U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Travel
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 01-03-2012, 04:57 AM
 
Location: Earth
24,639 posts, read 24,822,206 times
Reputation: 11318

Advertisements

Quote:
Originally Posted by hogsrus View Post
Thanks chielgirl...I'll do just that.
I was unaware of the number of excellent Swiss painters until I visited the Zurich museum.
What a great surprise. Quite impressive landscapes.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 01-04-2012, 06:03 AM
 
Location: Oxford, England
13,036 posts, read 22,016,442 times
Reputation: 19908
Being a Mutt I have a few "ancestral" countries . I have visited them all and enjoyed them all but the fact that an accident of birth meant my ancestors came from there centuries ago had nothing to do with either visit or enjoyment. I have no interest in my own genealogy , I find other people's far more interesting. As an Archaeologist ALL of us have fascinating ancestral history, mine is no more special than anyone else.

I am interested in recent family history because it still means something but once you go beyond a few generations they stop being anything to do with me as such and just become part of general history IMO.


I always find it funny when I hear Americans say : "I am Welsh, Scottish, Irish, Lithuanian, Finnish, German" etc.. when they are nothing of the sort. Someone in your distant family having come off the boat in NY in 1755 or 1823 from Ireland, Wales or Scotland does not make you Irish, Scottish or Welsh. It always amuses the Brits.


If you were not born and brought up in those countries, living in those places, eating the authentic food, listening to the authentic music, observing the same cultural mores, habits and rituals and if you were born and brought up somewhere else then you are a product of your upbringing not your distant DNA relations.

I have never heard anyone apart from Americans ever do this before.

I have Scottish, Irish, German, English , Italian and Gypsy blood in me and I am French by birth, English by having lived here most of my life and I am none of these IMO. What makes me relate to the first 5 of those nationalities is my having lived in those countries and acquired some cultural understanding of their cultures.

France and England are probably the closest I have to belonging to "anyone" but even then I seem to fit nowhere and everywhere at the same time.

My Ancestors are no more fascinating than my neighbour's in my opinion. We all have our stories.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-04-2012, 09:50 AM
 
Location: Victoria TX
42,663 posts, read 74,241,442 times
Reputation: 36087
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mooseketeer View Post


I always find it funny when I hear Americans say : "I am Welsh, Scottish, Irish, Lithuanian, Finnish, German" etc.. when they are nothing of the sort. Someone in your distant family having come off the boat in NY in 1755 or 1823 from Ireland, Wales or Scotland does not make you Irish, Scottish or Welsh. It always amuses the Brits.

.
Americans, unlike the amused Brits, do retain a sense of the culture of the country their ancestors came from, and often are not fully assimilated even after several generations. My mother's parents were very strongly influenced by the culture of Lithuania, and in fact, my grandmother never learned to speak English, in more than 40 years in the US. Lithuanian parents in Chicago still send their children to one of several Lithuanian Schools, a century after the ancestors immigrated. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lithuan...e_Chicago_area

There are restaurants in Upper Michigan where the menu is printed in Finnish, for dishes that have no name in English, although no new immigrants have come from Finland in nearly a century. Italian communities in upstate New York still retain close ties to Italian culture, as do Portuguese communities in southern Massachusetts. The largest and oldest Polish language newspaper in America is published in a little town in northern Wisconsin. And then there are the Cajuns of Louisiana, still the dominant regional culture two centuries after being expelled from Canada. And in fact, Cajun culture in Louisiana is now stronger and more conspicuous than it was 50 years ago, partly due to the late popularity of their cuisine, which has engendered a new-found pride in their ancestry.

Last edited by jtur88; 01-04-2012 at 10:12 AM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-05-2012, 04:45 AM
 
Location: Oxford, England
13,036 posts, read 22,016,442 times
Reputation: 19908
Quote:
Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post
Americans, unlike the amused Brits, do retain a sense of the culture of the country their ancestors came from, and often are not fully assimilated even after several generations. My mother's parents were very strongly influenced by the culture of Lithuania, and in fact, my grandmother never learned to speak English, in more than 40 years in the US. Lithuanian parents in Chicago still send their children to one of several Lithuanian Schools, a century after the ancestors immigrated. Lithuanians in the Chicago area - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

There are restaurants in Upper Michigan where the menu is printed in Finnish, for dishes that have no name in English, although no new immigrants have come from Finland in nearly a century. Italian communities in upstate New York still retain close ties to Italian culture, as do Portuguese communities in southern Massachusetts. The largest and oldest Polish language newspaper in America is published in a little town in northern Wisconsin. And then there are the Cajuns of Louisiana, still the dominant regional culture two centuries after being expelled from Canada. And in fact, Cajun culture in Louisiana is now stronger and more conspicuous than it was 50 years ago, partly due to the late popularity of their cuisine, which has engendered a new-found pride in their ancestry.

