Chenault Family National Association


21-23 July 2023 Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina

Registration for the 74th Annual Chenault Family National Association Reunion commenced at 1:00 p.m. Friday, July 21, 2023, at The Doubletree By Hilton at the Raleigh-Durham Airport in North Carolina. The hospitality area opened providing informal visiting, as well as providing attendees an opportunity to examine various displays of family and reunion history, bid on silent auction items donated by attendees, and purchase souvenirs from the association. Attendees were also provided registration packets with name tags, meal tickets, programs, other printed material, and a few treats.

Friday Evening, July 21, 2023 —
The get-acquainted session began at 7:00 p.m. with a call to order by President Jerry A. Chenault. He welcomed attendees and asked Sue Chenault to make a few announcements about the weekend’s activities and logistics for the planned events. He then requested Richard Stockton handle the invocation.

President Chenault then announced that the reunion this year was being dedicated to a member who had been incredibly supportive of our annual reunions over several years both with her attendance and generosity. He asked Luisa deVarona Chenault to come forward. He then presented her with a proclamation declaring the dedication to her. He also provided her with a memory album with pictures of her with her family at several reunions and written memories and best wishes from her “cousins.” We celebrated “Aunt Luisa.”

President Chenault then invited each family group to the front of the room to introduce themselves and be photographed as has become our tradition in this session.

To encourage everyone to visit and get acquainted with one another, Program Committee Chairperson Libby Chenault introduced a game night. She provided several different board games and encouraged attendees to choose one and get involved with each other to enjoy a bit of fun. Refreshments were provided.

President Chenault made a few additional closing announcements and reminded attendees to be on time for the Saturday morning session to qualify for the drawing for door prizes. He then adjourned the session.

Saturday Morning Session, July 22, 2023 —
President Jerry Chenault called the meeting to order and welcomed everyone. He asked Sue Chenault to handle the drawing for door prizes. President Chenault then announced that the program originally scheduled to begin at 9:00 a.m., A Tour of Spitalfields England, would be delayed until 11:00 a.m. due to technical difficulties. Thus, the annual business meeting would begin and be followed by the program.

Saturday Morning Annual Business Meeting, July 22, 2023 —
President Chenault called the annual business meeting to order and asked Secretary Sue Chenault to give the invocation. He then asked her to present the minutes of the 2022 business meeting. Since the minutes had been posted on the website and copies were offered for review at registration, they were not read. Sue asked for any changes or additions, and when none were requested, a motion to approve the minutes was made and passed.

Treasurer Gus Mellick presented the financial report. Gus reminded attendees that the reporting period now covers a fiscal year from April1-March 30 of each reporting year to stabilize the income/outgo of finances and that the report he was now submitting was the first covering that revised reporting period. A brief discussion ensued regarding the newly established grants program and how donations to that fund were being handled. At the conclusion of that discussion, a motion to accept the report as presented was made and passed. Gus pointed out, as he had at the last meeting, that with the approval of the association as a 501 (c)(3) orgainzation, our grants program has taken shape and monies have already been set aside as received for that program. Our purpose directed toward education of our heritage as well as the strength of our bylaws helped in this effort. He thanked Larkin Chenault for his contribution to the revisions to our bylaws.

President Chenault then requested reports from the various committee chairpersons. Libby Chenault, Programs Chairperson, stated she hoped everyone enjoys the programs selected for presentation at this reunion with the focus on our Huguenot heritage. She encouraged members to offer suggestions for future programs. Larkin Chenault, Bylaws Committee chairperson, had nothing to report as no revisions are needed at this time. Sue Chenault reported on the Newsletter/Website Committee and the Genealogy Committee, both being committees of one at this time. She indicated that the revised newsletter format proposed at the last meeting seemed to work very well. It was sent to all members in the directory either by email or Usmail. While none of those emailed rejected, about 60 of those sent via Usmail were returned, with some due to recipient being deceased and other due to address issues. Each returned letter was researched with attempts to contact the individual via telephone or email if their directory entry included that information. To date onliy a few of those individuals have responded. Thus, the non-responders are being removed from the directory since no contact information exists for them. Sue indicated that several requests from family researchers for information from the master file of descendants have been processed, and many resulted in requests to purchase the Redbook. President Chenault thanked the committee chairpersons for their reports.

