Ah, you must be Elizabeth!

Weather-wise, Saturday, June 28, was a fine day, so Elizabeth Heying of Dubuque, Iowa, took advantage by crossing the Mississippi River and hanging out in a place she knows over in Illinois. So did Liz Phillips ... and 434 other females in what turned out to be an attempt to qualify for a listing in the Guinness Book of World Records. No, it wasn't spontaneous. Organizers set out to attract as many as possible to a Gathering of Elizabeths, which they hoped would be certified as the most people of the same name in the same place at the same time. The venue? Elizabeth, a town on the site where three brave women stepped forward to defend their settlement during an attack in the 1832 Black Hawk War. (Each of them, right, an Elizabeth.)

So ambitious were the organizers that they even sent invitations to perhaps the world's two most famous Elizabeths, one the ruler of a certain European country and the other an ex-movie star. The former sent her regrets. The latter wasn't heard from. To be admitted, each attendee was asked to show a driver's license or birth certificate proving that Elizabeth is in her name somewhere. The throng ranged in age from 10 days to 87 years and represented almost half the states. Each was given a T-shirt commemorating the occasion. Alas, the gathering fell short of the record by 661 people. But a good time was had by all nonetheless.

of stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read of 5 free stories

Only $1 for your first month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.