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2006 Meeting, Nashville


AAFA 19th Annual Meeting and Family Reunion

Alford American Family Association, Inc.

2006 Meeting Report – Nashville, Tennessee
By Ramona Alford Darden, AAFA #0715


The Nashville, Tennessee Alford Reunion 2006 is now over and everyone is safely home once again. For those of you who attended, we hope it was a positive experience for you. Each person who put together presentations worked very hard to make the meeting interesting for those who attend each year. It would not be worth the effort without your attendance, so we thank you for joining us this year. It is our intention to not only have a worthwhile meeting but to get to know each of you as immediate Alford family.


Prior to each annual meeting, working members extract records from the state where we will hold our annual meeting. Census records, marriage records, wills and estate papers found are made available at each state meeting. There is also information on how to research or suggestions on where to look next when you are at a dead end. Very knowledgeable people in Internet research will help and make suggestions on different web sites.


As soon as this year’s meeting was completed, a search for the host city was made along with hotel proposals from all major cities of the chosen state. Our host hotel should be large enough to guarantee enough sleeping rooms for the group, have meeting space to meet our needs along with in-house catering for our meals and snacks. Any hotel with less than 175 sleeping rooms will not give our group a proposal. Our Board of Directors is very aware of the rising cost of these events. The board spent quite a lot of time in this year’s board meeting to determine how to try and cut the cost and make the meeting affordable for all who want to attend. We will be making every effort to consolidate, cutting cost where we can and still meet the goal without sacrificing the quality of our meeting.


There are additional costs included in each daily meeting as follows: projector screen(s), microphone and podium, and even extension cords. The Internet hook-up is $250 per day use, and daily meeting and display room(s) cleaning is also included. These are the minimum basic items needed for our daily sessions, which is included in the cost of a cookie and cup of coffee. If the meeting room cost goes up so does the cookie and drinks. Some expense is figured in the two evening meal costs.


Friday’s meeting began with About Alford Genealogy. Lynn Shelley is in charge of organizing the workshop and works hard on her presentation as well as finding others to give talks on other items of interest. She helps Gil all through the year to find new information on the families of the host state and fill in gaps in those family lines. For those of you who think this is just teaching how to do research, you are wrong. There are many subjects covered in these presentations, which you are missing if you haven’t recently attended the Friday workshop.


The first presentation was given by Janice and John Smith on the Alford Photo Collection. There are currently 2,106 photos in the photo archives; the original photos are kept in two bank vault boxes in Plano, TX. Janice keeps a very detailed list of each photo, which is numbered with each person(s) identified in each picture. Janice is doing a wonderful job caring for this collection. I might add she will not spend the night anywhere on the way to our annual meeting without taking all the pictures out of their vehicle. She sleeps with the pictures by her bed; otherwise she doesn’t sleep for worry not knowing if they are all safe. I would call that very dedicated. Thanks Janice for all your care and concern.


Last year’s Baby Photo Contest was a great hit. This year a School Days Photo Contest was another highlight of the meeting. Going around visiting with attending members to help pick up features to identify in a photo is an important part. This created the opportunity to visit and also learn more about each

other and have fun doing it. John Smith worked really hard on each of the 42 photos getting them ready and placing on presentation boards for review.


John supplies photos for our Quarterly, the Hall of Fame Album and to Earline Alford for the Memorial Albums, if there is a photo available from the photo collection. John, Janice and Walt are all behind the cameras at our annual meeting; guess you could call them our Meeting Photo Historians. Most members who only come to an occasional meeting do not know John is not an Alford descendant. However, I think John had an Alford blood transfusion; he even thinks like an Alford and is a very active member of our organization including a member of the Board of Directors.



Alicia Houston, Doris Vetri, Lynn Shelley, Marian Hodges and Evelyn Mistich visit as they try to figure out the identities of the school pictures of the attendees. (Photo submitted by Joana Breeland)



Later in the morning, Lynn Shelley gave an informative presentation on general migration paths to Tennessee as well as Alford migrations to different areas of Tennessee. A part of her talk consisted of Tennessee Land Records and how important they are in the study of genealogy. Sometimes the land records can prove that even though county names and boundary changes occurred, a family may not have moved at all.


After our lunch break, Max Alford reported on Alford DNA. We were given a lesson on the several levels of testing offered, and how does one know which is the right one to choose. Max explained the test levels: 12, 37, and 67 marker test and the cost for each.


