May 15, 2015 - Ancestry

Family Reunion Time

World Records often involve peril and great feats of courage, and in a way A.J. Jacobs’ plan to stage a Global Family Reunion in New York City this June is a kind of daring aj_abouttightrope walk of its own.

The daylong event – which the New York Times recently described as “part TED talk, part Coachella and part family picnic” – is billed as the largest family reunion ever.

AJ has put together an event that sprinkles in a little science, a little fun and a lot of socializing. Among the featured speakers are Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., who is also a host of the PBS show “Finding Your Roots”, the documentarian Morgan Spurlock, and performances by the illusionist David Blaine and the group Sister Sledge.

If A.J., an editor at large at Esquire and good friend of 23andMe, pulls it off, it will clearly be one for Guinness’s record book, but more than that the reunion also marks a sea change in the use of genetic testing for genealogical purposes. This direct to consumer genetic testing thing is really here to stay.

There’s also a point to the reunion beyond just setting a record. As A.J. has said both here on our blog but also in his well-received talks, we’re all family.

“I want to remind people that we are, in fact, one big family,” A.J. told the Times. “We do share 99.9 percent of our DNA, and that we need to treat each other with a little more kindness.”

There are still tickets available with money from the event going toward Alzheimer’s disease research. 23andMe will be on hand as well.

So if you plan to be in New York City on June 6 why don’t you drop in on some family?

(Ed’s note: A.J. really wants to connect with you if you are a 23andMe customer and are signed on you can connect with him here. In addition, A.J. has been generous enough to offer a discount for 23andMe customers. You can go here and get 25 percent off tickets.)

global family reunion
The Day the World Connects
WHAT: The largest, most inclusive, most fascinating family reunion in history.
WHO IS INVITED: All members of the human family.
AGENDA: The Reunion will have TED-style talks from scientists, genealogists and entertainers about every aspect of family, including DNA, genealogy and personal stories. There will be music, comedy, games, exhibits, food and booths. And the world’s largest family photo.
WHEN: June 6, 2015 (all day long)
WHERE: The New York Hall of Science, on the grounds of the historic World’s Fair.
THE CAUSE: Proceeds from the event will benefit the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund and the Alzheimer’s Association NYC.
THE BOOK AND MOVIE: The Global Family Reunion will be featured in a book by bestselling author A.J. Jacobs and a documentary by Morgan Spurlock (Supersize Me).
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