Re: Foreigners

1

I used to be an immigrant.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 5:12 PM
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But then you got over it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 5:13 PM
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I moved again.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 5:14 PM
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I moved from the North to the South. That counts, right?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 5:21 PM
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I hate you all.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 5:22 PM
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Carpetbagger.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 5:22 PM
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Foreigner.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 5:25 PM
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The definition is a little ambiguous to me. If your parents were born in country A and you were born in country B, does that mean that you're an immigrant wherever you live? Or is it that you can only be an immigrant, under those circumstances, if you live in another country C?


Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 5:25 PM
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My grandmother was born in Rhode Island to parents who had just immigrated from Ireland, couldn't make a go of it, and went back home when she was a baby. She re-immigrated when she was around twenty.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 5:27 PM
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If your parents were born in country A, and you were born in country B, then by this definition you are an immigrant anywhere: in country A and countries C–Z, because you weren't born there; in country B, because your parents weren't born there.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 5:28 PM
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My paternal grandparents were both first generation.

I, however, have lived in the same general area of the country my entire life.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 5:29 PM
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10 is correct.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 5:31 PM
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I would say that's a poor definition then. My cousin, born in Thailand while my uncle was flying for Air America, is not an immigrant to America. She was born an American citizen to parents of American origin, and doesn't remember living in any other country.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 5:34 PM
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Those of us who think that something like Kirchhoff's current law must be true of countries, which can be stated alternately as asserting the identity of emigrants and immigrants, will be offended by ogged's definition.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 5:35 PM
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My parents were immigrants, if by "parents" you mean "unknown ancestors fifteen to eighteen generations back."

Those immigrants were from exotic England! Or possibly Scotland. Or both. It isn't clear. Exciting, no? In elementary school we had an assignment where we had to draw the flag of a country of our ancestors. I thought England would be boring, so I spent hours looking for the Scottish flag, realized that looked even more boring and eventually, on the premise that there had to be some Normans in there somewhere, drew a French flag.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 5:35 PM
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16

Your utter lack of ethnicity is an inspiration to us all.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 5:37 PM
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My mother was born in Cuba, but she's no immigrant, along the lines of 13.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 5:37 PM
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How is the French flag not more boring than the British one?


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 5:38 PM
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16: my ethnic heritage is Gin. Although I'm sure w-lfs-n will tell me that's not even true.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 5:39 PM
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Anyone read "The Good German"? Ogged's Gitmo-blogging.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 5:39 PM
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18: look, I was twelve and grasping at straws. It was at least a bit more unique in the context of my sixth grade class.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 5:39 PM
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those with dual citizenship, please raise your hand.

Thank you.


Posted by: Lucy | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 5:40 PM
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Although I'm sure w-lfs-n will tell me that's not even true.

That's right! Gin comes from Holland.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 5:41 PM
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Though I guess it has been in England for some time, and there are multiple distinct English styles, so, sure, you can have it.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 5:42 PM
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LB, consider yourself kicked in the shin, with a "for the love of God" thrown in.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 5:42 PM
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Tweety's ethnic heritage is

The clatter of clogs in the Lancashire mill towns, the to-and-fro of the lorries on the Great North Road, the queues outside the Labour Exchanges, the rattle of pin-tables in the Soho pubs, the old maids hiking to Holy Communion through the mists of the autumn morning... solid breakfasts and gloomy Sundays, smoky towns and winding roads, green fields and red pillar-boxes....


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 5:43 PM
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My dad was an immigrant, having been born in Canadialand. However! Lest that give me too much street cred! His father was born in the US and had migrated North to follow the gold strike.

It would have made my dad's life a little easier if they'd straightened out the paperwork of the above, since he spent a little time thinking of himself as an illegal between the expiration of his student visa and marriage to my mother. But paperwork is for the weak, and Yukoners don't hold with that truck.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 5:44 PM
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The thing about the English and gin is, they know what to do with it.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 5:45 PM
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My dad does have a yokelish, indecypherable accent and refers to US disasters as "your government's problems," though. That surely counts for some exoticism.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 5:46 PM
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indecypherable

You, meanwhile, are an immigrant from the seventeenth century.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 5:48 PM
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31

I'm an immigrant (by any definitions), and have dual citizenship.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 5:48 PM
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One side from the Potato Famine, the other has been documented to 1680 New Jersey. One aunt claims Mayflower, but we pay her no attention. Irish-German-Scottish-English, with a touch of Native American.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 5:49 PM
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Crap. I knew that looked off.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 5:49 PM
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My mom was born in one country which had been claimed by another country but was at the time administered by a third which had won control through war, and which is now not a country, is still claimed by another country, and has many of the aspects of being an independent country today.

My dad's mom was born in a different country from where my dad was born, and her mom was born in a country that had ceased to exist lonf before she was born but which exists now.

I was born in the country in which my dad was born, which continues to exist.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 5:49 PM
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It may surprise you to know that for many purposes of this question, I tend to answer no. Technically, of course I am, and I'm alienated enough, although so are many USans. But I'm a Mayflower descendant, with no perceivable accent, and it doesn't feel right to claim immigrant status in many contexts.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 5:51 PM
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Born in the UK, moved to the US in my mid-twenties.

I have only once been described as an immigrant -- by a law professor who I think was making some sort of political point.

I think of myself as -- everyone I know thinks of me as -- an expat.

This sort of thing is probably one of the reasons why everyone hates the English.


Posted by: Felix | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 5:51 PM
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I may be able to claim citizenship to an Asian city-state. I've never bothered to find out, because I have no attachment to the place and don't even want to visit it.


Posted by: Michael Vanderwheel, B.A. | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 5:58 PM
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38

Actually, one of my family names indicates that my ancestors were carpetbaggers in Scotland, too.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 5:59 PM
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39

This thread is so whitebread I'm going blind. These are really the ratios here? How vaguely embarrassing.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 6:02 PM
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39: Eh, wait until Giuliani wins the election and then re-run the question with an "e". Comments 417-904 will be LB teaching us Samoan.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 6:05 PM
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Expat. That's perfect, Felix, that's what I (Irish) and my spouse (Bangladeshi) describe ourselves as too. And the parents bit doesn't make any sense to me either.


Posted by: billyfrombelfast | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 6:06 PM
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42

40: Have I ever mentioned that a traditional Samoan formal greeting translates literally as "You're wet and you're here, your Wetness"?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 6:10 PM
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43

42: I'm totally using that.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 6:12 PM
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44

Just kidding. She's totally legal.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 6:12 PM
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45

Chalk up another whitey here. German great-grandparents on one side, Americans well back into the mid-1800s on the other. Including a German conscripted by the English to fight against the colonists, who apparently said "fuck it, can't afford a ticket home, might as well stay and check out this "freedom" thing' after the war.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 6:12 PM
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42: I can't seem to make a joke out of that, perhaps because they're all so obvious.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 6:14 PM
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42: Did that have anything to do with cross-water travels?


