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Old 12-22-2011, 12:44 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trimac20 View Post
Yes alot of those 'Americans' have British ancestry.
I thinka lot of English ancestry(and Scotch-Irish) is overlooked because the periods when English immigration were the majority of immigrants to America was so long ago. I mean, by the mid 1840s, the US was receiving huge numbers of Irish and German immigrants and by the end of the century Jewish, Italian, and other Eastern and Southern European immigrants were the majority. Also after the Revolution and War of 1812, I think the English were somewhat looked down upon in 19th Century America. Plus, a lot of white Americans, especially those that are of generations long since assimilated--are mutts--with ancestors of a large ethnic mix. And the more recent groups of European immigration--Italians, Irish, Jews, Poles, Greeks, Croatians, and so on--still have a certain recognizable cultural element in much of the USA. There's plenty of Irish bars or Italian or Polish or Greek neighborhoods, but there's no English-town or English festival--even though you could probably find plenty of Americans of English ancestry on some level.

It's just not something many Americans really identify with at this point in history. We share a language(well, sort of) and a close alliance, but England is seen as sort of a friendly, distant(but sort of strange) cousin of the US. Much different than Canada--where there's much more of shared connection with Britain. I mean technically, the Queen of England is also the Queen of Canada...

My father's family name is English(most likely) or some part of Britain and we can trace some English ancestors back to 18th Century colonial history. That's sort of overshadowed in our family history though by years of associating more with different parts of the country(the South or the Mountain West) and various other ancestors of Irish, German, or Swiss descent. But my mother is 100 percent Polish descent...Many of her family members came over around the turn of the 20th Century or later. My great-grandparents still spoke Polish to each in the late 1980s before they died and went to churches and community events where just about everyone was of Polish ancestry. My mother still dreams of going to visit the villages her forefathers immigrated from and reminisces about when the neighborhood in Milwaukee she grew up in was predominantly Polish. If someone asked me my ancestry the first thing, I'll say is Polish. My English ancestors on the other hand---which might be a good percentage of my bloodline--are just ancient remnants of history.
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Old 12-22-2011, 03:22 AM
 
Location: The Heart of Dixie
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I know someone with Scottish ancestry and swears she is Scottish and not British. I thought British includes Scottish, Welsh, English, AND Northern Irish. English falls under British, but you don't have to be English to be British.

Irish Americans technically have British ancestry if they came from Northern Ireland which is part of the UK.
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Old 12-22-2011, 03:28 AM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
24,683 posts, read 45,361,353 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stars&StripesForever View Post
British ancestry is huge in the South. Most native southerners can trace their family line back to the 1700s. Less immigration occurred in the South during the great waves of the late 1800s and early 1900s. Since it's been such a long time, there's less connection, so many don't realize that they're actually descended from Brits and Scots. Thus, not knowing, which they should if they actually looked up the etymology or heritage of their last name, they just say "American". Many southerners also don't like the idea of being a hyphenated American, thus they're less apt to say anything but American, particularly white southerners. You also have to consider that U.S. society adopted more cultural elements that were British, such as the English language. Thus, there's less of a difference between what was adopted as normal cultural customs and the large British population. Thus, there's less need to preserve what would be viewed as different, such as those of German, Polish, or Italian roots, as the dominant culture is already that of which is descended from the Brits. Think about it. If English is the language, and if people of English descent are living within such a culture, the cultural elements aren't seen as much as different from the dominant culture, nor are they threatened. Thus, people over time don't consciously think about it being different, and they simply come to define themselves merely as "American".
Great post. I think it's fairly clear most white Southerners have ancestry from the British Isles. Merely having a name like Smith or Brown or Jones or Davis, which are obviously very common, would indicate some English ancestry. Most immigration to the colonies came from England. Later on it was the Scottish, Irish and Scotch-Irish, with smatterings of other Europeans and the early slaves. It was only later that immigration from continental Europe occured enmasse; and in then mostly to the most industrialised north. Like in Australia or Canada, it seems the British are the only group to escape being designated with a hyphenated name.
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Old 12-22-2011, 03:34 AM
 
Location: Germany
22 posts, read 43,826 times
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I guess people don't relate to political constructs (UK). They'll relate to their kin (f.e. english, german, irish etc.). Same reason, why I identify myself as a German, and not European.

German mass migration (19th Century) to America was in the more recent past and probably in greater numbers than WASP migration in earlier centuries.

