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Old 08-20-2007, 12:07 AM
 
Location: Duluth, Minnesota, USA
7,653 posts, read 15,347,125 times
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Image:Census-2000-Data-Top-US-Ancestries-by-County.jpg - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

That excellent map shows that most white Southerners, unlike other Americans, chose "American" as their ancestry when they filled out the 2000 census. Obviously, they were from somewhere else: I'm guessing Scotland is one of the most common countries of origin for those with roots in the South. Did they choose American because...

1) Their family has been here so long...

2) It's more patriotic

or

3) Some other reason?

I'd be interested to know, especially if real, live Southerners here have anything to say.
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Old 08-20-2007, 12:12 AM
 
458 posts, read 2,562,628 times
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I think it's a combination of 1 and 2. I honestly have no clue where my family came from so I guess that explains #1. I'd guess Germany. And as for #2, as far as I'm concerned I'm of American ancestry because that's where I'm from, that's where my family is from, and that's all I want to be.

Just my opinion. I have never filled out a census thing considering I was 13 in 2000 but if I were to fill one out I would put American if it were a choice or a fill in the blank type thing.
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Old 08-20-2007, 11:27 AM
 
2,356 posts, read 2,644,252 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tvdxer View Post
Image:Census-2000-Data-Top-US-Ancestries-by-County.jpg - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

That excellent map shows that most white Southerners, unlike other Americans, chose "American" as their ancestry when they filled out the 2000 census. Obviously, they were from somewhere else: I'm guessing Scotland is one of the most common countries of origin for those with roots in the South. Did they choose American because...

1) Their family has been here so long...

2) It's more patriotic

or

3) Some other reason?

I'd be interested to know, especially if real, live Southerners here have anything to say.
I don't have an answer - but that's a great observation. I've seen that map before and didn't even make the connection that white southerners see themselves as "American". That's the truth, though; the counties that are predominantly black see themselves as "African American", and the counties that are predominantly white see themselves as "American".

I think it's worth mentioning that the states where white people see themselves as "American" are the former slave states. You have to wonder why that is, and what the correlation is. From the wikipedia article: Areas with the largest "American" ancestry populations were mostly settled by English, French, Welsh, Scottish and Irish.
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Old 08-20-2007, 11:57 AM
 
Location: ITP
2,133 posts, read 5,621,379 times
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Most white Southerners are descendents of the Scots-Irish or Ulster Scots, which were Scotsmen who relocated to the northern counties of Ireland, or present day Northern Ireland, in the 1600s. Many of them were Presbyterian or protestant. The Ulster Scots saw themselves as settlers already in Ireland and this feeling strengthened when they came to the American colonies in the 18th century. They were eager to embrace their new land once they arrived here and also embraced their new identity as "American".
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Old 08-20-2007, 12:21 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh
153 posts, read 625,298 times
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I noticed this years ago in fill-out forms with no multiple choice answers. Most people would answer that they are, for instance, German and Irish. Southerners rarely had an answer like that. Some would write hillbilly, some American, and many left that answer blank. I got the impression that southerners don't know their ancestry.
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Old 08-20-2007, 01:29 PM
 
Location: Live in VA, Work in MD, Play in DC
697 posts, read 2,025,017 times
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Do you think that the Northeast received different ethnic groups of Europeans (Italian, Irish, English etc.) that stayed segregated while the South (at least the whites) intergrated and interbred among cultures so much that it was hard to distinguish ancestry?
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Old 08-20-2007, 01:47 PM
 
Location: Rural Central Texas
3,605 posts, read 9,287,294 times
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I am not sure why, but I think I might put American as ancestry because my family has been in America for at least 7 generations. I know they are from Scot, Irish, Welsh, English, Dutch, and German stock depending upon which group of grand parents you look at. The latest comer to the US was 7 gens back the earliest I can document was 13 generations ago.

If you think about it, those countries of origin are only that. Countries where my family left from to get here. Who knows what countries they lived in before departing Europe. Perhaps my Welsh ancesters were dislocated Hungarians, Austrians or Spanish? Who can say who was really who 15 generations ago.

I know that at least 7 generations of my ancestors were born as American Citizens. Perhaps that is truly more accurate than reciting where my ancestors once lived.
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Old 08-21-2007, 12:37 AM
 
2,506 posts, read 7,759,755 times
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Remember that immigration was not as big in the South after a certain period. Except for odd cases like New Orleans, most Southerners moved West from the original 13 colonies. By the time that most got into Tennessee, Kentucky and more of the western states of the south (and the state of records in 19th Century America), alot prob. forgot what exact country they were originally from. For instance, my ancestors settled parts of West Virginia (not deep South, but i'll use it anyway). The first broke the Proclimation line and settled west of the Appalachians in the 1740's after immigrating in the 1720's. His children may have known that is was Scotchi-Irishish, but may or may not have known that he was from Northern Ireland (we actually still can't find out). Over a couple generations, that information is lost. Also important, the interior South was more rural than any part of America today. You lived by a few people a few miles down a dirt mountain road. Unlike New York or Boston then, there weren't neighborhoods of Irish, Italian, Eastern European, Martians. It makes it harder to preserve cultural identity. (Here I go on a total rant. Man named Alan Lomax traveled the world recording vvarious folk musics, especially in the South. He later took these recordings and analzyed them based on form, culture, et. cetera. Listen to some Bluegrass, Appalachian or Rockabilly type musics. In some, you will hear a distinct Gaelic influence. It isn't a coincidence.)
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Old 08-21-2007, 12:46 AM
 
Location: Sarasota, FL; Upstate NY native
217 posts, read 814,057 times
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This is very true. Up North, you have ethnic neighborhoods and people seem to be very aware of their ethnic background. For instance, I am a very proud Italian Princess!
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Old 08-21-2007, 09:23 AM
 
Location: Home is where we park it.
3,098 posts, read 8,352,119 times
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Quote:
Obviously, they were from somewhere else: I'm guessing Scotland is one of the most common countries of origin for those with roots in the South. Did they choose American because...
Scottish, English, Irish...and mostly because the vast majority came over in the very first waves of immigrants. The ones before the American Revolution.

And remember most English are a mixture anyway of Celt/Pict/Saxon/Jute/Anglo/Norse/Welsh/etc.

There probably weren't enough spots on the multiple choice of the census bureau data sheets to cover our true ancestry.

I've done my research and can go back 12 generations here in the US/Colonies.

Anyway, when you have that many options, which would you chose? I'd chose American or Caucasian depending on what my options are cause my family has been here too long to be anything else. Liz
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