There is a big difference between calling yourself of "Finnish ancestry" and thinking you are Finnish.... I used to live in Scotland and people visiting would genuinely believe they were American and Scottish when they knew absolutely nothing about Scotland, or its culture. They had a romantic notion of what Scotland was like and nil knowledge of the actual reality. Same with Ireland.


I think it is nice that immigrants to a new country retain some of their cultural traditions the language etc... that makes for a more interesting melting pot of a place. But to call yourself from a country when your ancestors came there generations ago to me is simply silly. Oh and by the way it is not only the Brits who are amused but also the Finns, Germans, Italians etc...

The reality is that culture is an organic thing, it changes and mutates and unless you are part of that culture as it does so you are no longer part of it. I am no longer French for example because I simply have not evolved with the French culture for decades.


Like "Scottish"or ""Finnish" Americans who simply haven't got a clue what Finland or Scotland has evolved into since Grand-Pa and Grand-Ma left their Native soil. It is great that people are interested in history but the way some romanticise the past and ignore the present and future is a little sad.

I also always find it sad that people fail to assimilate when they move to new countries. I am sorry but someone who does not speak the language of her new Nation after 40 years to me is rather pathetic and an insult to the new country. I would have never dreamt of moving to Britain and only speaking French. That to me would have been the most arrogant, ignorant and dare I say churlish thing to do. Wherever you move to you adapt. You become someone new. That is part of the process.

Do I still retain some of my native culture ? Of course. But do I fool myself that I am still really French ? No. And if I had great-grand kids then it would be beyond absurd for them to call themselves French too or even English had they been raised in the US. Ancestral culture is important but the one which truly shapes us is the one we genuinely socially engage with growing up. I have never yet to meet an American "Finn", "Scot" or "Lithuanian" who genuinely was according to actual "Finns", "Scots" and "Lithuanian".


I spent three years in the US and visit every year , and met many of these people and not one so far has been even remotely close to the genuine article in terms of culture and mores. Apart from old people who only recently left.

I only wish the Italian Americans actually remembered their culinary traditions to be honest because what passes for Italian food in the US by "genuine Italians" is nothing of the sort. I think I have had one genuine Italian meal in the US. Having little Italian flags in little Italy and even speaking Italian does not an Italian make. It is a little more complex than that.

I have tried many times to discuss current affairs of various countries and current culture and trends with those "exiled" romantics and I knew more about their countries than they did. Sorry but that is not right. I assume a Scot would know a hell of a lot more about Scotland than I would.

The Midewest is full of people who genuinely and quite touchingly believe they are German or Scandinavian. Lovely people, could not hope to meet nicer in fact. But the fact they cook German or Scandinavian food, and retain certain traditions does not mean they are either. They are for all intents and purposes as American as Apple Pie. And I don't see what is so wrong about that. What is wrong about being American that you desire so badly to be seen as something else as well ? I lived in Denmark and Sweden for a while and the lovely Danes and Swedes are NOTHING like those lovely people in the Mid-West . Shared DNA. Definitely. But not the same people by any stretches of the imagination.




We all have roots but to romanticise that we are still English because our ancestors stepped off the Mayflower in the 17th century is ABSURD beyond belief.


Just as Scotland and Ireland are more than Leprechauns, Heather covered Moors and Bodhrán playing, Haggis, and a whimsy charm and a love of the craic.

Scottish Ancestry. Absolutely. Scottish ? I think not. History and Culture is not only the past, but also the present and the future. Unless you can engage with that than IMO you lose what truly makes you whatever nationality you claim to be.

No matter how many French books , Newspapers I read, News I watch, French Music I listen to and French food I eat and French expats I mix up with I can never truly hope to keep up with what being French is about because it is an ever changing force and something far more subtle . It mutates, and does not stand still which is exactly what culture is. It is an evolution.