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 6:15 PM
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47: Yeah; it commemorates the manner in which a Savai'i resident greeted the warrior goddess Nafanua after she swam from Upolu to Savai'i to free her people from the Tongans. (She subsequently accidentally killed his sons in battle -- she'd warned her people that she was going to kill everyone in front of a line in the sand, and all the Samoans should get back behind it. The sons got excited and ran forward to help her fight, and she killed them.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 6:19 PM
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My grandmother was born in Rhode Island to parents who had just immigrated from Ireland, couldn't make a go of it, and went back home when she was a baby

Similar deal, except grandfather/Massachusetts/Italy. Tragic story, actually. But these discussions of family origin happen now and then, and giving the simple answer about which was the immigrant generation always makes me feel like I've lied a teensy bit because I haven't qualified it with all the tedious details.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 6:21 PM
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50

A Giuliani presidency would mean the Heimkunft I've been waiting for so long.


Posted by: Michael Vanderwheel, B.A. | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 6:21 PM
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51

Tune in next week to learn how Samoan women commemorate a tragic story of lost love by 'kissing the eel'.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 6:22 PM
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52

But these discussions of family origin happen now and then, and giving the simple answer about which was the immigrant generation always makes me feel like I've lied a teensy bit because I haven't qualified it with all the tedious details.

Yep, exactly.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 6:22 PM
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53

51: Ooh, the "True Love Waits" crowd will love that one.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 6:23 PM
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54

It is 35 years since I lived in the country from which I hold a passport.


Posted by: cdm | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 6:25 PM
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55

i am. mvd to the u.s. at the age of 22.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 6:25 PM
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56

On the Swiss side of my family, some stayed in Switzerland, at least one went elsewhere in Europe (Spain), some came to the US and stayed, and some came to the US and went back.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 6:26 PM
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57

ogged, you should do another poll.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 6:26 PM
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58

I think everyone on the Taiwanese side of my family who's come to the US has stayed. But some of my mom's cousin's kids who've come to the US or Canada for school or jobs might head back.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 6:28 PM
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59

My wife and I are both immigrants to Japan.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 6:29 PM
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60

ogged, you should do another poll.

Like "how many of you can answer a simple question simply?"


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 6:31 PM
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61

It occurs to me that I've now spend a third of my life in the U.S. Holy crap.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 6:31 PM
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62

t. Stupid wine.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 6:32 PM
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60: none.

Wait, now it's one!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 6:32 PM
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60: I'd actually be pretty interested in that one.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 6:34 PM
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65

I'm not an immigrant but my son, born in Kazakhstan, most definitely is.


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 6:34 PM
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66

Well, it depends on a variety of factors, such as....


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 6:35 PM
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67

uni magi native, huh?


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 6:35 PM
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60: Would, "no" be considered a serious or a snarky response?


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 6:41 PM
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69

Does being born in the US to American parents but being raised in Canada count?


Posted by: profgrrrrl | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 6:48 PM
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The real question is: For those of you who are immigrants, and currently reside in the USA: ARE YOU FUCKING INSANE? Or just without passport options?

I am not an immigrant, but if they ever were to start repatriating ethnic Danes, English, Scots, Scots-Irish or Latvians of ethnic-Russian extraction, I will be on the first boat back. The one drop of black blood would be harder to figure out, but it would be cool to go to Senegal.

Still, there's a significant portion of my neighbors who would call me an immigrant and then say something terribly cutting in Lakota or Ojibwe.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 6:48 PM
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I was born and raised in Canada. I used to be a resident alien, but now have a green card.


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 6:51 PM
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72

Um, I was born in a country other than the one where I reside, and since landing on these shores, have married and created two smaller persons who are citizens of a country different from the one I am a citizen of.

Does that count?


Posted by: paul | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 6:52 PM
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Yes, technically. But we English automatically get considered American once we've lived here a few weeks, while third generation Chinese-Americans are still considered immigrants.

Once during a staff meeting my boss talked condescendingly about how well our immigrant employees had turned out (meaning the Asians -- mainly Vietnamese and Korean). I thanked him for the compliment. I'm not sure he's ever forgiven me.


Posted by: jim | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 6:52 PM
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im·mi·grant (ĭm'ĭ-grənt)
n.
A person who leaves one country to settle permanently in another.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 6:53 PM
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All four of my mom's grandparents were immigrants. All four of my dad's grandparents were born in the US. No going back and forth since then on either side. So no, I'm not an immigrant under any definition (except that of minneapolitan's neighbors, of course).


Posted by: teofile | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 6:54 PM
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76

Uh, that was me. I seem to have mistyped my own pseudonym.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 6:54 PM
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77

Let's check the teofile!

Teo I had a dream with you in it last night. Unfortunately, that's all I remember about it. I bet I found you a girl.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 6:55 PM
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78

I bet you did.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 6:56 PM
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I'm old-school honky, with the family line I can trace arriving in 1700 from Carshalton, England. The other side is murkier, but British Isles mutt.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 6:57 PM
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I like teo.


Posted by: teophile | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 6:57 PM
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Non-immigrant. A couple of generations on either side, most of the people were in Europe. At least one was here, though, and noble, and savage.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 7:07 PM
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But we English automatically get considered American once we've lived here a few weeks

This is so utterly not my experience that I wonder if we're in alternate-reality USAs.

For those of you who are immigrants, and currently reside in the USA: ARE YOU FUCKING INSANE? Or just without passport options?

The day my wife finishes her PHD, the fucking moment, first plane out.


Posted by: Felix | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 7:09 PM
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83

a simple question

Did you ask one?


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 7:10 PM
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84

We should declare Canada exotic just to spice up the thread.

Latvians of ethnic-Russian extraction: Google "US-Latvia Axis of hate" if you want to understand Mplsitan's ethnic roots.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 7:12 PM
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We should declare Canada exotic just to spice up the thread.

Latvians of ethnic-Russian extraction: Google "US-Latvia Axis of hate" if you want to understand Mplsitan's ethnic roots.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 7:12 PM
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So I'm not as inclined to emigrate from the U.S. as some people in this thread, but even if I were I was just thinking about how having just completed a legal degree means I now have human capital which is far more capable of being monetized in the U.S. than it is elsewhere, and which incentivizes increased buy-in into the U.S. system.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 7:14 PM
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I suppose I'm an immigrant under Ogged's bizarro world definition, and it supplied me a 2nd citizenship. However, it hasn't done me much good since college, and now I'm just pissed off at how much passport renewals cost when you have two of them to do.

But we English automatically get considered American once we've lived here a few weeks

Felix is correct that this seems completely untrue. But it's a good thing, and the reason to get a super-cushy high-end service job where your accent will easily add a good five figures to your salary.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 7:15 PM
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My ancestor was kicked out of Jamestown before coming back to America on the Mayflower. I don't think the more pious of the Pilgrim types thought to highly of him...


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 7:15 PM
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I am the total opposite of an immigrant. My people were some of the first white folks here. My son recently said, "dad, some of our relatives take this genealogy stuff too seriously."

