Sunday, April 10, 2016

Going Forward

by Glenn N. Holliman

Thoughts to Share and Feedback Welcome

Our first national gathering of the Christopher Hollyman Families Society was held March 31 - April 2, 2016 in Smithfield, Virginia.  Judging from the comments and photographs posted on Face Book, it proved to be the grand experience the organizers hoped it would be.  Allen Holleman and I met with Sarah Barlow Wright, Joe Barlow and Billy Joe Holleman in October 2015 to carve the outlines of a three day event.  Allen kindly took on the job of coordinating meeting and residence space and registration.

Left, part of the group at our gathering space for our meetings, Billy Joe Holleman in the blue shirt and Brenda Holloman, right, in white.

The Smithfield Inn, where we had dinner on March 31st, had the only private room in town with a restaurant attached (or the other way around).  We originally thought the service and space would be fine for say 25 or so who might attend, even believing the rooms available at the Smithfield Inn would be sufficient for out-of-towners.

Wow, did you surprise us!  Almost sixty persons registered (some could not make it at the last minute) pleasantly forcing Allen to reach out to the Hampton Inn for lodging, meeting space and to bring in a food truck for meals.  And he did all this from Raleigh, North Carolina, a lot of work for which we are all grateful.  

Right, Mike Holliman, Jimmy Holliman, Norman Holliman and Becky Holliman Payne, all with Alabama roots.

And Billy Joe and wife went over the top, not only escorting us around the Holleman House, providing a hay ride to the possible resting place of Christopher Hollyman and other descendants, but then feeding us Smithfield Ham, cookies and hot and cold drinks at the Mill Swamp Baptist Church.  That church is the first Baptist Church planted in Virginia and was founded in part by the Hollemans.  The land for the cemetery adjacent to the church was donated by Hollemans from Christopher's original 1,020 acres.

Joe Parker, center in the light blue shirt, helped 'supervise' the generous ham sandwich snack at Mill Swamp.   

Besides the emotional experience of standing on historic Hollyman ground and the delightful opportunity to meet so many new cousins, the conference provided education on mutual family history and discussion on formalizing a Hollyman society.  Some of these outcomes I reported in the recent April  5, 2016 post.  

One thought in particular was the desire to meet again, to hold another Gathering, perhaps in two years, and perhaps even in England, the ancestral European home of Christopher's descendants. 

So the purpose of this blog is really a questionnaire asking for your feed back.  May I ask you to send your comments to please.  Whether you attended earlier this month or not, we would welcome your opinion as we go forward in planning.

1. If and when another Gathering is held, where should it be?

2. Should we meet at a conference hotel with an in-house restaurant, meeting rooms and an indoor pool for children who might attend with parents and/or grandparents?  

3. Or should we hold the Gathering at a less expensive conference center in the woods, perhaps a bit more rustic setting and facilities but at a lower cost?  And such might not be near an Interstate Highway or airport.

4. Should it be held at or near a historic Holliman landmark, such as Samuel Holliman's 1741 restored home in Edgecombe County, North Carolina?  Or should we stay in the Jamestown/Richmond, Virginia area, our common American ancestral home?

5. Would one have an interest in holding a Gathering in Buckinghamshire, England and visit historic sites in High Wycombe, Cuddington, Dinton, Sherington and Bedford, Bedfordshire?  Obviously this would require a lot of planning and appropriate expense.

Below in 2014, Carolyn Stonham, owner of the 1699 Holyman House in Cuddington, Buckingshire, England with cousins Lindsay Holliman of England and Glenn Holliman of Pennsylvania, USA.  This thatch cottage would be an important stop on a Hollyman ancestral tour of England.

In my next post, I will get into agenda building.  As one plans a conference, one wants to offer subject matter that is meaningful to as many as possible.  That is why we met in Isle of Wight County, Virginia and began our program with the latest research on our English roots. Everyone there had that interest in common.  

So more thoughts and opinion seeking in the next blog.  Enough for now.  Please take a moment to respond to the above questions.  

Again, just write me at or leave a comment below. I will 'combine' thoughts and share the findings.

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