2nd International Coubrough Family Reunion - another success!

Readers of these pages will recall that the first ever International Coubrough Family Reunion took place in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, in the middle of a heat wave and the accompanying drought.  Things could hardly have been different for the second edition. Held this past Easter weekend in Katikati, New Zealand, this year's reunion was accompanied by two days of cold, driving rain--that didn't manage to dampen anyone's spirits. We had a great party.

Saturday morning, April 19, dawned grey and drizzly, but not cold, at least not to Canadians! Around 10 AM, about 30 people gathered at the Katikati RSA hall for coffee and muffins—and Talk! Some of us were young (under 20 years) and some of us had been around for a little longer—80 years or more for some of us.  As last time, we were from all walks of life; we were housewives, farmers, nurses, personal-care workers, students, businessmen and women, lawyers, biologists, pilots, historians, environmentalists, Churchmen, and soldiers. Once again, we were from three of the four main branches so far identified, but not the same three branches as last time.  As one might expect, nearly all those present were New Zealanders, mostly descendants of Malcolm Coubrough and Jean Buchanan (married 1796). Some of the "locals" were the fourth generation born there, some were newcomers who had moved there within the last year or two, and one was the sole representative of the Strathblane line (John Coubrough and Jonet Buchanan, married about 1703).  We were a few "foreigners," too: a couple of native New Zealanders who had abandoned civilization to move to the end of the world (otherwise known as Australia); and five from beyond the edge of imagination -- two Canadians and three Americans, representing the descendants of James Coubrough and Jean Muir (married about 1785).

By this time, everyone knows that there are hundreds of Coubroughs all over the world, but that didn't stop anyone from discussing those vague, shadowy Scots ancestors. As starting points, there were printouts of the Malcolm Coubrough-Jean Buchanan family tree, with computerized versions of the others, and there were lots and lots of pictures to talk about. And talk we did, for most of the afternoon, until about 3PM, when, under the guidance of ladies from the local tourism office, we went for an hour’s stroll to enjoy murals of the town’s history. It was just starting to spit rain when we returned to the hall for tea and a lovely chocolate cake, which bore the traditional greeting "ceud mile fàílte!"(a hundred thousand welcomes!). Of course, you can’t have tea and cake without more talk, so that’s what we did. The time before supper was filled by telling each other a bit about our own lives, our immediate families, and how we got where we are. Most of the talks were fairly short. Yours truly, however, never one to pass up a captive audience, gave a short spiel with a bit of the family history and a condensed version of the Coubrough surname project. (My victims' opinions may differ!) 

By the time we had finished, the folks at the RSA kitchen had supper ready. A buffet supper of ham, chicken, and vegetables was followed by dessert of pavlova, fruit salad and brandy snaps, all accompanied by ... you guessed it: more talk. By about 9 pm, everyone seemed to be all talked out at last. The end of the evening was marked by a mass exodus into a driving rainstorm.

A gentle downpour on Sunday morning wasn't enough to stop our party-goers from boarding a bus for a scenic trip (with stops for lunch and shopping, of course) to Tiaru, located in the west-central North Island. It was here that Malcolm Coubrough, son of Archibald Coubrough and Margaret Pairman, settled when he moved to New Zealand in the last quarter of the 19th century. (Malcolm and Alice were great-granparents of our reunion host.) Strangely for us northern hemisphere folks, Easter is late fall in New Zealand. Stranger still is a climate where everything was greener in the fall than we have in the spring. In spite of its being almost winter, the "home farm," with thick, intensely green grass covering its rolling hills, was breathtakingly beautiful—even in the rain. The farm is still in the family today, operated by one of Malcolm and Alice’s great-grandsons, and by one of their grandsons.

Upon return to the RSA, we found that supper was once again ready. (Are you detecting the theme here? I think we spent most of our time in New Zealand eating!) After supper—and more talk—we made our farewells amid hugs and promises to write. 

I would like to thank our hosts, Geoff and Donna, for giving us a great time. Thank you also to everyone who brought pictures, and contributed updates and/or corrections to the family trees. We couldn't do it without you. All in all, I would have to say that it was another successful reunion.

Apparently, the reunion bug is contagious. Overheard were plans were for at least two more to come, so start saving your pennies.... If you would like to host a Coubrough/Cowbrough Family Reunion, just let me know. I would be delighted to help spread the word.


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