This is one of the earliest family reunions the Nances had. It was hosted by by my great-grandparents, J.E. and Mamie Gilley Nance, who are pictured in the far right. J.E. is the taller man wearing a black hat and Mamie is to his left, with glasses. My dad and uncle are the two boys dressed in the cowboy outfits. My dad is the shorter one.

In approximately 12 hours I’ll be headed to Detroit for my family reunion. This is a biennial tradition that I look forward to because learning about my family helps me learn so much more about myself. My great-grandfather, J.E. Nance, invited his brothers and sisters and their children over quite frequently (see picture above). In 1981, the tradition started again and the Nances have had reunions since then. They’re usually hosted in Enterprise, Ala., but the locales also represent the many paths the Nances have taken. We’ve been to Tuscaloosa, Ala., Lakeland, Fla., Daytona Beach, Fla., Gary, Ind., and even my hometown, Herndon, Va.

In 2005, I introduced “Name That Nance,” a trivia game designed to help the Nances learn more about their ancestors and living relatives. Judging by the, um, spirited competition, it was well-received. I think that’s a good indicator that “Name That Nance II: The Showdown” will go over fairly well. Stay tuned.