Iowan geneologist Josiah Schmidt is turning his passion for family history into a reality at the end of this month when he hosts what might possibly be the world’s largest family reunion.
“What I thought was a really small family actually turned out to be this huge, sprawling family tree that encompassed tens of thousands of individuals,” says Josiah Schmidt, organizer of the reunion.
After three years of planning such a huge event, and $15,000 later, the family reunion has actually turned into a German festival.
“We’re having live German music, German food vendors, free German classes, a craft and vendor market, so it’s going to be a big shindig,” says Schmidt.
Schmidt says he’s used Facebook to reach out to a majority of the relatives but the person that has to travel the farthest for this reunion is his sister, who is coming from China.
“I’m so excited for it,” says Katelynn Schmidt, Josiah’s sister. “It was totally worth every penny.”
With the years of hard work, research and event planning, she says she’s excited for this long anticipated reunion.
“I’m looking forward to seeing all the family members that I didn’t even know existed,” says Katelynn.
Hosting an event at this capacity has intrigued many people, particularly the staff at the fair grounds where the event will be held.
“I’m definitely intrigued by the concept,” says Jeremy Parsons, manager of the Clay County Fair Grounds. “I don’t think people think about the fact that there is a world record for a family reunion and that anyone would want to attempt to invite that many relatives to one place.”
The current record for the world’s largest family reunion is set at 4500 people by a family in France, and in the U.S., the record is set at 2500 people. So even if Josiah isn’t able to beat the world record holders in France, he says he will still be able to hold the record in this country.