I sometimes wonder about the extended family also, some I have met briefly and others I probably will never meet. I know many of the extended family live in Montreal, and they are huge in numbers, and hard to keep track of. The actual French name that was my ex-husbands goes back to the very first settlers here in Canada, at least the ones that are documented, they actually have their own coat of arms as well. It's a possibility that they came from the Louisiana area of the US many years ago.
I love the title of this OP. Even a little dabbling in genealogy quickly shows that we are not "pure" what we thought we were.
Deyana, it's possible that your Louisiana connection were people who went/were exiled to Louisiana and later returned. (this might interest you: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acadians)
My mother's side of the family is from Sicily, which means we might have Moorish, Norman, Greek, or other ancestry. On my father's side, the ancestor who brought the last name came from England. There is Dutch in there and more recently Scotch and Irish.
My French family probably runs back to the same area of France (Lorraine) to medieval times. My biological Swiss origin family runs back to the canton of Glarus all the way back to the 12th century (I saw this on the internet tracing all of the info about the founding of New Glarus, Wisconsin -- there is a lot of genealogical information about the original Swiss founding families to follow up). It makes it all the more interesting to me that that side of the family became so "unstable" when it settled in the U.S. It remained a highly reproductive Catholic family (I had 18 cousins when I was little), but rather than staying in one place, it scattered.
I would imagine that this was partly because it lost all of its Swiss roots. As I wrote elsewhere, there was absolutely nothing Swiss about my paternal grandparents even though they both had German Swiss names. They had become low class Mississippians and there was absolutely no reference to any Swissness in their past. I think that if the family culture had been cherished, the family would not have become such a pitiful collection of racist Southern rednecks. Even though I liked the rarity of having the name "Streiff" as a child, I am now very glad to have left it behind.
You make an interesting point about immigration and assimilation, Kerouac. It seems there is a rough pattern of the first group landing in a new country to marry within the group. Very often this extends to at least the first generation born on the new soil, whether by arrangement or strong encouragement. What triggers "marrying out"? Is it because of rebellion by the young, lack of suitable mates within the "right" group, or what?
well those of my ancestors that i know of are german i suppose, though partly from outside the area that is germany today. my grandparents all come from different regions - one from eastern prussia, one from silesia, one from western germany, one from saxony. the only one of them that i know has done some longer term family research is the one from eastern prussia, that is also where my name stems from - his theory is that our family name is a combination of a dutch name and a baltic suffix. that is of course only a theory.
else, i have relatives that migrated to poland, sweden and austria, and more distant ones in the US. but nothing really interesting.
My father's side are all Westphalian, from a place called Hagen, on the edge of the Ruhr Valley, staunchly Catholic. I didn't know my grandfather, he died long before I was born. My father's older sister was 17 years older than he himself. Of his older brothers, two died in WW1, one in WW2 (doesn't that boggle the mind?).
On my mother's side the family has been nn Hainan Island for 28 generations. They originally come from Beijing. She herself is quarter Vietnamese, making me 1/8 Vietnamese. Her grandmother is from Annam, and on the only surviving photo she does look ethnically Vietnamese (and very fierce, my great grandfather is next to her):
My mother's generation is the first one to be born in the country her father immigrated to, Malaysia.
My cousins are spread around the world on all continents except Africa and Antarctica.
She spoke to her grandchildren in Vietnamese, that's why we think she was Vietnamese and not Chinese. Her daughter in law (my mother's mother) on the other hand, had to learn Hainanese when she married.
That picture hangs in the ancestral home on Hainan. There are a couple more but they're also with the part of the family that stayed on Hainan, my grandfather's elder brother.
In the last few generations and as far back as we know (beginning of 19c) I am made up of Irish, Scottish and Romany.
The family tree definitely gets interesting in the next generation, my brothers and I are all with people from abroad and so the four grandchildren are all a mix of the above and then one is half Spanish/Basque, another Czech, another Dominican (a mix of European, African and Taino) and another Chinese.
Wow, I always wanted to write a book based on fmaily history. I never thought of this angle for a story, these four family histories from way back until they finally meet in 21st century London! Might need a few pages though
I'm of Polish origin too, except for a German great-grandmother. But I married a Frenchman and my sister married a French-Canadian, so it gets more interesting. One of my sister's sons married a half English/half Finnish and the other married an Italian. My son married a half French/half Colombian.
tilly, When living in the UK I had friends who were Romany and it always amazed me that when they sang the old folk songs, that had been handed down through the generations, I could identity some of the words in the songs as Indian. One of the men even pointed out some particular words in the language that were the same as in Indian. And ofcourse most of them had the darker skin and hair as well. I found it fascinating...
Deyana, the Indian connection is interesting as my Grandfather’s parents were the first generation in their family to “settle” and they were treated so badly by the locals as gypsies that they had to move. In the new place they told everyone they were Anglo-Indian.
My Mum believed that her grandma with dark skin and dark hair was Anglo-Indian (and I grew up thinking I had Indian blood in me) right up until about 15 years ago when she found some family photos in my grandparent’s loft of Romany caravans and it triggered memories of visiting Great Aunties who lived in caravans with her Dad including one Christmas eating outside on long trestle tables!
She asked her Dad about it and he told her what he knew but by then was already suffering from Alzheimers so we don’t know very much about that side of the family. It is a shame as very interesting and I would love to know more. It turns out their surname is a very common Romany name and so its hard to trace any census details because of frequent moves.
You have a very interesting family history, Tilly. Wouldn't it be fun to go into it further one of these days? It's not an easy task though, especially if the person who connects us to that past is no longer there..
My nephew was raised a Mormon and is very interested in the genealogy of the family. Since his mother and stepfather live in Salt Lake City, he said that he is going to make some serious research the next time he goes there, since there is nothing else to do.
Tell your nephew to go to some of the online sites and forums. Amateur genealogists love to share. I got an enormous amount of information about my paternal side from a lady in Florida who is not related to me. She researched her son-in-law's genealogy so that her grandchildren could have a complete record of it.
The family bible on my father's side has been passed down to me; it's quite old, perhaps 150 years old but the family records in it have been written back to 1642. So one half of me is English from Somerset. (I've put this bible in a suitcase in the attic and it's got lots of stuff piled on top ot it otherwise I'd pull it out now)....
The other half of me is Irish from Southern Ireland, probably Wicklow. My mother's name was O'Toole; one couldn't get more Irish than that!
When I have money to burn I'll send off a DNA sample to be analysed because I suspect there are nomadic genes in me .....I like to think from north India/Tibet.