What Are We?

Scanned Image 101240003

Several years ago my younger brother Derek asked me this very important question – ‘What are we?’

He was referring to our ethnic makeup.  I pulled out one of the many small, yellow legal pads my mom keeps around and began calculating.  I did have to refer to my tree to double check a few things but the result is this, I am:

  • 7/16 English
  • 3/16 French-Canadian
  • 1/8 Scottish
  • 3/32 Danish
  • 1/16 Spanish
  • 1/16 Italian
  • 1/32 Welsh

I still have that ratty yellow piece of paper.  I think I have hung onto it because it felt so concrete – this map of my fractions.  So many things are used to define us but this, this was a beautiful math problem that represented all of the people who came before me.  The people to whom I owe my very existence.  The people who I carry somewhere in my DNA and more importantly – my heart.

Have you taken the time to answer the question?

What are you?

12 thoughts on “What Are We?”

  1. Been sat trying to work this out as mostly my Ancestry is pretty boringly English and Welsh but I am 1/64 Irish and 1/8 Scottish (apparently…) I am struggling with my husbands! My maths is so poor! He has lots of straggly Irish and Scottish and Welsh and one potential Italian ancestor (purely speculation at this point lol)

  2. Oh I want to try this! I couldn’t trace all my ancestors to their country of origin, but I have most of them. I’ll have to sit down and figure it out!!

  3. It’ll be a while before I can figure this out. I’m back to six generations in most of my lines, and seven or eight in a few, 13 in a couple lines. So far most are still in the States. I guarantee I’m worse than Alex in math skills so won’t even attempt what you’ve done! But here’s what I know:

    ~3 FIFTH generation immigrants: 2 from Scotland, 1 from England (that’s 1/8 Scottish, 1/16 English)
    ~4 SIXTH generation immigrants: 2 from England, 2 from Germany (this is where I give up the fractions & run out of the room screaming!!)
    ~1 SEVENTH generation immigrant: 1 from Scotland
    ~1 EIGHTH generation immigrant: 1 from Switzerland
    ~1 NINTH generation immigrant: 1 from Switzerland
    ~2 ELEVENTH generation immigrants: 2 from Switzerland
    ~2 THIRTEENTH generation immigrants: 2 from England

    If anyone wants to tell me what I am, go for it!! But thanks, genealogy girl, for helping me to see my tree in a new way – Very enlightening putting it all together. Sometimes we get so focused researching the near, we forget the far. Great to step back and look at it this way.

Leave a Reply