I understand people desperately seek to find roots and ground themselves because it brings them a sense of belonging but at some point we have to stop kidding ourselves. Those of us who emigrate become mutts except perhaps those like your Grand-Mother who was just not willing to let go and should have never left her native country ( I assume there were good reasons like War, or Economic Circumstances ). She was obviously unwilling to leave and never able to let go and that is terribly sad. A successful immigrant IMO is a mutt .

I can guarantee you that all those lovely American people and their dreams of belonging to their Native Ancestors' lands would be seen as very much Americans by the Natives of those Lands. A Swede would never mistake an American Swede for a Swede. Not one who was more than one or two generations removed anyway.

Even if they spoke fluently with some local dialect, as soon as you get to know them you will know they have never grown up as Swedes and have different cultural reference points.

Last edited by Mooseketeer; 01-05-2012 at 05:06 AM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-05-2012, 07:19 AM
 
Location: Earth
24,639 posts, read 24,822,206 times
Reputation: 11318
Mooseketeer, you have the most insightful posts and they're always clearly written.
Thank you.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-05-2012, 07:41 AM
 
Location: Victoria TX
42,663 posts, read 74,241,442 times
Reputation: 36087
So, there are Americans,and there are Finns, and there is also a strange land in which there are Americans who falsely believe their are Finns. But you are doing a disservice to the logic of compartmentalization if you insist on further and further subdividing until there are, at the end, 7-billion categories of people. You need to draw the line somewhere. Finns in Hancock Michigan and Finns in Rovaneimi do have something in common: a nucleus of family traditions has been handed down to them over the years and generations that spring from a commonality. Each of them diverged in some way from that nuclear culture, and there are geographic differences in the way those divergences were directed. But neither diverged completely to abandon all cultural attributes.

The Finns in Hancock and the Portuguese in New Bedford are all Americans, and have American culture in common. But they are still different from each other in visceral ways. They were raised by parents to reflect certain cultural values. Patterns like courtship and marriage and self reliance and bonding and child rearing and table manners and respect for elders and sense of humor and pecking order all trickle down through, from one generation to the next. Anyone who has ever lived in America, in a community that had a strong ethnic heritage, would know that from their own experience.

I grew up in a (what I call) Dutch community, but we were outsiders. To the day she died, my mother would never hang wash out on a Sunday, because it violated Reformist conservative community values (but not her Lithuanian ones). The town was different from others, and it was the Dutch heritage that made it that way. I have no doubt that there are still people in the Netherlands who observe the same restrictions on Sunday washing, stemming from the same ancestral source, not from something they made up in America. My roommate in college was of Italian ancestry, and grew in a strongly Italian neighborhood. We were both Americans, but our differences in upbringing were palpable. Each of us reflected the culture of the old country, still flowing through our veins. And those same cultural differences can still be found in Italy and the Netherlands. Maybe not so in Lithuania, but only because their cultural flow has been forcibly interrupted. and deviates from the expected norm.

My roommate from Jefferson Parish and a boy at a university in Italy had something very powerful in common. They were both raised by mothers who were raised by grandmothers who were raised in the same village. It dilutes and diverges, but not as fast and as thoroughly as you think it does. It is his Italianness that made him different from the Dutchness of my high school friends.

Last edited by jtur88; 01-05-2012 at 08:06 AM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-05-2012, 07:52 AM
 
Location: Oxford, England
13,036 posts, read 22,016,442 times
Reputation: 19908
Quote:
Originally Posted by chielgirl View Post
Mooseketeer, you have the most insightful posts and they're always clearly written.
Thank you.
Thanks. Have a fabulous time in Thailand, enjoy the diving ! Green with envy as usual by the way ! I always think I am lucky with my travels but you take the biscuit Darling !
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-05-2012, 08:18 AM
 
Location: Oxford, England
13,036 posts, read 22,016,442 times
Reputation: 19908
Quote:
Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post
So, there are Americans,and there are Finns, and there is also a strange land in which there are Americans who falsely believe their are Finns. But you are doing a disservice to the logic of compartmentalization if you insist on further and further subdividing until there are, at the end, 7-billion categories of people. You need to draw the line somewhere. Finns in Hancock Michigan and Finns in Rovaneimi do have something in common: a nucleus of family traditions has been handed down to them over the years and generations that spring from a commonality. Each of them diverged in some way from that nuclear culture, and there are geographic differences in the way those divergences were directed.

