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Article Published March 1, 2002

Sandra Devlin EAST COAST KIN (Canada)
By: Sandra Devlin, Biography & Archived Articles

'Tis The Season For Family Reunion Planning

Not nor' easter or so'wester or long nights and short days ... neither wind, nor snow, nor bone-chilling East Coast winter can keep the faithful from their appointed task ... planning family reunions for the summer that we know must eventually come again.

In homes and community centres across Atlantic Canada, the behind-the-scenes custodians of family pride, continuity and togetherness are stalwartly mapping out the events of their respective events, be they a one-day or weekend or week-long celebration. One of the challenges for reunion planners is locating and contacting kin "from away" who may want to plan their summer vacation around a reunion of their long-lost cousins.

As a tribute to family reunion organizers, we highlight here one example of the hundreds, maybe thousands planning family reunions in Atlantic Canada in 2002 ... the Hudson-Barker reunion ... the first in 10 years for the descendants the ancestors from Yorkshire, England who landed on the shore of Prince Edward Island 185 years ago.

Well-known and respected Summerside native, Paul H. Schurman ... the H stands for Hudson ... convened the initial committee meeting in mid-January at his home and welcomed the handful who braved the aftermath of the first winter snow.

The planning got under way.

The Hudson-Barker reunion will be held July 26-27 in Tryon and Cascumpec -- in part at the earliest Hudson house still standing, the home of Arthur Hudson (reunion chairman) in Cascumpec which was built in 1878, by one of the second Hudson generation and also incorporating the home ground of progenitors Richard Hudson and Arabella Barker in Tryon.

Patriarch Richard Hudson sailed on the ship Valiant with 195 other passengers, including William Barker and family. One of the committee's top priorities is to try to find the exact resting place of Richard who died in 1878, after six decades of Island living.

According to a newspaper article published in 1932, other Island surnames which trace to the 1817 voyage of the Valiant are: Bell, Burnett, Carr, Cross, Dodd, Fawcett, Fox, Gorvat, Hardy, Hodgson, Hutcheson, Mason, Lund, Pearson, Sigsworth, Smith, Stead, Weldon, Wigginton and possibly, Best, West and Vessey, although accounts vary of the latter three.

The second meeting of the Hudson-Baker reunion committee had to be postponed due to yet-another fierce winter snowstorm. It was rescheduled for Valentine's Day -- appropriate given the unselfish love it takes to undertake the organizaing and implementing of a family reunion.

On Saturday July 27 at Cascumpec United Church, a plaque will be dedicated at a ceremony at the home of J. Arthur and Lillian Hudson commemorating the 135 continuous occupancy of the Hudson family. A reception at the Alberton United Church hall will follow to afford an opportunity for all "cousins" to connect.

"We have a total of 40 on our mailing list to date," says Paul, "but I know there are many cousins out west and in other parts of Canada and the United States. I hope they will contact us."

The folks who plan family reunions deserve credit for the unselfish hours they invest without thought of recognition. The very least the rest of the family can do is respond to their requests for attendance verification in timely fashion and take an extra moment to say a special thank you when the event goes off without a hitch, as planned. Better still, call them now and offer to help.

Contact: Paul. H. Schurman, 118 Green St., Summerside, P.E.I., C1N 4J9; e-mail:

Looking beyond this summer, many will want to plan a trip to Atlantic Canada a little farther into the future:
    2003 - Selkirk Settlers 200th Anniversary, Prince Edward Island. Plans are for a year-long celebration. Plans are also been made on the Isle of Skye. Projects which the Society will undertake include a re-enactment of the landing of Lord Selkirk, a re-creation of the settlers encampment, and a re-enactment of the historic Belfast tea of 1903 which was held to raise funds to build the Polly monument to commemorate the 100th anniversary of their arrival. Some of the other projects are genealogical weekends, Historical Day, Scottish festivals, Scottish ancestor cookbook, a waulking frolic and a reprinting of Malcolm MacQueen's book, Skye Pioneers and the Island. Organizers are looking for descendents of these early pioneers. As this is all about our forebearers, we hope to have a large genealogical display. So make sure your family is represented. This will be a great opportunity to enlarge our family trees.

    Surnames include: MacKenzie, Nicholson , McLeod , Campbell, Murchison, McGillivray, Docherty, McIsaac, Martin, Beaton, Williams, MacRae Ross, MacDonald,, McLean Smith, Lamont, Gillis, MacAulay, McMillan, Douglass, Macqueen, McKinnon, MacWilliam and MacTavish. Contact: Joyce Kennedy, Glasbhein, Belfast P.O., P.E.I., C0A 1A0; e-mail:

    Lunenburg N.S. 250th Anniversary, July 10-14, 2003. The Foreign Protestants, as they've been called, were fleeing tough times when they left their homes in Switzerland, France and parts of Germany in the early 1750s and landed in Halifax. Almost half of the more than 2,700 who came then journeyed on to the South Shore and settled in Lunenburg in1753. First families and more information at:

    From July 31 - Aug. 15, 2004, Nova Scotia will host the Third World Acadian Congress (CMA 2004) - a non-stop marathon of provincial and community cultural events showcasing l'Acadie to the world. Family reunions in the planning stages already for CMA are: Belliveau, Doucet, Dugas, LeBlanc, Maillet, Melanson, Robichaud and Theriault. Find contact names and additional information at:
Watch for reunions or post yours at : Reunion planning tips:

More Atlantic Canada Resources...

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Norway Bay United & Anglican Cemetery
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The Merivale Cemeteries
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