June 8, 2011

Who Exactly Are You?

All of us come from somewhere.

I'm French-German on my dad's side. It's where the hard-assed stoicism and love of cheese comes from, I suppose. On my mom's side I'm supposedly descended from the very pilgrims who rode over on the Mayflower. But that might be bogus or a convenient cover for an irrational love of buckles. Those French-Germans became farmers in and around Ohio, then business owners. They owned hardware stores and box factories and erected churches. The pilgrims went on to do similar things, some becoming gangsters in prohibition-era California. All of them raised families and went to war. Most returned and picked up where they'd left off. Which all leads to me, a French-German South American-born Pilgrim who enjoys cheese but has no particular fascination with buckles.

Who are you?

Posted by Chris at June 8, 2011 7:40 AM

I'm mostly Scottish on my mother's side (and I have the fiery temper to prove it!) with a little English thrown in for good measure. Her family arrived in North Carolina back in the 1500s and eventually ended up in Mississippi/Alabama/Tennessee. My dad's side is a bit of a mystery but definitely English. They ended up in Louisiana also by way of the Carolinas from some time in the late 1600s. They were mostly farmers.

I guess I got back to my roots by marrying an Englishman from the old country ;)

Posted by: Elizabeth at June 8, 2011 7:59 AM

Norwegian farmers on my dad's side who settled in Iowa. My mom's family is Hispanic and settled in Colorado. I definately have the Norwegian coloring - blonde hair, blue/green eyes! But I love spicy food!!

Posted by: Debbie at June 8, 2011 8:09 AM

Pretty much 100% Polish on both sides of my family. I've done the ancestry as far back as when they immigrated in the early 1900s.
My husband's family on the other hand - much more exciting - has been in the US since the early 1600s, settling land in the east, mid-atlantic and Oklahoma. I'm a little jealous!

Posted by: NancyB at June 8, 2011 8:12 AM

Although my last name belies the tiny bit of British Isles ancestry, I'm almost exclusively German and Norwegian. Ya, You Betcha.

Posted by: Heather at June 8, 2011 8:20 AM

Pure Irish stock on my father's side. The family came to the US (Boston) in the late 1800s to avoid starving in Ireland. My grandfather was injured in a kamikaze attack in WWII, and went on to a career in the postal service after the war. On my mom's side, it is a Scottish - Italian mix.Due to divorce, I had no contact with my biological grandfather on that side of the family, so I know nothing beyond the Scottish last name,

Posted by: COD at June 8, 2011 8:40 AM

I am 100% Cajun French :) Family on both sides are from Louisiana's Cajun Country and before that... Nova Scotia!

Posted by: NotAMeanGirl at June 8, 2011 9:01 AM

I like this question. :) My mom's side is a mix of Irish, Scottish and English. My grandfather traced us back as far as a Duke in the 1500s. We're also related to Daniel Boone. My maternal grandfather's grandmother married him at one point, in Kentucky. On my dad's side, we're straight up English. Most of his family settled in Southern Alabama and we were poor. I hear that my Big Mama (paternal great grandmother) was a humanitarian who opened her house up to anyone and everyone during the Depression, which was unheard of where they lived!

Posted by: Claire at June 8, 2011 9:02 AM

Descended from German and Swedish farmers who settled in plains of northern Minnesota in the late 1800s. They blessed me with blonde hair, blue eyes, and love of sauerkraut and salted fish. :)

Posted by: J at June 8, 2011 9:28 AM

Dad's side, British, arrived in MA area around mid 1600s, settled in upstate NY just before the revolutionary war, and that's where they still are to this day (except for me).

Mom's side, one half totally and completely Italian, settled in upstate NY around 1900. Other half has some roots to nobility in the old Bruce Clan in Scotland, one member settled in Northern Virginia back in the mid-1700s, eventually parts of that family moved south, first to GA, later AL, married up with some others with English/German/Native American roots and that's where my grandmother grew up until she moved north to NY to marry my grandfather who she met during WW2.

Posted by: laurs at June 8, 2011 10:02 AM

Swedish, by way of Minnesota (J, we could be related!) Scottish and English.

Everyone came to Saskatatchewan 100 years ago (or a little more) to be farmers. My cousin still runs the family farm.

Posted by: Heather at June 8, 2011 10:05 AM

My family tree is a bit weird.

My dad's mom was Polish. Her last name was Kaczynski. Yes, *that* Kaczynski. We don't know the direct connection, but we have a picture of my Uncle Gary where he looks suspiciously like the Unabomber, post-capture.

My dad's father's side is more tricky, because my dad's great-grandfather was adopted. His birth family was, strangely enough, my mother's family. So my great-great-grandfather on my dad's side and my great-great-great-grandmother on my mom's side were siblings.

