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Minerd family continues to celebrates history

| Saturday, June 29, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Rachel Basinger | For the Daily Courier
Barb Minerd looks at a photo of the very first Minerd family reunion held at Ohiopyle in 1913.
Rachel Basinger | For the Daily Courier
Anita Snyder whose mother’s grandmother was a Minerd, looks over some old photographs during a recent reunion.

For one century now, the Minerd family has been gathering for a reunion.

And they did so again this year in the Indian Head area.

The Minerd family originated with a pioneer Pennsylvania German couple, Jacob and Maria Minerd, who settled in Fayette County.

In 1913, members of the Minerd family came together for a reunion at Ohiopyle. The reunions lasted until about 1930 and then stopped for decades before starting up again in 1986.

Mark Miner of Brighton, Beaver County, has been instrumental in keeping the reunions going in recent years, organizing them each year since 1995.

“I've tried to slow this down three different times in my life, but it hasn't worked, so I'm probably in it for the duration,” he said. “I'm hoping the seeds planted today bear roots 50 years from now for the next generation or two of the family.”

Miner has also put together the nationally recognized Minerd family website, minerd.com, that has helped link family members from all over the country in recent years.

Barbara Minor Adler of Tampa, Fla., attended the family reunion for the first time in her life last week.

“Her family left here in 1813 and went to Ohio and then to Tennessee, Boston, New Jersey and finally Florida,” said Miner. “She found photos of her great-grandfather and knew nothing but names until she found our website and made contact.”

Miner was able to help Adler connect her ancestry line to one of the branches of the Minerd family, and that was enough to bring her to Indian Head to take part in the family reunion.

The family of Terre Carson-Jones of Virginia left the Fayette County area back in 1817, and this is the second reunion she has attended since finding out more information on her family history.

“This just illustrates the power of our website,” Miner said. “We're reaching hundreds and thousands of cousins. No matter where they find themselves today, their ancient roots are here in Fayette County.”

Local descendents have been taking part in the family reunions over the years, including Barb Minerd and her husband Rick of Lemont Furnace, who have been attending since 1994.

“I'm very big on family and family connections, and I've been doing our genealogy since the 1980s,” she said. “When working on the Minerd side, I came to a brick wall until someone connected me with Mark (Miner). It's amazing the amount of information people have accumulated.”

Barb Minerd said the reunion provides a sense of connection for everyone from locals to those traveling from other parts of the country.

Miner wishes he knew why being so involved in the family history was so important to him, but it's something that he feels very strongly about.

“To me, family has always meant everything in the here and now,” he said. “To know that our family has been part of the story of Western Pennsylvania and Americana is terribly exciting and endlessly fascinating.”

Rachel Basinger is a freelance writer.

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