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Thread summary:

Human Ancestry: America, football, barbecue, immigrants, house.

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Old 07-06-2012, 09:53 AM
 
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I did not read the whole thread, since it's mostly from 2008, but in response to the OP's initial post....

This person is assuming that "ancestry" just means "knowing what your ethnic origins are." I reject that definition, and reject that just because most Americans are blends of lots of ethnic and national origins that tracing one's ancestry is unimportant!

I do not do family history research to look into my ethnic/racial/national origins. I do it to trace the lineage, and to get the stories of the people that came together over the centuries and resulted in me. I care very little that someone was originally Dutch, or English, or Scottish. If I find that an ancestor came from a given country at a given time, I do like to look at the history of that time, to figure out why they might have left and come to the US. But in reality, I would do this no matter what country they came from.

Most of my ancestors have been here since the 1700s. To me, that doesn't make them uninteresting, or any research about them unimportant. Why do some people think genealogy is all about ethnicity, race, or nationality?

I guess this is related to why there are so many threads in the Genealogy forum about race and people "looking" like one race/ethnicity or another. To me, and I think to most of us, genealogy is about tracing our own family histories, to learn about our ancestors, who they were, how they lived, and how they came together and eventually made our existance possible.
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Old 07-06-2012, 10:40 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TracySam View Post
I did not read the whole thread, since it's mostly from 2008, but in response to the OP's initial post....

This person is assuming that "ancestry" just means "knowing what your ethnic origins are." I reject that definition, and reject that just because most Americans are blends of lots of ethnic and national origins that tracing one's ancestry is unimportant!

I do not do family history research to look into my ethnic/racial/national origins. I do it to trace the lineage, and to get the stories of the people that came together over the centuries and resulted in me. I care very little that someone was originally Dutch, or English, or Scottish. If I find that an ancestor came from a given country at a given time, I do like to look at the history of that time, to figure out why they might have left and come to the US. But in reality, I would do this no matter what country they came from.....
Ditto. I'm looking for the stories. Though, in my case, I have connected with many distant cousins and once distant branches of the family are now in close touch again. And I have made several good friends among these people.

However, while they are Irish, I certain would have been as intested in the stories of my family had I been Polish or Italian or whatever. Genealogy is an adventure, and the ethnicity or ethnicities that come along with it are fortuitous.
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Old 07-06-2012, 11:04 AM
 
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I guess in my family, the national origin stuff is so far back, that no one really talks about it or thinks about it. We didn't exactly get stories of Sweden from our ancestor who came in 1735!
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Old 07-08-2012, 12:43 PM
 
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I agree only partially with what the OP said. First, yes, we are becoming a nation of mutts. If you are not racially a mutt, you are ethnically, a mutt. That's how it is for the vast majority of us. Hence, we are just Americans, especially when our family has been living here for so long. That is certainly the case with me. I identify myself as just "American." On the other hand, I am fascinated with my family's history. I have been researching my genealogy since I was 25! I am 33 now with over 250 documents in my folder. Anyway, why do I search my family tree? I t is not that I identify with any ethnicity more than the other...like I said, I am American. However, I research my family tree out of personal curiosity in how many family developed into what it is over the years. I do want to know the ethnicity of each ancestor and where they came from. However, this is more out of personal reasons opposed to having an ethnicity to identify with. It is like reading a history of the United States. You can read all of the history after WWII, but I am sure you will be very curious to learn how we got up to that point. I knew many people in the two generations above me. I am finding out that many of them were the way they were because of the generation above them. So you can see, this is not about saying I'm "Irish" or "Italian," it is a personal interest and curiosity about my own origins.
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Old 07-08-2012, 03:07 PM
 
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I was hoping to find interesting stories about my "immigrant" family, and I always assumed they all came over through Ellis Island, fleeing oppression, etc. Instead I find most of them have been here since mid 1600---early 1700. How 'boring!". But still, my family history is not meaningless.

