150 Years Of History Brings Family Back To East Texas

For members of the Starnes family, it was welcome home to Tyler even though some of them had never been there before.

"To know that you're walking on the same ground that your ancestors walked on and you're seeing the same sights," Californian Robin Evans said, "It's just a wonderful feeling."

The Starnes family reunion brought almost sixty people from eight different states. The family started in Lindale over 150 years ago, and that beginning still ties them. Les Starnes came from Oceanside, California, for this year's gathering.

"I think the numbers that come," Les says, "Attest to the fact that everyone enjoys going back to their roots. It's a solidifying point that you can do everything else from, so it's very important."

Many of these relatives had never met before, at least not in person.

"I have known some of these people through email for three years," Robin says, "And now I finally get to meet them face to face. To see all of these people and know they are your cousins and they're related to you, you're just so overwhelmed."

So after plane rides and car trips and a long weekend together, this family's future is even closer because of their past.

"I think every family needs it," Jaunice York of Waco says, "Because where are we if we don't know where we came from?"

Reid Kerr (rkerr@kltv.com) reporting.