Several groups of families have still not been able to completely determine the relationship of group members with our 37 marker test. Therefore we see two main advantages of testing 67 markers over testing 37. Y-DNA67 can further refine the relationship of two individuals by use of the additional markers. Plus, there is a better chance of finding mutations that identify sub-branches in the family. There are eighteen Alfords who have taken the DNA test and are sharing the results with AAFA. Currently, there are five branches of Alfords that have been determined to be related by the DNA tests that up until now had no known common ancestors. Research will have to be done much further back to untangle this web and find this common ancestor. I am sure as more and more lines have DNA testing done, AAFA will find more line connections as Alfords came to this country. There are five other groups of DNA testers who have no known connection with the five branches mentioned above. This is getting more and more interesting as more people order tests.


Our blood holds the secrets to who we are, and increasingly, individuals, families and research scientists are using genetic testing to tell us what we don’t already know. Human genomes are 99.9 percent identical; we are far more similar than diverse. But that tiny 0.1 percent difference holds clues to our ancestries, the roots of all human migration and, with the right testing, our propensity for disease. Tens of thousands of Americans have swabbed their cheeks and mailed in their DNA to companies nationwide for testing. Far-flung cousins are finding each other; family legends are being overturned. Six years ago the term genetic genealogy was meaningless, says Bennett Greenspan, head of Family Tree DNA, which has 52,000 customers, “Now the interest is huge.”


20th Century Military Records by Gil Alford completed our presentations for Friday day sessions.


We all made a mad dash to our rooms for a quick power rest and then back down for a lovely evening meal. There was no program for this meal, just eat and renew old relations and friendships and make new ones with the “mix and mingle” theme of the sit down dinner. This is our first opportunity to really visit with those that we only see once every year or two and to meet the new attendees.


President Max Alford conducted our Saturday morning business meeting. He opened the meeting by welcoming everyone in attendance. Max introduced the AAFA Officers and those Board of Directors members that were in attendance.


Directors whose terms continue past this meeting are as follows:


Alicia Houston, PA                        Doris A. Vetri, NJ

Max Alford, TX                                 John Smith, TX

Ramona A. Darden, TX                Evelyn Mistich, LA

Paul Davidson, LA                            Matt Alford, TX


The following slate of names was presented as officer nominees:


President – Max Ray Alford, TX

V- Pres – Matt Alford, TX

Secretary – Evelyn Mistich, LA

Treasurer – Doris A. Vetri, NJ


The Director nominees were introduced as follows:


Emmett Earl Alford, MS                 Lynn Shelley, MO

Pam Thompson, CA                 Carolyn Saunders, TX

Frieda Shepherd, CA


For the first time ever, we had more Board nominees than we had slots. A paper ballot for the Board of Directors was included in the Registration Packet handed out as each member signed in. It was a very close vote. The new Board members are Emmett Earl Alford, MS; Lynn Shelley, MO; Pam Thompson, CA; and Carolyn Saunders, TX. The new Board then convened for the express purpose of electing new officers. The slate of officer nominees were then elected by the Board, by a unanimous voice vote


Ramona Darden, Meetings Chair, asked members to decide where members would like to hold their 2008 meeting. The group voted to go to South Carolina. Our meeting for 2007 will be held in Mississippi, but as yet, the city is currently undetermined, as we have not received enough proposals for a reasonable decision.


During the Alford Forum on Saturday afternoon, Gil Alford discussed the various family branches represented at this year’s meeting. He was assisted by John and Janice Smith with overhead photos of some of the members of each represented branch. Gil gave a small introduction on each family line and asked the member to expand on their family lineage and if they had a story of interest to the group to share it with the group. There were very interesting stories shared which all enjoyed hearing about. Gil’s presentation is always among the highlights of our annual meeting


Our Saturday evening Banquet began with a lovely Buffet Dinner in the main Ballroom.


The presentation and honors part of the evening began with Ramona Alford Darden and Earline Alford honoring not only those members who have died during this past year but also those that AAFA was only made aware of during the past year. The Memorial Service began with a lovely poem ”Don’t Grieve For Me, For Now I’m Free.” Each name was read and the ships bell tolled after each.


Those honored were as follows:


