A reunion with history

Published 6:56 pm Saturday, June 24, 2017

Locals and travelers from all over the country met in Suffolk on Friday, all of them united by a common ancestor.

The annual reunion for the Joseph Vick Family of America is being held at the Hampton Inn on Centerbrooke Lane through Sunday. Members of the nonprofit organization are meeting for a workshop and presentations about their genealogical research and ancestry, plus a presentation on Nat Turner and another on its impact on Vick family history.

Members are connected by common ancestor, Joseph Vick. He first appeared in the records of the English Colony of Virginia in 1675, when he was deeded 50 acres of the Beaver Dam Swamp in Isle of Wight County by Hodges Council, according to a press release.

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“We know he was a hard worker, because he continued to increase his plantation,” said Gailen Vick, JVFOA member and founder of Reverse Logistics Association in Utah. “He got married, had children and worked hard.”

Joseph Vick is believed to have died in Isle of Wight County before 1704. The JVFOA has about 200 members, and more than 20,000 Americans are thought to be part of the Vick bloodline, according to the press release.

“That’s pretty amazing to think about,” said JVFOA member and Southampton County resident Joseph Vick. “You never know what might happen from your actions.”

The Vick Y-DNA Project is being conducted to identify a direct, patrilineal line of Joseph’s male descendants through genetic testing. There is also a Vick and Allied Families DNA Project that uses the 23andMe PGS test and surveys women.

Larry Vick, director of this research, gave a presentation on Saturday about how the Vick and Ablett families share a common ancestor that takes their search back to England. He said the goal is to identify Joseph’s family history prior to his arrival in America.

“We know Joseph — he’s in the Virginia records — but there’s no record of who his parents were or where they came from,” Larry said.

He said members are curious about the mysteries of their shared history and filling in the gaps.

“We enjoy learning and sharing,” he said.

Kenny Vick delivered a keynote presentation with Frank Vick and Barbara Tierney on the colonization of the Vick family and observations of colonial life in Virginia during the 17th and 18th centuries.

Kenny Vick traveled from California to attend this reunion.

“My interest in Vick family genealogy motivated me to come all this way and be a part of it,” he said.

Gailen Vick said this family’s story was deeply tied to American history.

“You come here with nothing, work hard and create something,” he said. “That’s the American way.”

Visit jvfoa.com for more information about the organization.