My mom's side of the family are French-Canadian and Scottish (We have a family crest and tartan!).

We actually have a full family genealogy that some of my great-aunts put together that goes all the way back to the first Scotsman that came over in the late 1800s. It's pretty cool.

Posted by: Jaime at June 8, 2011 10:17 AM

Irish, Scottish, English and German. From both sides!

My paternal Grandmother's German family came over and settled in the Poconos area of PA in early 1700s and there is evidence that a few of the brothers fought in the Revolutionary War. I haven't completed research yet to confirm. Did confirm that an ancestor from that branch fought in the Civil War. Her Mother's side was from Ireland, straight off the boat during the 1880s. My paternal Grandfather's family is a bit more difficult as there isn't anyone around to confirm anything any more - but mostly English and German - haven't a clue when they got here, haven't been able to nail that down yet.

My mother's side...both off the boat from Ireland in the 1880s. Have been in contact with my maternal Grandmother's family still living on the family farmstead in Ballinasloe Ireland, County Galway. My paternal Grandfather's family came from Dublin. His Father was the last child born in the old country before the family set sail for America.

Family history is awesome! I find it so much fun to research. Just wish I had more time!!

Posted by: cyndy at June 8, 2011 10:30 AM

100% German-both sides...still trying to trace my roots back but need some more information to get there.

Posted by: Krush at June 8, 2011 10:42 AM

On my dad's side I have German and Irish. My dad's paternal side came from Germany, the maternal side from Ireland. On mom's side it is Portuguese (maternal) and French-Canadian (paternal).

I, clearly, am a mutt. :)

Suffice it to say that my dad's side of the family were all alcoholics (not my dad! Though the rest of them still are to this day), and my moms side of the family loves to cook and eat, and it shows. Me? I like to do all 3 and probably do not have a long life expectancy.

KIDDING. I do love to cook, but I cook healthy. I exercise. And I drink in moderation. ;)

Posted by: Jen at June 8, 2011 11:45 AM

You know, my Dad and my mother's brother know all about our families, and I know less. But my Mom's family is Scotch-Irish. Her Dad's folks were Mormons who came out West with Brigham Young. I have an ancestor who allegedly riled up the local Native Americans (or were they Mormons dressed as Indians?) to massacre some California-bound settlers at Mountain Meadows. My Dad's family is of German extraction, farmers in Iowa until my grandfather moved out here to work in aerospace, I think. My Dad's family originally came from Prussia, so I don't know where that dates our immigration to. After the American Revolution I think.

Posted by: Brooke at June 8, 2011 12:09 PM

My parents both sailed to this land from Great Britain in 1975 on a giant ship with wings, famously named the Air Canada. I was born an army brat in Munster, Germany and raised on fried and/or boiled everything. Calgary, Alberta was my home for 23 years before my husband (9th generation descended from Johann Sebastian Bach) whisked us off to beautiful British Columbia, where I'm still not comfortable eating sushi...probably because it has neither been fried or boiled.

Posted by: Procrastamom at June 8, 2011 12:43 PM

What a fantastic question and I love reading about your readers! On one side I know quite a bit, although that parent is adopted so does it really count? I know it doesn't when the doctor asks for family health history. That side involves plantations and a long ago governor of VA and a city and county named after some relative. (I was so annoyed when I went to said city and no one noticed that my credit card had the same dang name as where we were standing.) And the other side didn't pass down much. Irish immigrants and another country landed in NY. Although that great great grandmother would never speak her native tongue, nor tell anyone where she was from. Apparently there was a twinkle in her eye when she would hear the neighbors speak Hungarian so that's the family's guess.

Posted by: Dinwizzle at June 8, 2011 1:09 PM

Scottish and English, born in Scotland to English/Scottish parents and brought up in both, live in Scotland now. I think we Brits often find it fascinating how Americans say they are from a particular country but actually that goes back to an ancestor hundreds of years ago. Not a criticism, just interesting how we view national identity differently.

Posted by: Katherine at June 8, 2011 3:34 PM

Oh I love questions like this. Reading everyone's answers are fun.

On my mom's side, I come from possibly some of the first Americans. Very prolific Americans. Been here since the Mayflower. They eventually settled in the south. Very religious, hard working, southern types.

On my dad's side...well your guess would be as good as mine. My dad is first generation American. Born to a Polish father and a Russian mother, whose families had both escaped during the Holocaust. Basically? I don't even know what our last name was before they changed it. There is next to no family on that side. It's one big mystery.