My people used to own a lot of Fairfax.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 7:15 PM
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My people used to own a lot of Fairfax.

Howdy, neighbor! My people used to own a lot of Prince George's.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 7:17 PM
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84: That's a tough sell, but I'll give it a shot:

Poutine (washed down with Pepsi) is an exotic delicacy.


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 7:17 PM
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For those of you who are immigrants, and currently reside in the USA: ARE YOU FUCKING INSANE? Or just without passport options?

There are c. 5 real universities in my beloved motherland. The job market is not that large. In America, OTOH, there are oceans of semi-literate young people begging for a quasi-education, and thousands of institutions to provide it to them.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 7:18 PM
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Be fair, fer'ners. There are a lot of excellent things about the US.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 7:19 PM
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My people owned what is now Ithaca, New York. That was before all the hippies moved in.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 7:19 PM
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95

My people used to eat starchy food and blow people up.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 7:19 PM
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96

For the purposes of this thread, US & Canada should be considered the same country. Except Texas, and maybe Quebec.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 7:20 PM
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97

Plus ca change.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 7:20 PM
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98

I know from INS. My naturalization certificate took 4 years. I am grateful to have learned how to wait, and genuinely regret not having yet been able to match my waiting skills with those of a native American. But I came young enough that I'm culturally american on the two most discriminating touchstones, root beer and peanut butter.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 7:20 PM
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95: Used to eat starchy food?


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 7:20 PM
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I don't think my family ever owned anything much. Buck's family is said to have owned what is now Scarsdale, but abandoned it as worthless.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 7:21 PM
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IA, I think that y'all should get closer to your exotic Newfie roots.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 7:21 PM
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99: See 97.

root beer and peanut butter.

Two of the most disgusting foodstuffs known to man.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 7:24 PM
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103

Howdy Sifu>

My son asked me why we sold it. I had to patiently explain that although our people once owned many things, we were essentially dumbasses.

Last summer, we had a huge reunion in England and Ireland. The Ireland part was to go and see the final home of the father of the person who immigrated to the America. The Immigrant's father was a drunk who went bankrupt in England so he abandoned his family and went to die penniless in England. I couldnt really explain to my son why we went to see where this guy died.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 7:26 PM
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Heh. The last of our land grant was sold off by my alcoholic grandfather, to pay for the care of yet another schizophrenic relative. Still a lot of stuff named for relatives there, though. I also own New York real estate, after a very attenuated fashion.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 7:29 PM
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Oops, wrong one.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 7:31 PM
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106

our's was sold off long ago.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 7:32 PM
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107

Hey, I know where that is.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 7:33 PM
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107: check it out for me, see if it's a nice place to be interred. Gotta keep my options open.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 7:34 PM
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So I'm not as inclined to emigrate from the U.S. as some people in this thread, but even if I were I was just thinking about how having just completed a legal degree means I now have human capital which is far more capable of being monetized in the U.S. than it is elsewhere, and which incentivizes increased buy-in into the U.S. system.

And I, in turn, was just thinking how having just completed a legal degree has made you speak all fancy-like.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 7:34 PM
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Delurking - Just wanted to comment on 10 - my kids are in this situation. Half American, half Egyptian, born in the US, left at the age of 2, lived in Egypt from age 5-6 until age 15. Egyptians treat them like foreigners although they are native speakers. Americans treat them like Americans for awhile, until they discover they just moved here, then don't know what category to put them in. Really, it bothers me that they have no country to 100% be able to call home.


Posted by: Anna in PDX was Cairo | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 7:36 PM
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109: I currently live within three blocks or less of each of those cemeteries. James Monroe was temporarily buried in one of them.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 7:37 PM
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Augustus Wynkoop is on that cemetery list. He sounds like a relative of mine. I think I remember "Wynkoop" from my mother's genealogy - one of those New Amsterdam types.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 7:37 PM
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Sifu:

That looks pretty cool.

I've made my son swear that he will have me burned and spread my ashes over various places that I select.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 7:38 PM
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Dude, the WASP conversation is totally oppressing the immigrants thread. Awesome!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 7:42 PM
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no country to 100% be able to call home

The American experience in a nutshell. We keep in practice by moving all over the place.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 7:43 PM
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I'm related to Meriwether Lewis.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 7:43 PM
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WASPs Rule!!!!

Sifu, you need to do your part and have some babies. Our birth rate is lagging.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 7:43 PM
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My wife is related to Hugh Hefner.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 7:44 PM
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119

The shear number of people with first-settler roots here is striking; I'm used to it being anomalous.

What do you think it means?


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 7:46 PM
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That everyone can trace make some connection, however tenuous?

Or that first-settler roots people are boring, self-absorbed, and have no real lives?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 7:48 PM
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119: I think it means that we are all probably related. The thing about the first settlers is that there weren't really all that many of them. But they bread like rabbits.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 7:48 PM
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What do you think it means?

That that are a lot of white people here, and some of them are familiar with their genealogy.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 7:48 PM
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Or that first-settler people are more likely to know about it? Or that overeducated coastal types with time and inclination to do things like comment on unfogged are more likely to have first-settler roots?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 7:49 PM
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Or what teo said.

Actually I was suprised to find, when I moved to California, that being a straight up WASPy McWASP was a fairly unusual condition.

121: I have mentioned previously that I'm inbred.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 7:50 PM
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Or that first-settler people are more likely to know about it?

I doubt it. A lot of people are descended from the first settlers, but most of them don't know it. You might make a plausible case that the sort of people who do know it are more likely to comment here, though.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 7:50 PM
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Checking into my genealogy further, not only have I lived in the U.S. for 12 years, it turns out I am also married to an American.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 7:51 PM
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Married to an immigrant. NEWASP, except for my dad's grandfather, whose parents came from Quebec. And grandmother, who came from Scotland.

On this continent, my people have never owned any more land than they needed, and the best of them bought it from the inhabitants, accepting English title only as confirmation. (Roger Williams got into more trouble for claiming that the King had no right to convey north american real estate than he did for the business about oaths from magistrates. 'Winny' knew which way the wind would blow through the streets of the city on a hill).


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 7:52 PM
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Oh, I've got some fine inbreeding myself. My family spent a good chunk of time in the rural mountains of Pennsylvania.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 7:52 PM
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All the Midwestern Germans are too hard at work to comment on unfogged.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 7:55 PM
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We be honky motherfuckers around here.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 7:55 PM
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I think will's about being able to make a tenuous connection is shrewd and certainly accounts for some, although not all of it.

So if this is true of you as it is of me, how would you attempt to characterize the less-documented, more recently-arrived parts of your family?

Mine would be: 18th & 19th C Protestant settlers to Canadian maritime provinces. Scotland & Ulster.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 7:55 PM
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Carp neglects to mention that his people needed about 1000 acres per person (not counting slaves).