In the end, it seems to be a gimmick to distinguish from other white americans. Haven't had a really german impression of visiting German-Americans.
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Old 12-22-2011, 04:33 AM
 
24 posts, read 58,008 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trimac20 View Post
Great post. I think it's fairly clear most white Southerners have ancestry from the British Isles. Merely having a name like Smith or Brown or Jones or Davis, which are obviously very common, would indicate some English ancestry. Most immigration to the colonies came from England.
As a side note just for information, the surnames Jones and Davis are both distinctly Welsh, not English. Williams is also a popular surname which is of largely Welsh ancestry. Considering these three surnames are all in the top 10 most common surnames in the U.S., I'd say Welsh ancestry is very underestimated these days, or maybe just often mistaken for English.
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Old 12-22-2011, 06:36 AM
 
350 posts, read 607,434 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plutonium View Post
As a side note just for information, the surnames Jones and Davis are both distinctly Welsh, not English. Williams is also a popular surname which is of largely Welsh ancestry. Considering these three surnames are all in the top 10 most common surnames in the U.S., I'd say Welsh ancestry is very underestimated these days, or maybe just often mistaken for English.
IMO Welsh ancestry are just a little underestimated, I'd say the number of peoples with Welsh ancestry is around 5 million. Welsh peoples didn't immigrate in large numbers as Scottish and English peoples.

It's also weird that many African Americans have names of Welsh origin while the majority of slave owners were English. For example, 9.5% peoples in South Carolina have a Welsh name while Welsh American are more concentrated in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Utah and Idaho.

The only possible explanation is that some English slave owners must have Welsh ancestry.
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Old 12-22-2011, 06:51 AM
 
3,458 posts, read 3,110,773 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plutonium View Post
As a side note just for information, the surnames Jones and Davis are both distinctly Welsh, not English. Williams is also a popular surname which is of largely Welsh ancestry. Considering these three surnames are all in the top 10 most common surnames in the U.S., I'd say Welsh ancestry is very underestimated these days, or maybe just often mistaken for English.
exactly. Davis is a family name of mine, and it is welsh.

here is a handy guide to SC counties, and who settled each:

South Carolina - The Counties in Order of Year Created

This is a great website, filled with information. You can see that "English" is well represented, but so are Hueguenots, Scots-Irish, Welsh, Scots, Germans, Swiss..

one way or another, it is confusing as hell, and "British American" just doesn't really feel right.

Last edited by Cletus Awreetus-Awrightus; 12-22-2011 at 07:07 AM..
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Old 12-22-2011, 07:06 AM
 
Location: Miami / Florida / U.S.A.
684 posts, read 1,292,839 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by defoe View Post
I've gotten the impression that most Americans want to "minimize" the number of British-Americans, in that they would rather want people to believe they're not that many as they actually are. Are Americans ashamed of their largely(yes largely) British-American ancestry?

Lets look at the demographics.

File:Census-2000-Data-Top-US-Ancestries.jpg - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Yes Germans are at the top at 15,2%...

But if one adds up the English(8,7%), American(who are largely in the south and mostly of scotch-irish and english ancestors who have been in the country for so long that they simply identify as "American" at 7,2%), Irish(10,8%), Scottish(1,7%), Scotch-Irish(1,5%)... And Welsh(who weren't on that list) are at 0,6%.

All this adds up to 30,5%.

So British-Americans are really by far the largest "group", those stats were from 2000 so it might have declined a bit since, and I suppose some of the ones who identify as "American" might be French or whatever but most of those are by far Scotch-Irish/English. ("American" shouldn't be confused with "Native American", who only make up 1,37% of the US population)

And even if the number of British-Americans have declined by a few percent, they still BY FAR outnumber German-Americans(who are said to be the biggest group). Infact British-Americans pretty much double German-Americans.

Obviously, I'm not saying the majority of all Americans are of British ancestry... But they are the biggest group.

German, followed by Mexican ancestry. Those are the biggest 2. Today's average Joe looks more like Adam Sandler than to Robert Pattinson.
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Old 12-22-2011, 08:51 AM
 
51 posts, read 58,665 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edu983 View Post
German, followed by Mexican ancestry. Those are the biggest 2. Today's average Joe looks more like Adam Sandler than to Robert Pattinson.
British(combining English, Scottish, Scotch-Irish, Welsh and "American"(who are almost all part English or Scotch-Irish ancestry) ancestry is bigger than German ancestry and Mexican ancestry, that's a fact.

German ancestry is bigger than English ancestry, but smaller than British ancestry.
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Old 12-22-2011, 09:29 AM
 
2,402 posts, read 3,578,675 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edu983 View Post
German, followed by Mexican ancestry. Those are the biggest 2. Today's average Joe looks more like Adam Sandler than to Robert Pattinson.
Do you really think that there are lots of Jews, like Adam Sandler, with big noses (I mean no disrespect) and characteristically "Jewish" look than people who look descended from Brits? The only place where you see a somewhat higher percentage (though much smaller than other groups) is around New York City, other parts of the northeast, and south Florida.
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