                                    0520                 Joan B. Bartlett                Apr 25, 1933 – Nov 12, 2004

                                    0898                 Norma F. Burke               Jan 28, 1936 – Sep 04, 2005

                                    0389                 Isaac E. Alford                Sep 08, 1919 – Oct 30, 2005

                                    0725                 James W. Alford              Mar 21, 1935 – Nov 23, 2005

                                    0198                 Addie L. A. Alford           Oct 06, 1927 – Dec 15, 2005

                                    0837                 George W. Alford            Apr 28, 1916 – Feb 02, 2006

                                    0961                 Jack L. Alford                  Nov 19, 1920 – Feb 11, 2006

                                    0204                 Douglas L. Alford            Apr 21, 1905 – Feb 20, 2006

                                    1065                 G. Morris Myers              Oct 01, 1946 – Mar 22, 2006

                                    0178                 Robert S. Barrows           Nov 12, 1919 – Oct 22, 2006

                                    0980                 Betty J. A. Wells              Sep 03, 1928 – Sep 24, 2006

                                    1051                 Paul Allison                      Jun 27, 1935 – Sep 29, 2006

                                    0246                 M. Ella Alford                  Dec 21, 1931 – Dec 03, 2006


Max Alford made the following presentation for Hall of Fame honors: “She has provided long and faithful service as a researcher, a collector of data, the Mississippi State Representative, the genealogist for the Mississippi Chapter of AAFA, serving in that capacity until state chapters were discontinued and having served as state host of the 1991 meeting in Jackson, Mississippi, the Board is pleased to induct Ruby Alford Heard into the Alford American Family Association Hall of Fame. The Alford Association appreciates her long and continuing service to our cause.”


Max also presented the Distinguished Member Awards for their faithful service this past year to AAFA to the following:


Pat Smith for her service as AAFA Director and her mailing of the quarterly.



Pat Smith receiving the Distinguished Member Award

from President Max Alford



Joana Breeland has assisted Pat Smith with the mailing of the quarterlies. These two ladies do a fine job of seeing that you get your quarterly in a timely manner.




Joana Breeland receiving the Distinguished Member Award

from President Max Alford.



Evelyn Mistich is the treasurer for the annual meetings and as such, receives all meeting registrations, deposits the money and also sees that everyone who has a part in organizing the meetings gets a copy of each registration. In her spare time, she also assists Doris as treasurer.




Evelyn Mistich receiving the Distinguished Member Award

from President Max Alford.



President Max Alford reminded us that next year will be the 20th Anniversary of the Alford American Family Association. At that time, Max presented a lovely crystal award to Gil and Mary Alford as the founder and driving force behind the organization. It was engraved “20th Anniversary 1987-2007 Alford American Family Assn.” Gil accepted the award on behalf of the Association.



President Max Alford presented Gil and Mary Alford with a special award

commemorating the 20th anniversary of AAFA in 2007.



Ramona Darden conducted the drawing for the one free room night given to one member who was one of the first 25 who registered with the hotel and also AAFA. Helen Steele was the lucky winner, and was also the very first person to sign up to attend the meeting this year. Congratulations Helen! Let this be an incentive for others to register early.


Earline Alford conducted the raffle drawing of lovely gifts donated by generous members of AAFA.


Marian Hodges won a personalized Alford Wine Basket donated by Carl and MaryLee Alford. MaryLee was also responsible for decorating the basket.


Janet Hemby won a handmade afghan donated by Marie Bateman.


Joana Breeland won a hand made trivet & coaster set donated by Ramona Darden.


There were many more prizes awarded at the Awards Dinner but the names of the winners escape me at the moment. Peggy Wood donated a prayer shawl for the raffle, Sherry Handfinger donated two Memory Albums with paper and stickers, Carolyn Saunders donated a copy of her new book, “My Alford Heritage,” and Wick Alford donated a copy of his new book, “Playing for Time – War on an Asiatic Fleet Destroyer.” Carolyn Saunders also donated a lovely Victorian photo album for family photos. If you donated a prize and it is not listed here, I ask two things of you. First and foremost, I ask your forgiveness for not having it listed and second, I ask that you please let one of the officers or directors know what you donated and we will acknowledge that donation in a future issue of the quarterly. We do not want to slight anyone. So please let us know.


With the conclusion of the Banquet, lots of our members retired to the hotel lobby for more social conversation and relaxation. Another successful meeting had come to an end.


The following is the list of meeting attendees:


ASN       FNAME                  LNAME                           CITY                            ST           FAMILY


0484        Lynn D.                  Shelley                             Springfield                   MO         ann790ga/ISH755NC

0152        Janice & John       Smith                                Plano                            TX          BAL784NC/ISH755NC

1247        Walt                       Smith                                Dallas                           TX          BAL784NC/ISH755NC

0768        Norma, Paul           Idom                                 Lenoir City                  TN          BRI781NC/ISH755NC

                & Donna

                Matthew                Idom                                 Nashville                     TN          BRI781NC/ISH755NC

1071        Bob, Deb               Hemby                             Acworth                      GA          DAV785VA/ROB760EN

                & Lauren

0059        Don & Joan           Alford                              Melbourne                  FL           DAV785VA/ROB760EN

1072        Floyd Alex             Alford                              Nashville                     TN          DAV785VA/ROB760EN

