Amid great excitement, ten descendants of Thomas and Lucy Atkinson arrived in Astana, capital of Kazakhstan this morning, courtesy of Air Astana, on the first stage of their visit to the birthplace of their ancestor, Alatau Tamchiboulac Atkinson.
The relatives – who live in Hawaii, Florida, New Zealand and England – were greeted by traditional Kazakh musicians and gifts of sweetmeats, local tubeteika hats and felt bags. Mrs Umutkhan Daurenbekovna Munalbayeva, director of the National Academic Library, was present to personally welcome the Atkinson relatives to her country. Pictured above are Mrs Belinda Kapiolani Brown from England and Mrs Molly Kinau Fay from Florida, as they made their way through the terminal at Astana airport.
Later, the group was taken to visit the Museum of the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan and also the National Museum. Several members of the group were also taken to a meeting with Kazakh prime minister Mr Karim Massimov. He told them how delighted he was that the Atkinson family delegation had arrived in Astana and wished them well for the rest of their journey. As the meeting got underway, one of the relatives, Paul Dahlquist, gave a traditional Hawaiian greeting which was highly appreciated by the gathering. He is a direct descendant of Alatau Tamchiboulac Atkinson, who settled in Hawaii in 1869.
In a few days the family members will make their way south to Almaty and from there will visit the exact spot where Lucy Atkinson gave birth to her son, Alatau. It promises to be an amazing trip.