As no unfinished business was offered, President Chenault called for a discussion regarding sites for the 2024 reunion. He indicated that since it will be the 75th reunion, two suggestions have been made. One was that we return to the site of the first reunion which was held at Fair Park in Dallas, TX. The other was Williamsburg, VA, the site of the 2001 reunion, and near where our ancestor landed in America. Both have merit. Another part of the discussion needs to address the subject considered in previous meetins about having the reunions every two years instead of annually. And, a third aspect of the discussion needs to be directed toward the date of the reunions, i.e., is the 2nd or 3rd weekend in July the best time. The conclusion of the ensuing discussion was that a questionnaire should be developed and emailed to as many members as possible to solicit input covering the mentioned subjects. Then, set up a Zoom meeting to discuss the results and make a decision. This was agreed upon by all present.

President Chenault then indicated that in the absence of a slate of officers for 2023-2024 due to various reasons discusses, the suggestion has been received to continue with the current officers until such time as new incumbents have been identified. This means that they are: Jerry Chenault, President; Steve Chenault, 1st VP; Gus Mellick, Treasurer; and Sue Chenault, Secretary/Historian. A motion to accept the recommendation was made, seconded and passed. A motion was also made and passed to keep the same individuals in place as the Nominating Committee for 2024-2025.

No other new business was offered, so President Chenault thanked everyone and adjourned the business meeting.

Saturday Morning Session Continuation, July 22, 2023 —
Following a brief break, the program, Tour of Spitalfields England, was introduced. The Zoom presentation by Tim Kidd, tour guide, was initiated. Huguenot settlers moved to the area outside of London in the 1600's and established the area that became known as Spitalfields. Mr. Kidd’s tour of the historic area that still exists and its history was a huge hit with reunion attendees, with one remarking that he intends to visit the site on his next trip to England.

At the conclusion of the tour and following questions addressed by Mr. Kidd, President Chenault adjourned the morning session.

Annual Banquet and Installation of Officers, Saturday Dinner, Jul 22, 2023 —
After everyone was seated for dinner, President Jerry Chenault called the session to order and requested Charlie Mellick, our chaplain, to offer a blessing for the gathering.

The after-dinner speaker, Ann Mueller, was introduced by Libby Chenault. Mrs. Mueller received an MBA from Kenan-Flagler business school and went on to a distinguished career as a Supply Chain Executive with the US Postal Service, retiring in 2018. This has given her more time to pursue her passions for North Carolina history and genealogy. She is the past president of the NC Huguenot Society and also holds membership in the DAR, Colonial Dames of the Seventeenth Century, Daughters of 1812 and Order of First Families of North Carolina. The subject of the presentation by Ms. Mueller was “Finding Hidden Huguenots in Your Family Tree.” It was an interesting presentation that touched upon Huguenot migration and some of the notable historic figures in American history who came from Huguenot ancestors, as well as how to look for those in our own ancestry beyond our Chenault connections.

The results of the Silent Auction were announced by Kari Mellick, and the “bread basket” was passed according to our tradition.

Memorial thoughts and a slide presentation honoring those cousins appearing on the 2023 Memorial Honor Roll and Remembrance was presented by Charlie Mellick.

Following the memorial, President Chenault said that in view of the existing officers remaining in their position for the present time, no installation of officers or passing of the gavel, so to speak, will be necessary. Thus, he asked Gus Mellick to give the results of the “bread basket” contribution, Following closing remarks by President Jerry Chenault, the reunion was adjourned.

Carolyn Sue Chenault, secretary/historian