0832        Janet Alford          Hemby                             Houston                      TX          DAV785VA/ROB760EN

0350        Marian Alford       Hodges                            Little Rock                   AR          DAV785VA/ROB760EN

1138        Deloris & Jim        Bitting                              Baton Rouge               LA          EDW792NC/JOH687VA

1049        Pat                          Sidebottom                      Murfreesboro             TN          EDW808KY/WIL751NC

1237        Sherry D.H.           Handfinger                      Chapel Hill                   NC          GRE787NC/LOD749NC

0791        Emerson Alford    Meggs                             Adams                         TN          HEN815SC/JAM687VA

1276        Sherry L. T.           Schlereth                         Gainesville                   GA          JOB763NC/JAM687VA

1102        Kenneth Neal        Alford                              Barbourville                KY          JOH787NC/!!!!!!NC

1056        Ruth, Rome           Sample                             Benton                         KY          JOH787NC/!!!!!!NC

                & Stephen

0001        Alicia                      Houston                          Monroeville                PA          THO802VA/JOH696MD

0171        Robert H.               Alford, MD                     Nashville                     TN          JOH790VA/JOH696MD

0470        William C.              Alford                              Nashville                     TN          JOH790VA/JOH696MD

                David                     Alford                              Nashville                     TN          JOH790VA/JOH696MD

                Allison Fontenot  Alford                              Nashville                     TN          JOH790VA/JOH696MD

0664        Mike & Betty        Heazel, Jr                         Severna Park               MD         JOH795VA/JOH696MD

0196        Arliene F.               Alford                              Hemphill                      TX          JOH801NC/!!!!!!NC

1272        Carl & MaryLee    Alford                              Muenster                     TX          JOH801NC/!!!!!!NC

0615        David                     Alford                              Alto                              TX          JOH801NC/!!!!!!NC

0303        Doris O. A.            Vetri                                  Mount Laurel              NJ           JOH801NC/!!!!!!NC

0835        Matt, Sunni           Alford                              Little Elm                      TX          JOH801NC/!!!!!!NC

                & Taylor

0230        Max & Earline       Alford                              Mesquite                     TX          JOH801NC/!!!!!!NC

0666        Peggy & Walt       Schuster                          Richardson                  TX          JOH801NC/!!!!!!NC

0208        Roy & Linda         Alford                              Montgomery               TX          JOH801NC/!!!!!!NC

0836        Samantha Kay      Alford                              Mesquite                     TX          JOH801NC/!!!!!!NC

0611        Charles & Joan     Alford                              Oakland                       CA          JOH807LA/JAM687VA

1054        Geraldine “Jerry”  Alford                              Mt. Hermon                 LA          JOH807LA/JAM687VA

0019        Gil & Mary            Alford, Jr                         Florissant                    MO         JOH807LA/JAM687VA

1227        Jessica Louise      Tedder                             Brooklyn                      NY          JOH807LA/JAM687VA

1259        Lorraine Alford     Mabus                             Amite                           LA          JOH807LA/JAM687VA

0270        Mary Alford          Davis                                Dallas                           TX          JOH807LA/JAM687VA

1142        Mildred J. Brock   Breeland                          Tylertown                    MS          JOH807LA/JAM687VA

0064        Patricia B.              Smith                                McComb                      MS          JOH807LA/JAM687VA

0120        Sally & Dick          Stoewer                            Baton Rouge               LA          JOH807LA/JAM687VA

0904        Helen & Bob         Steele                               Lakewood                    CO          JOS816LA/JAM687VA

0868        Frank M.                Pangburn                         Chico                            CA          LAN804VA/JOH696MD

0481        Evelyn Z.               Mistich                            Belle Chasse               LA          SEA807LA/JAM687VA

0544        John A.                  Rogers                             New Market                AL          TUR800NC/JAM687VA

0568        Kathy & John       Schultz                             Germantown                TN          WIL780VA/!!!!!!VA

1162        Diane G.                 Weathers                         Mt. Juliet                     TN          WIL783NC/JAM687VA

0658        Donna Graves       Ferrell                               Mt. Juliet                     TN          WIL783NC/JAM687VA

                Roy & Carolyn     Gregory                            Gallatin                         TN          WIL783NC/JAM687VA

0715        Ramona Alford     Darden                             Houston                      TX          WIL787VA/SAL716VA

0439        Earl & Pauline       Alford                              Liberty                         MS          WIL804GA/JAM687VA

0562        Patricia & Robert  Thorn                               Hitchcock                    TX          WIL812GA/JAM687VA

                Barbara                  Howell                              Memphis                     TN         

                Norm & Val           Tumlinson                       Athens                         TX