Well, tis the season for family reunions and a couple of weeks ago I attended the 100th Anniversary One-Family Bechtel Reunion at Ringing Rocks Park near Pottstown, PA. The reunion commemorated the 100th Anniversary of a reunion organized in 1909 by Jesse Bechtel. The purpose then (as now) was to include descendants of the first six Bechtel men (Abraham, Christopher, George, Hans Jacob, John, and John George) who settled in the area in the early to mid 1700s, as well as other Bechtels (all spelling variations) who may have came later.
The event was organized by “Cousin Judy” from Ohio. She did an absolutely amazing job!! In addition to the food (some catered and some brought by attendees), there were games, a professional photographer, and literally tables full of genealogy materials (books, charts, photos, newspaper clippings, posters, etc), as well as an unbelievably long “multi-family” descendant chart. She also planned and presented a very nice ceremony, including “George, the immigrant” as a guest speaker. She must have spent countless hours planning it all, and the result was just amazing – a very nice mix of formal activities as well as plenty of time to mingle to get to know long lost cousins. Many kudos to “Cousin Judy” and all of her helpers!!!
Of course, in preparing to go to the Bechtel reunion I went back over my Bechtel research. I have 2 lines of descent from the immigrant called “John George.” One is on my Dad’s side and the other on my Mom’s. (So yes, my parents are distant cousins to each other, blissfully ignorant of that fact until I started to dig up the family tree!!) I also have a potential link to Christopher Bechtel on my Mom’s side, but before I can actually claim that one, I need more proof on the parentage of one of my 4th great-grandfathers. He died young leaving a wife and two young daughters and it has been very difficult to get information on him. At this point, the parents to which I have him linked are more of an “educated” guess. Anyway, I have been reviewing all my Bechtel-related research and information and will soon be updating it on my website.