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 7:56 PM
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Teo's got it right. I know vaguely of one line that goes back a long way because a couple of great-aunts were into such things, but a while back CharleyCarp pointed me to another one I know nothing about, and I'm sure there's lots of interesting stuff there to sort through if I ever had the time and the inclination. But I also had four (?) great-grandparents who were immigrants, and that's probably a pretty typical pattern for random whitebread Americans. We just pick out the ancestors we think are cool and ignore the rest. (This gets mildly comical when we are of mixed native and non-native ancestry and spend a lot of time yelling about the wrongs done to one set of ancestors by a different set of ancestors, but that's another topic.)


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 8:00 PM
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101: Emerson, my roots are Ottawa Valley. Its claim to fame is that it has the most close-mouthed speech in the country. Not at all exotic.

I have to say, I'm always a little bit sceptical of vague claims to Native American or Canadian ancestry. I thought I had a Native Canadian ancestor. Then I looked into it and it turns out she came from Co. Cavan.

So, first-settler = the ancestrals came over on the Mayflower?


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 8:02 PM
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I have Welsh Presbyterians to the Pennsylvania coal fields in the mid 19th century, England to New Jersey in the 1850s, Pennsylvania Dutch of dubious 18th century origin, some French Hugonaut and Scotch-Irish, and I also think there is a 17th century Swede in there.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 8:04 PM
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Pretty sure all my ancestors were the oppressor. No (even relatively) recent arrivals, no huddled masses, none remotely ethnic. Not even any late-to-the-game English immigrants. Straight up rapidly-diminishing WASP sons of second sons. Cheeverish twits the whole way back.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 8:05 PM
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So if this is true of you as it is of me, how would you attempt to characterize the less-documented, more recently-arrived parts of your family?

Ashkenazi Jewish and Irish Catholic immigrants to Philadelphia, early twentieth century.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 8:07 PM
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Hey, could an Italian or Pole or Greek speak up, at least? We're killing ourselves with honkitude around here. Stanley?

Like the fat sausage-eater in a tiny room who farted himself to death.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 8:13 PM
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we went to the Indian food festival this weekend. I wish that someone in my family had married an Indian. Such amazing skin.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 8:15 PM
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"I'm always a little bit sceptical of vague claims to Native American or Canadian ancestry."

I got her photograph, with her husband, in my living room. Can't count the greats-, but around the Civil War.

133 is correct, I have only knowledge of three lines, the N Irish, the S Irish, and thru one grandparent back to pre-revolutionary NJ. The fourth branch I think might be Scots-Irish. The Irish lines trace back to around 1800, there is a lot of material available.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 8:15 PM
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134: I think first-settler would correspond to the Great Migration of between about 1620 and the early 1640s, which is when the major wave of about 20,000 white people came in from England. It actually started a bit earlier with Jamestown in the South, but really picked up when the Winthrop Fleet landed in 1630.

Yes, I am a history nerd.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 8:15 PM
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I'm always a little bit sceptical of vague claims to Native American or Canadian ancestry.

Me too, especially the "my grandmother was a Cherokee princess" stuff, but there really was a lot of intermarriage and assimilation during the nineteenth century, so many of the claims are accurate.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 8:20 PM
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IA, I was born in Deep River. Renfrew was the big town when I was a tot. Looked forward to visits to Beamish's Dept. Store.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 8:23 PM
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I have no identified ancestors past my grandparents. (Well, my maternal grandfather's parents, in Ireland. But that's it.)

As far as I know, Dad's family's from Queens.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 8:23 PM
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Sifu, it really is extraordinary to have no mixing from Dutch, Scots-Irish, Hugenots, etc all the way back. Some Dutch (and Walloon) folk ended up in early Plymouth, and even Winthrop's first cousin married an Irish guy.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 8:25 PM
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Yeah, I mean, it's certainly plausible. But there are pretty serious amateur genealogists on both sides, and none of them have mentioned anything about it. My dad's side may have some french people in there, as there's a plausibly french surname along the line. Mostly, though, it's been twits, and definitely never any catholics as far as I've ever heard.

Who knows. Genealogy is just embarrassing after a point.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 8:29 PM
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Correction to 139:we gave that photograph to a branch with kids 5 years ago, just as I gave away the blackthorn cane at my father's wake.

Hey it had been in the same spot on the wall for twenty years...I have no excuse. Weird memory trick.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 8:29 PM
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139: Well, I didn't mean you, bob. Honest.

No, seriously, I'm not saying it's never true, because obviously it sometimes is. And then there are those families where they know damn well it's true, but they don't want to acknowledge it. But I do think there is sometimes this too much honkitude thing (see 138), which, in the absence of reliable documents, can encourage people to speculate boldly about non-honkitudinal origins.

Have you ever thought of making a copy of that photograph for the purposes of living room display, while storing the original in an acid-free container? Just asking.


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 8:31 PM
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I still think it's very striking how many of us claim some first-settlertude, and what that says about our personality type and its origins.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 8:35 PM
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That is not what I claim, incidentally. I think my ancestors were too chicken to come over in the first wave, and waited 10 or 15 years until it seemed relatively safe.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 8:36 PM
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I agree with 148. As one of serious honkitude, I'm always hoping to find some non-honky in the family tree. So far, there is nothing more ethnic than a Pomeranian. Which isn't as ethnic as it sounds.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 8:37 PM
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It's not that surprising to have first-settler roots. I remember reading that descendants of just one Mayflower passenger, John Howland, number in the millions. (He was a servant boy, swept overboard in a storm, got pulled back into the boat. Lucky kid, I guess, but it's not like being descended from him is some special privilege.)

Obviously, everyone descended from John Howland also descends from Elizabeth Tilly, another passenger. Her parents died that first winter, and she ended up getting married, at like 14.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 8:39 PM
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Sifu - was that through Massachusetts or Virgina? I think Mass was more of a melting pot, while VA had a lot of straight up English. At least until the Scots-Irish started showing up.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 8:41 PM
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My dad's family were/are, my mom's isn't, although her paternal line traces back to a Georgian convict (actually a debtor, I think), which has to count for something. Er, the US state, that is, not the former Soviet republic.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 8:42 PM
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I'm related to the baal shem tov. Bitches.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 8:43 PM
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Well, yeah, there's having them and there's knowing about them. Dad's family were white New Yorkers in 1900 -- the family names sound English/Welsh/German, but the English bit could be Mayflower as likely as anything else. What makes me a prole is that the family lost the connection.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 8:44 PM
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153: I believe both for different branches. The big land grant was in Maryland, but that's only one big branch. There were definitely a bunch of Massachusetts and (early 18th century) New York and Philly types, so: who knows.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 8:45 PM
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152 - I think I saw a stat somewhere claiming that there were about 20 million Mayflower decedents. So its really not that rare - although a lot of people who are decedents don't know about it. My Mom wasn't able to confirm our roots until she finally made the connection about 5 years ago.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 8:46 PM
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148:Photograph isn't mine anymore. And it's hard to describe the attitude toward it, or the blackthorn cane. Valued, but not cherished.

