The Alford American Family Association
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AAFA 11th Annual Meeting and Family Reunion

Alford American Family Association, Inc.

1998--October 9-10-11, Paducah, KY at J.R.'s Executive Inn.

Jimmie Alford, who has Kentucky roots and encouraged many of his relatives to attend, hosted this year's meeting. About 150 attendees represented at least 48 of our identified branches. The meeting began as usual with registration Friday morning at 8:00, with Treasurer Doris Vetri and Secretary Max Alford making sure it went smoothly. Genealogical workshops on Friday covered such topics as how and where to access various records such as census, county courthouse, federal government, military. Part of the Friday workshop was dedicated to various computer programs that help you manage and manipulate your genealogical records. The workshop was conducted by Lynn Shelley, our Vice President, assisted by several other members who generously volunteered to give presentations. As in other years, the Friday night reception had the second highest attendance (the Saturday night buffet was the largest gathering). The serving tables were on opposite sides of the room which kept the crowd mingling.

After the reception, the Board of Directors held its annual meeting to discuss business issues and finalize the proposed slate of candidates for the 1998-99 Board. The Saturday morning business meeting was opened by host Jimmie Alford and Ramona Darden, meetings chairwoman. After opening remarks, the meeting was turned over to President Gil Alford. Before getting down to the serious business, prizes were awarded in various categories (newest member, oldest member, etc.). Following reports from various officers and committee chairs, Wick Alford, Chairman of Human Resources, presided over the election of the new Board of Directors. The slate of candidates prepared by the Human Resources Committee was elected unanimously. The new Board includes four new members: Jare M. Pearigen, Ramona A. Darden, Harris M. Alford, Joyce C. Foster. Re-elected returning members are: Cecil O. Alford, Gil Alford, Max R. Alford, Sally Stoewer, Lynn D. Shelley, Pamela Thompson , Doris O. Vetri. The outgoing members of the Board of Directors--Paul W. Alford, Nolan David Alford, JoLynn Alford Long, and Janice Smith--were presented certificates of appreciation on Saturday night for a job well done during their tenure of service. Immediately after the election, the new Board convened and re-elected our current officers for the coming year from a list of nominees prepared by the Human Resources Committee. Ramona Darden then presided over selection of a site for our 2002 meeting (1999 Texas, 2000 Georgia, and 2001 North Carolina). After much discussion, Salt Lake City, Utah, was selected as the site for our meeting in 2002. The 1998 business meeting was then gavelled to a close.

The Saturday afternoon Alford Forum was hosted by President Gil Alford. His presentation covered the Alford migration across the U.S. As he covered the lineages of those in attendance, he recognized those in the audience who belonged to that particular line. Presentations were also made by Dr. R.M. "Dick" Alford, Mike Heazel, Jimmie Alford, Milton Folds, John and Janice Smith, and Dr. Cecil Alford. The presentations covered family migrations of some of the different family groups. The Saturday night buffet was delicious and enjoyed by all. After everyone had eaten, two inductions were made into the Alford American Family Association's Hall of Fame. Alicia Houston was inducted for all the work she has done guiding the extraction of census data from the beginning to the last census released. She has to go back many generations before she finds an Alford ancestor, but she has really put in a lot of time and effort into helping AAFA attain its goals--and she's done so since the very beginning of AAFA. Lynn Shelley, our Vice-President, was also inducted into the Hall of Fame. She has served as Vice-President for several years. She is also very involved in genealogical research and has traveled extensively at her own expense to do some of the research. Both Lynn and Alicia have distant Alford-named ancestors, but more tireless workers and promoters of AAFA would be hard to find. Many members were also honored as Distinguished Members for their work over the past year. Lodwick "Wick" Alford, chair of the Human Resources Committee, introduced our first memorial service for deceased members. His committee is responsible for maintaining the AAFA memorial album which contains information and photographs, to the extent available, of all deceased AAFA members. The album was available for viewing and will be at all future meetings. Wick read the names of the recently deceased members, after which the Reverend Ben R. Alford led attendees in a special prayer. After the awards were presented, the drawings for the raffle prizes were held. Elroy and Jan Alford make wonderful curios and craft items, and like they did at the California meeting last year, they donated two of them to be raffled off at the buffet: a beautiful wooden angel and a charming birdhouse. Doris Alford, our treasurer, donated a cross-stitched Christmas stocking and a cross-stitched sampler for the raffle also.The proceeds from the always-popular raffle go into the Alford American Family Association's general fund. We thank everyone for their support of this effort-buyers, sellers, and especially the prize contributors. Sunday morning the research room was open for some last-minute research and saying last-minute goodbyes as the meeting drew to a close. An important aspect of the meeting is providing access to a lot of the Alford material that Gil Alford keeps in his basement (or Alford Central as he refers to it) and the notebooks containing census data that Alicia Houston brings to the meeting. But just as important is the camaraderie that builds between members. Friday and Saturday nights it is not uncommon to find groups sitting in the hotel lobby chatting until the wee hours of the morning. Victor Alford was in charge of procuring chairs Friday night and I think he relocated almost every chair in the hotel to a group that started out small but grew significantly before everyone retired. There are members who make almost every meeting and god kept alive by attendance at the meetings.

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