Bellware Family Reunion 2006

Holiday Inn Oceanfront Resort, Cocoa Beach, Florida

Group Photo Saturday June 24, 2006

Six years after meeting up north in Canada, the Bellwares gathered in sunny Florida, the final home of John Shirley Bellware. The American Bellwares have found a home in Florida since the mid-1940s. John Shirley Bellware first considered moving there prior to World War I but was delayed until after World War II. His sons Jack, Con and George (Pete) followed. Some came on a part-time and others on a full-time basis. John Shirley's grandsons Ron and Richard came later along with Verna, his widowed daughter -in-law. Florida now ranks as one of the highest concentrations of Bellwares America.

Cynthia and Donald Kramer organized and Dick and Jeanne Bellware of Cocoa Beach played host to family members from Belize, Quebec, Arizona, Colorado, New Jersey, Texas, Arkansas, Georgia, Michigan, Delaware, Vermont and of course, Florida.

A major announcement was made at the first day's meeting. After years of wondering, Daniel Bellware of Georgia and Claude Bellware of Quebec were found to be "tightly related" through a DNA test. Both participated in National Geographic's Genographic Project and later upgraded their test results with Family Tree DNA. They also announced the establishment of a surname project to find other relatives using surname variants in North America and Europe.


This reunion's organizers, Cynthia and Donald Kramer shown with Cynthia's kids, Joe, Kristen and Ken and Ken's friend Michelle. Left to right, Joe Hughes, Cynthia Kramer, Donald Kramer, Kristen Hughes, Michelle and Ken Hughes. Uncle Dan can be seen in the background.


Iona and Marge do some catching up at the first night's "meet 'n' greet."


Dan announced the results of DNA testing on himself and Claude - "Our relationship was proven scientifically!" There is now an official surname project to find other relatives in North America and Europe where no historical documents exist. Left to right, here's Claude, Helene and Dan.



Jack explains the plans for the 2008 reunion at Pokagon State Park near Angola, Indiana


Some took advantage of the attractions in the area. The weather was great. Here's Katherine and Daniel at the beach. A few went on a gambling cruise from Port Canaveral and others visited the Kennedy Space Center nearby.


Even though they couldn't be there, Jean Lewis sent buttons and Christine Higbie sent personalized M&Ms that read "Bellware Reunion" and "Florida 2006"


There was plenty of food at Dick and Jeanne's house.

Everyone ate...



... and talked...


... and talked...


... and talked.



Dessert was an enormous cake.


There were plenty of other activities including table tennis and a mini-pool table as well as swimming.


Lots of pictures were taken.



And every family was photographed. Here are the Horns from Colorado - Abby, J, Emily, Miles Hannah and Claudia.


Photos were also taken for each state represented. Here's the Michigan Bellwares Gloria, Jack, Marge and Joanne.

The Bellwares of Southwest Michigan will organize the next reunion in 2008. Join us at Pokagon State Park near Angola, Indiana for the 40th anniversary celebration of the first Bellware Family Reunion. As always, it promises to be a great one. You can get a preview by visiting their website at See you all there.

 I will gladly accept additional photos and commentary from anyone who would like to contribute. Just email your information by clicking on my name below.


This page is maintained by Daniel A. Bellware and was last updated June 29, 2006