I wonder who got my grandparents metal-free early 19th century 6' x 8' foot Mennonite diningroom never-refinished cupboard, but not very much.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 8:46 PM
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I'll bet that Labs has left a comment in this thread, but it was so white that we can't see it.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 8:46 PM
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That rules, w-lfs-n. Finally an interesting family history!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 8:47 PM
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Great-grandparents: Sicily, 1908, somewhere in Germany, early 20th, somewhere in France, probably late 19th, somewhere in Wales, probably late 19th. Everyone moved to Pittsburgh or a suburb thereof and stayed put.

My family assimilated into whitebreadedness* relatively quickly, and no one has an interest in genealogy.

*Pretty easy, except that the Sicilian boy had to hide his ancestry while courting my grandmother so he went by Tom.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 8:48 PM
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Yeah, when I said noble and savage, I didn't mean to imply any kind of Cherokee princessitude. Just random, making due, settling with this dumb white guy, Native American.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 8:48 PM
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157 - I'm jealous. I live in Maryland, and its also the only Eastern state north of the Carolinas in which I can't place some ancestor of mine. It kills me that I don't actually have roots here.

Interesting that your peeps had a Maryland land grant, but there were no Catholics. Maryland was all about the Catholics...


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 8:50 PM
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I'm related to the baal shem tov. Bitches.

Very impressive. Any other?

My wife's family are mostly from a town in Southern Germany, since before they were permitted to have last names, but some walked through the cattle gate into Berlin within a few years of Mendelsohn's having done it.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 8:52 PM
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I may be only recently extracted from the bog, but my grad school alumni magazine (they managed to track me down) has a back page ad wondering whether I want to have a fractional ownership in a private jet. What a country!


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 8:53 PM
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151: So far, there is nothing more ethnic than a Pomeranian.

You're saying you're descended from a toy dog? You're one of those Furries people, aren't you? No, really, I hear you. It's beyond silly, of course, but I wanted to have a First Nations ancestor. I'm all about the colonial picturesque, or maybe the colonial picaresque.

143: Renfrew Co.? We might be cousins! Who was your Grandda and so on and so forth? I can't remember the last time I heard anyone mention Beamish's.


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 8:57 PM
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As for relations, one of my crazy relatives back home wrote a book that was 70 percent good amateur genealogy (back to the 1400s), 20 percent editorializing about loose morals today, and 10 percent batshit insane. The latter bits concerned the origin details of my family beyond the extant record, and he claimed that we were descended from one of the sons of Moses. Bitches.

He printed up a thousand copies privately, everyone thought he was mad, but all our American relatives bought them in batches or ten or twenty copies to pass around back home in California and so he made a nice profit.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 8:57 PM
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64: 'cuz my people owned most of it. Hah!

I don't know about "most," really. A chunk.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 8:57 PM
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We only lived there, IA, on the Canadian Atomic Project. Both my parents were from the Maritimes, and we moved to Ottawa just as I turned 4.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 9:00 PM
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Oh, don't get too cocky. PG is the ghetto chunk. Talk to me when you've owned Montgomery....


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 9:01 PM
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Roughly speaking, we are all related to every single human being who was alive in 1400 and who has living descendants. 1400 assumes a generation time of 20 years, no intermarriage, and geographical mixing; relax a few hundred years if these are too stringent, but the relevant year of universal common ancestry is more recent than one might guess. Here's an interesting paper.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 9:06 PM
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Are you from Pembroke, IA?


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 9:12 PM
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172: 1400 seems a bit recent, but I'm pretty sure every European alive today can trace back to Charlemagne. To me it seems like stretch to say that every human can, though. It wouldn't surprise me if, for example, some Han Chinese were not related to Charlemagne, and almost certainly there are Australian Aboriginals not related.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 9:14 PM
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70 percent good amateur genealogy (back to the 1400s)

Colour me sceptical. There are always exceptions, of course, but if your ancestors are even roughly what I suspect they were, there's no good information on those folks prior to about 1800 or so. Of course, I could have your origins pegged all wrong, what with your pseudonym and all, in which case, my apologies.

I hear you on the American relations, but I'd like to point out that it is very much a two-way street. There's a lot of pure shite being peddled on the other side of the Atlantic, after all (and why not? after all, but still...). Last April, I got into a weirdly nasty exchange with someone who pretty much asked me to leave his shop, after I suggested that the "coat of arms" he was trying to sell me was pretty much mythical in its origins. Thing is, he was truly and genuinely angry with me, and it seemed to me that the objections I raised were the first he had heard tell along such lines...


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 9:25 PM
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My father's from Poland and my mother's from Ireland. They met in England after WWII. My mother had gone to England before the war to find work. My father went to England after the war on some sort of deal where an English person or group sponsored Poles. They moved to the US in the 1950s.

They never really assimilated and so, while I don't think of myself as technically an immigrant, I carry a lot of their immigrant experience with me.


Posted by: Annie | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 9:31 PM
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Sorry, didn't mean complete family tree back that far, by any means.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 9:31 PM
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I only comment here because I got diversity funding.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 9:35 PM
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Christ. teofilo, w-lfs-n, and I are the only Jews on this thread? I don't care what ogged says, we're not white.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 9:43 PM
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600 years ago is 10^9 ancestors, 20 yr generations. World population was under 500M. Mongols, nomads, and muslim traders mixed effectively. The populations existing on islands and in isolated valleys are the trick question. I meant this in response to the surprise at all the colonial connections.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 9:49 PM
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Hey, could an Italian or Pole or Greek speak up, at least? We're killing ourselves with honkitude around here. Stanley?

I'm less Polish than Irish, but my full name is 100% Pole. (Of four grandparents, three were Irish, but the Polock strain got the naming rights.)

(and I'm still reading the thread)


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 10:04 PM
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I think the 10^9 figure seriously understates the power of inbreeding, and 20 year generations is rather aggressive.

Also, if mixing was really that effective, we would all be a more uniform shade of light brown. Yes, there have been travelers among ethnic groups throughout history, but the tendency toward ethnic isolationism is a strong one. In my own example, while I could come up with several hundred known ancestors across 10 or 15 generations, ever last one that I know about is of Northern European extraction. This is not to say that there aren't others in the mix that I don't know about, just that the tendency to breed within ones own group makes the rate of genetic diffusion exceptionally slow.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 10:06 PM
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Actually I was suprised to find, when I moved to California, that being a straight up WASPy McWASP was a fairly unusual condition.

I'm a 5th generation Californian WASPy McWASP -- pretty much straight up English and Irish. The ancestor of mine who arrived most recently immigrated in the early 1900s.. from Canada.

FEAR MY HONKITUDE.


Posted by: Magpie | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 10:14 PM
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Honkey history is boring, of course, but there are moments of pure poignancy. My gr-gr-gr- Uncle Patrick [Adjunct], from Ballymacegan, Tipperary to the wild woods of Upper Canada, writing to an agent of the Crown (Peter Robinson: google him if you have any interest in the "paupers of Cork"):

Sir. At my coming to this Country which is now four years this faul I stoped in the township of March and paid Frederick W. Richardson ten dollars for his goodwill of Lot No. 8 in said township the north west half.

