, and the family made its way through Pennsylvania to Bluffton, Indiana and later some to Nebraska. Much later, several members moved to Arizona, which is cool because when Amanda & I moved to Phoenix I had relatives already here! We've spent a couple of holidays with Jerry & Candace Justus in Tempe, which are cousins. This led to the perusing of some old McFarren family Bibles recently, including that of my Great-Grandfather Harry A. McFarren (see picture). During all of this time, the family had its rise and fall of business ventures in Bluffton, providing some great history, photographs, and a mark up on Bluffton.

The McFarren Family Plot
Now, as the family is a bit more spread out over Northern Indiana, Bluffton still holds a sense of "home" or a center of gravity to the family. We do have a family plot at a local cemetery, and the churches and schools of the area bring reminders as well.

So Amanda and I will make the trek to my childhood home, in the very house I grew up in, to visit with family. The log cabin in the woods in Keystone, Indiana during the summer is a great place to relax, as long as its not too humid and their aren't too many bugs for our Arizona-adapted bodies!


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