The Finns in Hancock and the Portuguese in New Bedford are all Americans, and have American culture in common. But they are still different from each other in visceral ways. They were raised by parents to reflect certain cultural values. Patterns like courtship and marriage and self reliance and bonding and child rearing and table manners and respect for elders and sense of humor and pecking order all trickle down through, from one generation to the next. Anyone who has ever lived in America, in a community that had a strong ethnic heritage, would know that from their own experience.

I grew up in a (what I call) Dutch community, but we were outsiders. To the day she died, my mother would never hang wash out on a Sunday, because it violated Reformist conservative community values (but not her Lithuanian ones). The town was different from others, and it was the Dutch heritage that made it that way. I have no doubt that there are still people in the Netherlands who observe the same restrictions on Sunday washing, stemming from the same ancestral source. My roommate in college was of Italian ancestry, and grew in a strongly Italian neighborhood. We were both Americans, but our differences in upbringing were palpable. Each of us reflected the culture of the old country, still flowing through our veins. And those same cultural differences can still be found in Italy and the Netherlands. Maybe not so in Lithuania, but only because their cultural flow has been forcibly interrupted. and deviates from the expected norm.

Of course we retain a Kernel of where we came from . A Nucleus of cultural values passed down but this does not make us what our Ancestors were or what their descendents still in that native country became either. For a start a lot of those values you mention are strongly shared by many different nationalities.

And as someone who did live in the US for three years ( my Grand-Father was American also) I observed a lot of American people who had kept certain cultural traits from previous generations ( I would argue that a lot of the traits you would consider Italian are also French, Spanish and Portuguese though, through a shared Catholicism ) but were nothing but American nonetheless. Grand-Ma who had emigrated from Italy was still very much Italian but grand-kids were All American. Certain cultural traits or traditions do not add up to a Nationality IMO.

Two of my best friends are Finnish and some of their families emigrated to Minnesota and Michigan and they too got the "I am a Finn" from relatives. Timo was utterly baffled ( if somewhat flattered those people still wanted to claim belonging to Finland as Finns like many people always appreciate a love of their country )as to him they were not Finnish in the slightest even those who spoke fluent Finnish.

They ate Finnish, and had certain traditions around certain festivals but their very core was utterly American. They were of Finnish extraction and yes some of it had bled into their consciousness. But not to the extent they would ever be considered Finnish by any Finn.


You and I will have to agree to disagree on this one . I am not the only one who finds this concept of owership through remote ancestry utterly bizarre. As I said culture is an ever changing, moving thing and if you have no understanding or knowledge of a country as it evolves and changes and the future it is shaping into then to me you are admitting that you no longer belong to it.

People to me simply romanticise the past, their geneaology and descendence from ....whatever because they need to belong to something, somewhere or someone.

The present and the reality are never quite as glamourous and the future too uncertain and scary so they take refuge into something safe and immovable. It is sweet but odd nonetheless.

I just wish I had a thousand bucks for every single American I met who was descended from the Pilgrim Fathers for example. Or for every person who told me they were from Devon or Norfolk when the last person to have set foot in either counties was 300 years ago. To me those people as well intentioned as they might be are just being plainly absurd.

Bring those people over to the Devon Moors or the Broads and hand them over to a real native who has never left lived anywhere else and let us see how much they have in common... I suspect they would laugh if you called yourself a Devon Man in front of them.

What is wrong with simply saying "I am descended from Scottish people?". Is that just not romantic enough ?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-05-2012, 07:29 PM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
24,683 posts, read 45,369,517 times
Reputation: 11862
I agree with Moosketeer. While I acknowledge my ancestral roots, I have no real ethnic affinity with them anymore. I don't feel that 'that's the real me' or anything like that, because I believe who you are is more your upbringing, culture etc. Your genetic makeup is just coincidental to me. In Australia many Lebanese Australians proudly differentiate between them and the 'Aussies', but I think they aren't as integrated as most Americans are. It's a matter of how much you choose to separate yourself.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-05-2012, 08:41 PM
 
Location: Brisbane
3,513 posts, read 5,457,900 times
Reputation: 2828
I have noticed that only a very small % of the US population nominate their ancestory as american on their census, some thing i find very unusual.

Im of mixed English, Irish and German ancestory myself, my english born mum and german born grandmother are still alive today, ive being to all three places but have no real interest in retruning to any of them.

For the record on every census ive completed I recorded my ancestory as Australian.

Last edited by danielsa1775; 01-05-2012 at 09:09 PM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Travel
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

© 2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top