I could have sat on many a better lot that was vacant at the time. But he tol'd me as I was not able to pay for it that any other man could throw me out and he tol'd me it was a Crown lot and that he got the provision of leave from John Burk and would make good the same to me. But he having cut away all the oak was in a hurry to part with it.

Me self, me brother, and brother in law settled and improved on it until the following summer me brother in law was killed by the fall of a tree. The widow and three children fell in charge to us.

The summer following two elder brothers came to us, the one of them a man of family. The summer following he died. His widow and two children fell a burthen to us also. We have at this time about 25 acres of farm, two Chantys and a barn on said lot.

Those Burke brothers were swindlers. And Patt and John [Adjunct] were single and "childfree," but spent many years looking after the widows and the orphans, mostly by helping build the Rideau Canal system in order to raise some cash to buy another Crown lot. It is to laugh at the pretensions of the "unchilded," and also to chuckle at the notion that men in the past were just so many Hugh Hefners because the women didn't have the vote (which the men didn't have either, come to think of it, hmm...). They were evicted from the land they had spent four years clearing, and the land went to the University of Toronto. I'm thinking of putting in a land claim.


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 10:22 PM
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I'm related to the baal shem tov. Bitches.

Sure, man, but you killed Our Lord.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 10:38 PM
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Back on the veldt, taking care of your brother's kids blah blah blah genes blah blah.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 10:40 PM
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I've met someone named John Howland; I wonder if he was a relation.

I'm half Irish, 15-20% each of English & German, & various other places in NW Europe: Scottish, French, maybe dutch.

Your def'n doesn't work perfectly--it has my dad as an immigrant, as his father was a British citizen who came to the U.S. in high school. But his experience, & say, the experience of my husband's grandparents who grew up speaking Yiddish at home, was quite different.

Besides that grandfather, it was usually the great-grandparent, great-great, or great-great-great.

My husband is Romanian/Polish/Austrian/Russian, so our kids will really have much of Europe covered.

179: I don't pay is Jewish, I am starting the process of converting. "Unfogged: where even the Jews are WASPs."


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 10:54 PM
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Honkies! Honkies! Honkies!


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 11:05 PM
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And Emerson's transformation into a migrating coot continues. Soon, his comments will consist only of various inarticulate hoots and other avian cries.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 11:06 PM
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Last names of grandparents are Dyson, Montgomery, O'Connor, and mine (which starts with Mc as well). British Isles mutt all the way through.

I also think that there might be a bit of a disturbing downward trend in social class, although my sister and I are young still. But neither one of us is going to be joining the Pacific-Union Club like our crazy furniture baron great uncle.

I hope LB isn't at work.


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 11:09 PM
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Sorry to blast your hopes.

But the pile of crap that's been driving me batty since late August is getting filed Monday, so things should lighten up after that.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 11:11 PM
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YO, POR MI PARTE, ESTOY OFENDIDA. LAS CARPAS, SEGUN MI JUICIO, SON PUTAS DE LA SAGRADA CONCHA COLECTIVA DE SUS MAMAS.


Posted by: LA ABUELA PORTAVOZ | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 11:16 PM
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I'm a crypto-Jew, if that helps. (Widely assumed to be Jewish--despite the rather obvious evidence of my first name--because a) I'm a first lieutenant in the War Against Christmas and b) I know what a fucking sukkoh is.) And half my family is Jewish, but my brother & sister-in-law both converted, so they can't really be blamed for that whole brouhaha on Mt. Calvary.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 11:17 PM
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Enerjet, coffee, or tea?


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 11:18 PM
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I know what a fucking sukkoh is.

Me too.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 11:23 PM
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Nice! It looks like a sukkoh and a grotto all in one.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 11:28 PM
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Widely assumed to be Jewish--

I've been there -- in college I had a couple of odd conversations halfway through my freshman year explaining that I wasn't Jewish. I don't think I have a lot of Yiddish in my vocabulary, but apparently the occasional 'schmuck' is enough to confuse people in Boston.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 11:31 PM
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Thanks. It was pretty sweet.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 11:31 PM
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I'm still reeling from the presence of all the colonialists here. I'm Whitey McWhite (Norwegian, German, Irish), but all my greats and grands arrived here sometime between the potato famine and 1910. All very Emma Lazarus. I think of that as the typical Euro-mutt background; it's certainly true of most of my whitish friends. Finding out I'm [virtually] surrounded by so many Mayflower types is somehow . . . unsettling, if you will. (AITYW.)

Um, except you, M/tch honey.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 11:36 PM
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By your definition, I'm an immigrant, despite that both my parents and I have had American passports from birth.


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 11:42 PM
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Not an immigrant, even in bizarro world. Not even really a commenter.

Re the question of the most recent common ancestor, going the boring route and clicking around on Wikipedia is interesting and even footnoted. It gives the 1000+ AD figure as the likely time for the most recent common ancestor of people who have European ancestry though, not for all humans.


Posted by: Mary | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 11:54 PM
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That's a damn fine looking sukkah.

I was mistaken for Jewish reasonably often by non-Jews in college. Not by Jews, ever. I guess it's the NYC-area, occasional yiddish phrase, thing...honky though I may be, I'm also one pagan orgy on a Mormon mission to India away from being a one-woman interfaith alliance: baptized Catholic, raised Catholic/Episcopalian/Quaker/Catholic/Methodist/Catholic/Unitarian/Methodist/Episcopalian, my best friend growing up was "Just Christian" & her dad used to go get arrested for Operation Rescue, I married a Jewish guy, I'm in the process of converting, & my clients are mainly Sunni Muslims.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 12:09 AM
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Feel the whiteness of the blogosphere. Most of my ancestors came here only in the last three generations or so. All four of my dad's grandparents were immigrants. One Italian grandmother, and the other three trace back to mainland UK. As I recall, Cornwall, Staffordshire, and Clackmannan.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 12:13 AM
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Seems kinda late to post this but oh well.

First generation immigrant to the U.S.
Born in Nigeria, came here when I was 15.

Deep dark sercret I don't tell anyone:
I kinda feel like a sellout for naturalizing.


Posted by: WillieStyle | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 12:35 AM
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re: 203

Clackmannan? Heh. I'm from about 8 miles away from there. Clackmannanshire's been teaching philosophy to children (starting about age 5) for years now as part of a progressive educational experiment. Which is quite cool.

My family are Scots, English or Irish going as far back as I have any information [mid 18th century on the English side, mid 19th on the Scottish].

I suppose I am very very vaguely sort of an immigrant. I moved to England from Scotland in my late 20s to pursue graduate studies and I still haven't quite finished my studies. I don't think anyone counts that as 'immigration' though especially since half my family is English anyway and I was born near London [when my Dad was stationed down here in the Army].

