The Clay County Fair Grounds hosts many events except this time, the event was an attempt to break a world record. Josiah Schmidt has put a great deal of hard work into attempting to pull off the world’s largest family reunion.
A lot of people don’t even know that the world’s largest family reunion even exists but Josiah Schmidt has spent the last three years and $15,000 turning his dreams into a reality.
Because there were so many members of the family, Josiah had to trace back the family tree in a presentation to show everyone how they were all related.
“Hans Schmidt, with the exception of Doris, fathered every single person on these fairgrounds,” says Josiah to the crowd. “We all descended from the last child at the last minute by a 62-year-old man and a 38-year-old woman. So never give up.”
Although the woman he mentioned, Doris, was not fathered through Hans’ last son like the rest of the family members in attendance, she says she was honored to be invited to this family reunion.
“Josiah invited me and it was a great opportunity,” says Doris Brown, Schmidt relative. “I know nobody here, but I’ve met a lot of wonderful people.”
Through the years of work and connecting the family tree together, Josiah says his greatest accomplishment comes from being able to finally bring everyone together.
“Being able to connect all of these branches and get them all in the same place at the same time I think is our greatest accomplishment by far,” says Josiah.
And those who attended showed their fascination with Josiah’s attempt to pull this off.
“With Josiah’s research, we’ve discovered so many things about our family tree and we’re learning something new all the time here,” says Tami Schafer Beaty, a Schmidt relative.
The family reunion included free German language classes, a kids fun zone, craft vendors, food vendors, live music, and rooms of family heritage displays. The event continues through Sunday, July 31st and is open to the public for $5 admission.
Josiah Schmidt was unable to claim the title of ‘World Record Holder,’ however, the reunion received the title of ‘Largest Family Reunion’ in the state of Iowa, with a total of 630 family members.