I felt thrilled when I discovered my p-g-grandfather adopted a young Cherokee lady, to save her from the Trail of Tears. And I also found my m-great grandfather adopted a child who's father was imprisoned. Her only fate would have been the poorhouse,otherwise. Its encouraging to know I come from a line of generous, kind-hearted people. Those are the "stories" that are so nice to find!
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Old 07-08-2012, 05:24 PM
 
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I think ancestry is very important to Americans who's families have lived here for centuries.The WASPS,Blue Bloods,High Society-whatever you want to call them.
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Old 07-08-2012, 05:26 PM
 
Location: St. Louis, MO
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaryleeII View Post
I was hoping to find interesting stories about my "immigrant" family, and I always assumed they all came over through Ellis Island, fleeing oppression, etc. Instead I find most of them have been here since mid 1600---early 1700. How 'boring!". But still, my family history is not meaningless.
Oh gosh, don't be "bored" by the fact that your family immigrated to the U.S. in the mid 1600s! That's wonderful! My husband's family too immigrated here in the early-mid 1600s. In my opinion, it makes the story even more fascinating. Can you imagine what an adventure, and how scary it would have been to move to the U.S. before the wave of major infrastructure and industry developments? Moving to the U.S. in the 1600s was virtually entering 'uncharted waters' for the majority of immigrants- instead of entering the hustle and bustle of New York in the 1800s-early 1900s, it was entering a place vast and far removed from the cities and lifestyles they were accustomed to in Europe. It would have been a very, very brave thing to do!

Where did your family immigrate from? Most of my husband's family immigrated from England, but a couple of lines also came from Holland. Maybe my husband's family and yours are related, or at least the ancestors may have known each other!
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Old 07-08-2012, 07:34 PM
 
Location: Pacific NW
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I don't quite understand why it is that, as the OP suggested, because many Americans have "mutt" ancestry it makes it meaningless. Everyone's ancestry has meaning.

Just because, say if our ancestry was mostly Scottish, and we don't play the bagpipes, eat haggis, or toss the caber daily doesn't make that ancestry meaningless. I'd imagine if you went to Scotland, you wouldn't find many there who clung only to their Scottish cultural. After all, didn't they determine a few years back that the most popular dish in U.K. restaurants was Chicken Tikka Masala?
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Old 07-08-2012, 11:31 PM
 
Location: Cushing OK
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Directly or indirectly, I have a lot of Scots ancestry. Once I told someone that who smiled and said that was hardly a surprise, I looked it. Wow, news to me. I look like my mom's family. Then it was added I acted like it too.

But you know, as long back as I can trace (at least 8 generations) the stubborn streak with the *temper* has been there, and I'm no exception. But as to the importance of ancestry, they've also been people who when a problem is shoved at them don't run away but solve it. I give that knowledge, that those before me were like that and I wouldn't want to not remember a good chunk of the genes that made me up, and I too went ahead and didn't look back.

So my inheritance is not only the temper, but something which I can draw on to carry on my life better.

When I decided it was time to leave California and find someplace else to live, I felt as if I was doing what they would have done too.

I do have a great fondness for bagpipe music and traditional scot and irish music.
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Old 07-08-2012, 11:52 PM
 
Location: Cushing OK
14,539 posts, read 21,251,057 times
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Originally Posted by 8635angelvalley View Post
I think ancestry is very important to Americans who's families have lived here for centuries.The WASPS,Blue Bloods,High Society-whatever you want to call them.
My family has been here for centuries. It is very important to me. But while I'm of largely English/scots/irish descent, none of those terms apply to me. They weren't famous either, but they were strong and even if one and I'm sure others I don't know about didn't ask to come, they looked forward. That's what matters.

And as another poster said, just imagine arriving when it was wilderness, when life was a struggle in an unfamiliar place, and followed months at sea, and no matter what was before, the future was ahead?

I'd rather be the descendent of at least one convict, farmers and ordinary people who got the gift of starting over.
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