I suppose if Scotland votes for independence I'd count as an immigrant.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 12:42 AM
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My grandparents' grandparents came over from Ireland when the rest of the Irish did in the 19th Century. They settled in New York, where every following generation has stayed, although we were part of white flight and shifted to Long Island in the 60's. I thought this was pretty boring, but apparently not on this thread.

If you asked me where my family was from, I, like LizardBreath, would say "Brooklyn" before I said "Ireland".


Posted by: Cain | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 12:52 AM
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I'm from about 8 miles away from there. Clackmannanshire's been teaching philosophy to children (starting about age 5) for years now as part of a progressive educational experiment.

I've never been out there, but I've heard it's the smallest county in Scotland. My uncle (dad's brother) the landscape architect emigrated out there (Scotland) like 40 years ago to work for Livingston Development Corporation and never came back. Worked on that Livingston project until the corporation was finally disbanded and I think he's in a private firm now. He married a local and has a couple daughters. I assumed he'd gotten citizenship, but now that I think about it, I've never asked.

At a big family get together years ago his older daughter who was about 16 at the time started pounding down the beers and went on a great rant about how the Scots had been fucked out of the oil revenues from the Black Sea. Then she passed out on the couch. Awesome.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 1:16 AM
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re: 207

Yeah, it's the smallest county in Scotland. It has some quite cool places to go:

http://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/dollar/castlecampbell/index.html

At a big family get together years ago his older daughter who was about 16 at the time started pounding down the beers and went on a great rant about how the Scots had been fucked out of the oil revenues from the Black Sea.

I presume she meant North Sea? A Scot complaining about the lack of oil revenues from the Black Sea would be odd!

re: philosophy teaching in Clackmannan

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/6330631.stm

[Although that article is incorrect. When I was studying philosophy at Glasgow in the early 90s, there was already a scheme going on teaching philosophy to kids in Clackmannan which was administered out of a special unit at Glasgow University.]


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 1:24 AM
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I presume she meant North Sea?

Aargh. Yeah, North Sea.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 1:26 AM
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#202: That's a damn fine looking sukkah.

Have you ever seen one of those multi-function sukkahs that is also a barn?


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 2:24 AM
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Aargh. Yeah, North Sea.

What! Never heard of the Crimean McDonalds, who were forcibly relocated to Cowdenbeath by Stalin in 1941?

Mrs OFE is an immigrant in the other directin, more or less.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 3:47 AM
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Crimean tartar sauce is the best.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 4:05 AM
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sifu is my brother in honkitude! if my family had only held on to our former prized possession: the entirety of lower manhattan, I would be reeeeally rich now. my stuyvesant WASPiness is tempered by the addition of some Huguenots on the other side--but they're just WASPs from France! truthfully I think I have some random country-fried Scot types on my dad's dad's side who I don't know much about. also some Munnerlyns and stuff, who the fuck...ah, I see they were honky settlers of south carolina, um, Callaways...descended from some english dude who moved to ol'virgnny in 1700. honk status: complete.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 4:24 AM
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Well, I'm living in the country where I and all my ancestors back a couple of hundred years were born. However I can justify my pseud on the basis that we are probably all, like Nicholas, descended from the Prophet Muhammad. Except for Ogged, obviously.


Posted by: emir | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 4:35 AM
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Even allowing for there being many more Mayflower/First-Settler descendants than people realize, and that part of people's backgrounds being more often well researched, the homogeniety of the blog is striking, and way beyond what I would have expected.

Got to mean something sociologically, and probably different from our IRL company by a wide margin.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 5:32 AM
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I am a boring, classic combination of Ashkenazi, English, and Irish, with most of the immigration happening at the great-grandparent degree of remove. My maternal grandmother was a war bride from London (Bethnel Green), though, and her side of the family is by far the one I'm closest to. When she and my grandfather moved back to England for many years, I spent enough long chunks of time there in my formative years that I now feel weirdly homesick for it, but really, that's just silly of me.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 6:27 AM
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It's not that surprising to have first-settler roots.

It really isnt. I find genealogy very interesting, but many people involved in genealogy take obscene pride something that means relatively little.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 6:54 AM
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My family are cohenim, meaning we are descended from Aaron, brother of Moses. This distinction is shared by all Jews around the world named Cohen, Cohn, Kohn, Kahn, Kagan, and anything similar, as well as many who don't have those names.

My grandfather and his siblings had a wonderful story about staying up all night to bury the family silver behind their inn before their escape to the West, when they expected to return as soon as the then current pogrom blew over. This was Ukraine 1917 or so, and they never made it back. In the 1970's they tried to dictate directions to find the place in case one of us kids wanted to try to find the silver. The task was complicated by the fact that they had left 60 years before as teenagers or younger; had escaped using forged documents that they were pretty sure listed a completely fake place of origin (as well as false birth years, a story for a different thread some day); had grown up entirely in one small village so they had no real sense of geography; and knew only the Yiddish place names, which didn't appear on any map we could find.

The few Russian place names they recalled also could not be found. Perhaps the Soviets had renamed some places. Maybe the Nazis had obliterated others. Maybe their Yiddish-inflected Russian was incompatible with our Roman alphabet map. Maybe they made the whole thing up. Except for it being about a full day's trip from Kiev by train (and no one having any idea whether trains ran at 20 or 60 mph in 1915 Ukraine) we found zero correspondence betweeen the recollections and the real world.

A few years later Chernobyl was in the news, and they decided that was the name of the largest town nearby, although it wasn't recognizable from the earlier stories. So the family silver presumably glows in the dark now, but will remain buried for a few more millenia.


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 8:00 AM
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I find genealogy very interesting, but many people involved in genealogy take obscene pride something that means relatively little.

Right. 60 Minutes had a piece on genetic genealogy on Sunday. I found this point (which is on page 2 of the transcript) interesting, even if it's an obvious point:

Hank Greely, a law professor at Stanford University, has studied this new field. He worries that people don't realize just how many ancestors they actually have.

"Eight generations ago both you and I had 256 great-great-great-great-great-great grandparents," Greely points out. "It doubles every generation. So you've got two parents. You have four grandparents. You have eight great grandparents. Sixteen great-great grandparents. And it adds up fast. It adds up so fast in fact that if you go back 20 generations you've got over a million grandparents."

Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 8:05 AM
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I claim descent from mitochondrial Eve.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 8:06 AM
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You have four grandparents. You have eight great grandparents. Sixteen great-great grandparents. And it adds up fast. It adds up so fast in fact that if you go back 20 generations you've got over a million grandparents."

Doesn't everyone's family tree start narrowing from inbreeding not too far back, though? I mean, it narrows really fast if you're Spanish royalty, but no one actually has a million unique ancestors twenty generations back.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 8:12 AM
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no one actually has a million unique ancestors twenty generations back

Yeah, my dad's family lived in Shemogue ("shim-o-GWEE") New Brunswick for nearly two hundred years. What are the odds most people they met and married weren't cousins?


