2014 Reunion and Annual Meeting Registration Now Open


32nd Annual Meeting – Charlotte, North Carolina – June 19 – 22, 2014

Close-in photo of Charlotte NC skyline at sunsetThe 2014 Annual Meeting of the Society of John Gaither Descendants, hosted by Jo Ann Bondurant and Arleen McGinn, will be held in the “Queen City”, Charlotte, North Carolina. Charlotte is the perfect place for a family reunion. With indoor and outdoor activities for family members of all ages – and hundred of restaurants to please any palate – you’ll never run out of memories to make. Let’s all use this opportunity to encourage every Gaither you know, from all four-corners of the country and beyond, to join us.

Jo Ann and Arleen have worked hard to create a fun-filled gathering. There will be bus tours, carriage rides, and visits to the Billy Graham Library. There are plenty of social options for visiting cousins, meeting new ones, and sharing Gaither stories and information! During the three days there will be opportunities to attend professional educational sessions and informal round-table discussions. This is sure to be one of the most exciting and fun packed annual meetings ever.

There are a limited number of hotel rooms at the special Gaither rate. Click here to read more and register.

Also, leave a Reply below and let us know that you’re attending and what you hope to do at this year’s reunion.  We look forward to seeing you in June.

Okay, I’m at the new Gaither web site, What do I do now?


This new web site is intended to keep you informed about the Society, help you with your genealogy research, and help you stay in touch with your distant cousins.  The site has several new features and more to come.  To keep informed and to take advantage of those features there are two things you should do immediately:

To Access All of the Features:

  • At the top of the right-hand column, in the LOGIN AREA, Click on Register and complete the form.  Within a few minutes, you will shortly receive an email with a special one- Continue reading

Obituary – Anita Joan York

Anita-York-109x150Anita Joan York, 49, of Statesville, passed away Wednesday, April 2, 2014 at Iredell Memorial Hospital. She was born in Iredell County on August 17, 1964 to Duke Lincoln York and Martha Ann Gaither York, both of Statesville.

Anita was a graduate of Starmount High School and was a member of Horizon Church. She was loved and cared for by her parents and sisters. Her life was difficult at times but she was always surrounded by love. Her smile will be missed by all that knew her. Continue reading

Obituary – Jerry Stephen Swiggett


Jerry Stephen Swiggett, 57, passed away unexpectedly on Sunday, March 30, 2014.

Jerry was born on May 27, 1956 in Kinston, NC, the son of Henry G. and Alice Marie Whitehurst Swiggett. He grew up in Danville, VA with his family and graduated from George Washington High School with the class of 1974. He graduated from Guilford College with a BA in Accounting and later graduated with a BS Degree in Nursing from Winston Salem State University.
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2014 National Genealogical Society Conference

Genealogists of all skill levels will meet at the NGS 2014 Family History Conference in Richmond,Virginia,7‒10 May 2014. The program features ten tracks per day covering a broad array of topics including records for Virginia and its neighboring states; migration into and out of the region; military records; state and federal records; ethnic groups including African Americans, Germans, Irish, and Ulster Scots; methodology; analysis and problem solving; and the use of technology including genetics, mobile devices, and apps useful in genealogical research.

For more information, visit http://conference.ngsgenealogy.org/

Obituary – Fannie Lillian Gaither, née Frick

Mrs. Fannie Lillian Frick Gaither, 107, of Granite Quarry, passed away Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014, at the Lutheran Home at Trinity Oaks in Salisbury. She was born Oct. 25, 1906, in Rowan County to the late Jones and Emma Eagle Frick.Fannie Gaither

She was married to Jehu Gaither, the son of William Henry Gaither, Grandson of Elijah Gaither, great-grandson of Zacariah, and great-great grandson of Benjamin.

Mrs. Gaither attended Rowan County Schools and Misenheimer Missionary College, now Pfeiffer University, where she had the distinct honor of being the eldest surviving alumnus. A member of Shiloh United Methodist Church, she taught Sunday School and was a member of the women’s group. Mrs. Gaither was a faithful Christian woman, who loved people and was extremely devoted to her Lord and family. She enjoyed vacationing with her family, fishing, gardening and flowers. Continue reading

Obituary – Belle Cox, née Stroud

Mrs. Belle Stroud Cox, age 95, passed away Tuesday, January 2nd, 2013. She was born in High Point, North Carolina to Jenny Gaither and W.D. Stroud on November 22, 1918. Mrs. Cox worked at Western Electric for 30 years and was a member of Maple Springs United Methodist church for over 70 years.Belle Cox

Belle was the daughter of Jenny Gaither Stroud, who was the daughter of William Henry Gaither,who was the son of Elijah Gaither. Her father was W.D. Stroud, who was the son of Sarah Gaither Stroud, who was the daughter of Wiley Gaither.

