In New Brunswick, the last name “Steeves” is pretty common.
So common, in fact, that their family reunions have become the stuff of legends. In 1966, for example, the family held a parade–yes, a parade– to celebrate the 200th anniversary of their ancestors’ arrival to Canada. That’s why when the time came to celebrate their 250th anniversary, the Steeves clan kicked things up a notch.
This time the family didn’t just target people living in New Brunswick or the East Coast, they invited Steeves from all over the world to come down and mingle. As a result, Steeves from the U.S. and even ones from places as far away as Italy and France showed up.
Their goal? To break the Guinness World Record for having the most people with the same last name in the same place, at the same time.
The previous record had been set by the Gallaghers in 2007–an Irish family that managed to cram 1,488 of their relatives into one area. While organizer Susan Steeves estimates that roughly 1,900 Steeves showed up for the reunion, they still feel short of breaking the record. That’s because the fine print stated that relatives who changed their name through marriage, or those who inherited another variation on the original “Stieff” were disqualified from the count. As a result, the official number of Steeves dropped to 937–not enough to get their names in the record books.
The good news is, none of that seemed to matter.
“Not making the record upset us for about six seconds,” Event Chair Bobbi Steeves said.
The group was just happy to be reunited with such a large number of their relatives, Bobbi says. In many cases, relatives they’d never even met before.
The history of the Steeves dates back to 1766. That’s when Heinrich and Regina Stieff of Germany arrived in Canada with their seven sons, who went on to father 71 children. The Steeves family is now estimated to be about 300,000 relatives strong.
You can check out the reunion for yourself in the video above.