Posted by: Issa at June 8, 2011 6:00 PM

Italian, Welsh an Scottish on my Dad's side. Don't know much about the maternal great grandparents. But my paternal great grandmother came to the US when she was 5 from Naples.She later met my great grandfather who came here in his teens from Italy to work the railroad. She was a dressmaker. They built a house in a nearby town that is still family owned.

On my mothers side I am Irish, Italian and German.
The German relatives settled here where we all still live in NE PA and worked in breweries. My Irish great grandfather was born in the US and was a police detective. Don't know much about the Italian relatives on that side.

My husband ancestry is much more interesting as he is related to a signer of the Declaration of Independence...I can never remember his name...

Posted by: Lisa at June 8, 2011 6:34 PM

On my mother's side, I'm German and Irish. It was quite the scandal when my Grandparents married as in the little coal mining town in PA - home of a fairly well-known and old beer- there was an Irish Catholic Church and the German Catholic Church whose populations did not normally mix. Both the Germans and the Irish came over in the early 1800s and settled in said coal-mining PA town.

Half of my Dad's English nee French family legitimately (I have proof!) traces back to the Pilgrims (if you are related to one, you are related to a lot of them!). A century and a half later, they were Tories and moved to Canada (a small coal-mining town in Nova Scotia) where they remained until my just before my Dad was born in Massachusetts. The other half of his family came over from Ireland during the potato famine and settled in coastal Massachusetts. So I'm mainly Irish, French-by way of England-by way of Canada, and German.

But my Great-Nana always swore we were related to an Indian princess, my family-tree tracing father has yet to find that in his research. I am, however, related to the first person hung for murder in the United States...

Posted by: Melissa at June 8, 2011 7:18 PM

I am German and Polish on both my mom's and my dad's side. my dad is several-generations american, though, while my mom's parents were holocaust survivors and moved to canada after they were liberated from their camps after the war.

Posted by: alimartell at June 8, 2011 8:44 PM

Too many to list or even remember, I leave that to my cousin the geneaology buff, so I just claim my grandmother's Cherokee heritage and call it good. Quirky thing - her FIL's first and middle names were Winfield Scott, named after the general who was prominent in the Cherokee removal that became the Trail of Tears. I always wondered if that ever made her cringe inwardly, just a little bit...

Posted by: Julee at June 9, 2011 8:36 AM

Mayflower English, and German!

Posted by: Maribeth at June 9, 2011 9:19 AM

I'm a person. An adopted daughter of an adopted daughter. My husband is the adopted son of an adopted son. He knows his mom, but I dont know my birth-dad,

Posted by: That Girl at June 9, 2011 11:17 AM

Supposedly, I am Irish. To date, I haven't been able to prove anything for a total certainty. Tracking down your roots is hard if your in a family that rarely discussed the past or kept records. On one side of the family, it appears I might be British.

Posted by: One Mom's Opinion at June 9, 2011 7:16 PM

Slovak on my mom's side, and Irish-Scottish (through adoption) on my dad's side. We never knew my dad's heritage because he didn't want to know anything about his birth parents. If I had to hazard a guess, I'd say German... but not because of the beer, but more because of the stubbornness. However, I claim that I am Slovak-Irish/Scottish, because that's what I *know*... Not much of a story beyond that.

Posted by: ironic1 at June 9, 2011 7:58 PM

I'm Norwegian on my Mom's side and German on my Dad's, with a touch of Black Dutch. I got the black Dutch coloring (dark hair and eyes) but pale, pale skin from everything else I guess.

You'd think that would imply a great love for beer, but I'm really picky when it comes to my alcohol, especially beer. Boyfriend is content to drink MGD, which is fine as long as I don't have to touch it. No cheap beers for me... lol.

Posted by: Debra at June 10, 2011 2:13 AM

I'm English on Mum's side and Scottish on Dad's, mostly, so I'm pretty well British all the way through - and I'm on my flight to the homeland at 8:50pm ;-) Yay!

Posted by: Heather at June 10, 2011 5:20 PM

On my father's side, my ancestral roots are Battersea, England (great-great-great grandfather) and London, England (great-great-great grandmother). Haven't been able to get too far back on my mother's side. But I will say that I love Ancestry.com. It is awesome and fascinating.

Posted by: mmpotter at June 11, 2011 11:08 AM

English, Irish, and German with mostly a German upbringing. Those Germans don't make the greatest food. At least my Mom didn't.

Posted by: cassie-b at June 12, 2011 3:08 PM

I'm a Kraut-Mick attorney. I have a special practice. I handle one client.

JK. I have my own lineage, but every time I turn around, I learn something new. Most folks in my family on my mom's side are Irish, but a good chunk (as folks here also say) came here illegally through Canada in the late 1800's.

Posted by: alektra at June 12, 2011 9:43 PM