Home Sweet Home

Each year we hear more about reunions of whole towns and villages, everyone making the effort to go home knowing that everyone they want to see will be there.

Lorraine Evert, Executive Vice President of the Parsons (Kansas) Chamber of Commerce, recently reported that the “Black Homecoming” held every three years is right on schedule for July 2-7, 2002. It is a popular opportunity for former Parsons residents of African-American descent to return home and know that their friends and family will make an effort to be there too. Activities from past homecomings include dances, banquets, a talent show, a fashion show and a gospel jamboree. It is evident that distance and time are not obstacles, as people come from all coasts and everywhere in between. Contact Lorraine Evert, 620-421-6500, [email protected].

Then, August 17th-18th the population of Barton, Ohio, will welcome a village reunion of people whose parents, grandparents or great-grandparents emigrated to the US from Osturna in present-day Slovakia. About 80% of the folks in Barton (about an hour from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) have Osturna roots; these are a combination of Slovak and Carpatho-Rusyn, a fairly small ethnic group from Eastern Europe. This reunion will feature discussions about a DNA genealogy project underway, a master village database being developed and records already transcribed. There also will be horse and wagon tours of Barton. The total community of “Osturna in America” is roughly 1,000. They’ve had a newsletter for over eight years and maintain an extensive website.

They’re expecting quite a few children of immigrants — in fact, the reunion is close to where most of them still live to encourage attendance. These people are now the “elder circle.” They also hope to have a few Slovaks direct from Osturna, including the priest and mayor. Most of the people who attend will be from all over the US and Canada. For information contact Megan Smolenyak at [email protected].