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 8:18 AM
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221: Well, the guy is from Stanford, where one is required to make at least one exaggerated claim per day. Right, ben?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 8:19 AM
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My great uncle (100% German in descent) was a Milo Minderbinder quartermaster in WWII and was able to supply all his nephews and nieces with complete sterling silver table settings he had looted. For decades I took pride in thinking that it had been looted from Nazi swine, but sometimes I wonder whether he had just appropriated a Nazi hoard previously looted from the Jews. Ethical dilemma.

Though I think that Nazi looting was very efficiently run by the state, and didn't allow individuals to form personal hoards.

My dad did a lot of genealogy, as did one of his cousins, and I followed it up a little. At some point I realized that I barely knew my three living grandparents, and that even my great-grandparents would be totally strange to me if I could meet them, and that the whole exercise was pretty empty except as a stamp-collecting type hobby.

Though I cherish the memory of the brewer who was implicated in the murder of a prohibitionist preacher, and the man who was hanged for setting his mother on fire. (Key testimony in the trial: the man's dead mother appeared to a neighbor in a dream and fingered him.)


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 8:22 AM
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I knew my maternal grandmother well, she lived with us until I was sixteen. My paternal grandmother lived far away and was someone I wrote thank-you notes to. Both my grandfathers had been dead for many years.

My geneological knowledge is due to a family history having been written at the end of the 19th C. It was revised and updated in the sixties. I've read somewhere that the rage for such books, much easier to compile when the old graveyards were mostly intact, was a response to the impact of immigration in the late 19th C.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 8:32 AM
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It takes only a few travelers or foundling daughters to keep you related to people away from your village, or warren for rodents. There is a considerable literature on this, the relevant phrase is gene flow. Mark Stoneking's papers are consistently interesting for human ancestry.
Completely isolated populations speciate pretty quickly.

Another surprising fact is that most of your 30x great ancestors contribute 0 alleles to any descendant; there are about 3M single nucleotide mutations between any pair of humans, and the effective number of inherited ones is much smaller, maybe 1000 fold, maybe 10,000 fold because most mutations are inherited in big blocks. There are more ancestors than mutation slots carried by a single individual after not so many generations, in other words.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 8:49 AM
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I'm a 5th generation Californian WASPy McWASP -- pretty much straight up English and Irish. The ancestor of mine who arrived most recently immigrated in the early 1900s.. from Canada.

Exactly the same, except "Californian" = "mostly North Carolinian" and "Irish" = "Scottish and Welsh".

Every one of my great-great-grandparents was born in North America except for the man whom my name actually comes from, who came to Canada with the British army in the 1860s and stayed there upon independence. He married a Canadian woman.

I have never seen any evidence of non-English-speaking people in my ancestry, unless you count the people who came over in the 1790s from Argyll, Scotland, which you probably should.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 9:07 AM
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My Grandfather apparently disappeared in the First World War and was rumoured [given that his wife was regarded as a 'old battle-ax' (at least by her daugher-in-law) not to have been killed but to have left Europe to live with a tango dancer in Buenos Aires.

It was a good family story - but then along came the Internet and we discovered that he had, in fact, been killed in France only a few days before the Armistice was declared in November 1918. I've heard people talk of the relief brought about by 'closure' (a word I regard almost as glumly as 'awesome' by the way) but I was rather disappointed. Shacking up with a tango dancer in Buenos Aires sounded just, well, more interesting....


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 9:11 AM
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My claim to honky, patriarchal cred: I'm not just from Great Migration settlers, I can trace in a direct paternal line to someone with my surname.

However, my maternal side is all Jews from various parts of Central Europe.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 9:18 AM
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the man's dead mother appeared to a neighbor in a dream and fingered him

?!?!


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 9:19 AM
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'Fingered" in the sense of "accused". Not the dirty sense.

But dream testimony was accepted in that court.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 10:19 AM
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Another honky. Combination of New Amsterdam Dutch (first arrival 1632) and Scots- Irish (Boston 1719). I had thought that they were all Northern European until I recieved news that my great grandmother was born in Italy to parents who had moved there from France. She then came to the US in 1890. The maternal line sold the family farm in Brooklyn @ the turn of the last century.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 10:37 AM
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I'm a first generation immigrant, as I mentioned. There are odd things about imigrating to a place where a lot of people are originally from where you are coming from. It's a lot less culture shock than other moves, but there is some; everybody just assumes you belong and understand things that you may not. I didn't have to learn a new language when I moved, but apparently none of the kids could understand my accent in my first school class. Lots of little things that leave you perplexed as a kid. A sort of `invisible immigrant' by way of blending in really well. I was young enough I don't really remember the naturalization process, although I do remember getting my citizenship. It's handy to have another passport sometimes, but I don't really feel much connection to my original citizenship, again because of the age (8 or so when I was naturalized)


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 10:46 AM
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I guess I missed this thread, but I emigrated from the U.S. to Latin America almost 3 years ago.


Posted by: neil | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 11:15 AM
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223: more to the point, he's a lawyer.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 11:21 AM
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Okay, for Honky McHonk cred: first boat after the Mayflower if you go by patrilineal descent, altho my great^3 grandfather left the US to go be a missionary in India in like 1820 or 1830 or something, and down that line of descent I think not a one of 'em were born in the US since then (myself included). Grandma was of Illinois farm girl stock (type: English). On Mom's side, it's Scottish rather than English, and she was of the first generation born overseas.


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 12:52 PM
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218: I'm also a kohen, or at least my mom's family is; since Judaism is matrilineal but priestly status is patrilineal, I'm not sure what the deal is for people like me.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 12:54 PM
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237: I think it means you're Jewish for sure, as are my children, but not a Kohen. Conservative/traditional friends of mine have an egalitarian minyon, and have apparently had daughters of kohenim go up or do whatever blessing they do. It doesn't make sense for the most prominent surviving kohen ceremony, the pid'yon haben, which is all about boys.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 1:01 PM
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If one has an egalitarian minion, can one really be said to have a minion at all?


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 1:03 PM
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I remember reading somewhere that people named variants of Kohen were actually quite likely to share Y chromosome DNA, indicating common patrilineal descent going way back. I wonder if anyone out there is thinking about doing DNA tests to distinguish geniune kohenim from people whose ancestry got mixed up back along the way.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 1:03 PM
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Yes, there is a market for tests like this, though I do not know whether there is one specificlly for Kohanim. There was an interesting study on caste intermarriage in India. Poor girls marry up/ rich boys marry down was the upshot.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 1:08 PM
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233: I have Russian Jewish friends who grew up in Coney Island. Their ancestors immigrated about a century ago. They really dislike the new Russian Jewish immigrants that have showed up in recent decades.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 1:13 PM
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236: Me too. Either our relatives were shipmates or we're distantly related to each other.


Posted by: Magpie | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 1:32 PM
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Okay, since no one took the bait in #210, here is how it was supposed to go:

A: Have you ever seen one of those multi-function sukkahs that is also a barn?

B: No, I've never even heard of such a thing.

C: Really? Because there's a sukkah barn every minute.

Thank you, try the veal.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 9:05 PM
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