Belle had been a resident at Arbor Acres for the last 25 years. Mrs. Cox especially enjoyed working in her garden and wintering in Fort Myers with her late husband, Mr. C.C. Cox who passed away in 2002. In addition to her husband, she was preceded in death by her son-in-law Mr. Marty Bell. Mrs. Cox is survived by her two daughters, Jeanette Bell, of Raleigh, NC and Dee Petersen and husband Walt of West Jefferson, one grandson Chris Petersen and wife Amy, and three great-grandchildren, Ben, Sam, and Hannah, three special nieces and nephews, Ann Rhoades, Jim Stroud, and Linda Eriksson. The family would like to thank Mrs. Cox’s caregiver Phyllis Curry for the special and loving care that she gave her.

Memorials may be made to Maple Springs UMC Capital Fund, 2569 Reynolda Rd, Winston-Salem, NC 27106.

Obituary – Rebecca H. Elliot

Becky_Elliott_photo_1967Rebecca H. Elliot, age 88, passed away Wednesday, August 28, 2013. She was preceded in death by her husband, Samuel H. Elliott, her parents, George Brown Hill and Hannah Gaither Hill, and her brother, George Brown Hill, Jr. She is survived by a step-daughter, Jeanne Elliott Ruff, and two step-grandchildren, Carter Ruff and Jennifer Ruff Ramburro. Becky was born in Pittsburgh on January 25, 1925. She was a graduate of Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University and was a Registered Nurse. Becky and Sam married at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Washington D.C. on July 20, 1963. Becky was a member of Society of John Gaither Descendants and served on its Board of Directors beginning in 1985.   Continue reading

More Gaither Connection Past Issues

Thanks to the tireless efforts of scanning past issues of The Gaither Connection by Arleen McGinn, eight issues from the late 1980s and early 1990s have been added to the Gaither website.  This brings the number of issues posted on the website to 18 out of the over 60 that have been published since the Society was founded in 1984.

There is a treasure trove of information in the newsletters and the intention is to have all past issues eventually scanned and placed on the website.  Past issues of The Gaither Connection are provided only to paid members of the Society.

Interesting tidbits from just these eight new issues include:

  • Incoming SGJD president Rowan Gaither, an attorney with the U.S. Department of State, implored members to “obtain as much information from your elders as possible” and to “record it in a format that can be preserved.”
  •  Touring the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and hearing from gospel music legends Bill and Gloria Gaither during the 1989 Reunion
  • How the efforts of Benjamin Gaither changed the named of Log Town (c. 1765) to Gaithersburg in Maryland after he arrived in 1802, surveyed his tract of land he called “Self Preservation” and built his home, tavern-store, and blacksmith shop
  • The unpublished papers of George Riggs Gaither regaling stories of Ralph de Gader from 11th-century England.

To see all 18 issues, click on The Gaither Connection in the black band at the top of this page.

Photos from the 2013 Annual Meeting

Photos from the 2013 Annual Meeting have been uploaded to the Society of John Gaither Descendants website.  The 30+ photos taken by Arleen McGinn show SJGD members at many of the activities and events of this year’s reunion.  You can access the photos by CLICKING HERE.

If you have photos you would like to add to the website, please use the form below to let us know and we will contact you.

President’s Message from Johnny D. Gaither

J. D. GaitherGreetings from the President’s Desk and Hey to all my Gaither Cousins!!!

I’ll start by saying, if you did not attend the reunion in Washington DC & Alexandria VA, you missed out on a great opportunity to meet with some wonderful folks and share some great times… Mack and Rebecca Gaither did a marvelous job as Host, I would like to personally and publicly “Thank Them” for all their time and effort invested to achieve this successful reunion. Our clan began to arrive early, maybe Tuesday or Wednesday at Embassy Suites on Diagonal Road in Alexandria.

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