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Identity origins - wherefrom your (great)grandparents?

 
 
nimh
 
Reply Fri 28 Feb, 2003 09:44 pm
Probably more relevant to the Americans and Australians among you than to the Europeans, but: of what origins are your families? To what extent are you aware of cultural heritages involved in your families' history? (Proceeding from the assumption that every American family were migrants once?)

I started wondering about the question after reading a chapter in a book I bought on Ruthenian identity - and how a Rusyn/Ruthenian identity, separate from Ukrainian, Slovak, Russian or Polish, was maintained in the American diaspora even in the times (the 40s through 80s) that, "back home", this people seemed to have assimilated forgood into other ethnic identities ...
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dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Feb, 2003 09:54 pm
maternal grandfather Cherokee (native american)
maternal grandmother Irish-English
paternal grandfather English
paternal grandmother French/Canadian
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jespah
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Feb, 2003 10:02 pm
paternal grandmother - Austro-Hungarian; the area she was from is now I think the Ukraine? Had some Spanish ancestry.
paternal grandfather - Romanian; the area he was from is now in Russia.
maternal grandmother's parents (because she was born in the US) - Poland.
maternal grandfather's parents (because he was born in the US) - Romanian.
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Feb, 2003 10:22 pm
that's interesting ...

considering we're sometimes talking grandparents of greatgrandparents here, how much knowledge, awareness or living traditions have been passed on through these two, three generations, if any at all?
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Feb, 2003 10:46 pm
Maternal grandparents: Irish, English, Welsh, French, German, with a smattering of Native American (not clear what tribe -- this was a deep dark family secret that only recently surfaced)

Paternal grandparents: Russian (grandmother), unclear (grandfather). Born in U.S., but parents immigrated from Russia, with an un-Russian name that was possibly Swedish (which is unusual for a Sephardic Jew.)

Tradition-wise, from my maternal grandparents, not much. A certain work ethic, perhaps. My paternal grandfather died before I was born, but a lot from my paternal grandmother. She told me all about the small town just outside the big city of Minsk that her family was from, told me all kinds of traditions, and left me a treasured family heirloom that nobody knew about -- one of a pair of very fine gold, diamond, and ruby earrings from Russia. There is a long story of their provenance, which may or may not be true, but is wonderful.
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fishin
 
  1  
Reply Sat 1 Mar, 2003 07:34 am
I've traced my mother's family back as far as 1588 to Frostenden, Suffolk, England and they came to the US in 1633. My fathers line is traced back as far as 1600 to the Sarthe in France and they came to Canada in 1654 and finally to the US in 1892.

Along the way my mother's line picked up a few Irish families. My fathers line is entirely French-Canadian.
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midnight
 
  1  
Reply Sat 1 Mar, 2003 08:41 am
Maternal Great-great grandparents on my grandmother's side were british.

My grandfathers last name is wagner so I know there is some german on his side some where.

I'm my fathers side I believe a great x 3 grandmother was full blooded native american but her tribe is unknown.

Other than that my fathers side is all english.

I think I have an Irish great x ? grandparent in there somewhere but I'm not sure where but definitely on my mothers side.

As far as traditions go up until my generation everyone was strictly Catholic on my mother's side. There is even a nun in my grandmother's generation. I think the irish in my mother's side explains all the heavy drinking of which my family tends to partake. On my fathers side I think the very conservative protestant cult they are a part of has washed any ruminants of any native american tradition away.
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ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Sat 1 Mar, 2003 09:43 am
waiting for hamburger to arrive and explain the mix - when i was about 14, i spent hours with both of my grandmothers in Hamburg working up a family history as far back as they could remember it - the notes are still with hamburger and mrs. hamburger.
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Lorna
 
  1  
Reply Sat 1 Mar, 2003 10:37 am
My maternal grandmother was Italian
my granfather was Ukrainian/Russian

Both my paternal granparents were Scottish.

Growing up there was a major Italian influence, not so much the Russian. There was also a very, very strong Scottish influence which my father instilled in me, starting with my name...which is virtually unheard of in the States but as popular in Scotland as Jennifer is in the US.

Considering I moved to Scotland from New York 8 years ago, whether I feel more Scottish or the other depends on what kind of day I'm having, lol...

Lorna Smile
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steissd
 
  1  
Reply Sat 1 Mar, 2003 10:47 am
Paternal great-grandparents were ethnic Germans with Russian citizenship.
Maternal great-grandparents lived in Ukraine (at that time it was a part of Russian empire/USSR), later they moved to Baku. They were ethnic Jews (the Ashkenazi ones).
BTW, Sozobe, I wonder how could the Russian Jew from your paternal grandparents' side be Sephardic? It is not so typical for the Russian Jews, more than 90 percent of them being Ashkenazis.
Did he come from Northern Caucasus (Azerbaijan, Dagestan, Georgia (not the American state, but the independent country, formerly the Soviet republic)) or Bukhara (currently Uzbekistan)?
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 1 Mar, 2003 12:03 pm
steissd, that's part of what's unclear. I have an uncle who is researching this stuff, and he seems to think that branch of the family was in Sweden for a while en route to Russia (?) from Question I should check with him to see if he's come up with anything new lately.

My paternal grandma was Ashkenazi.
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steissd
 
  1  
Reply Sat 1 Mar, 2003 12:08 pm
Hmm, Sweden is not a Sepharadic (in terms of Jewish community) country either. Sepharadic Jews used to live after their being exiled from Spain and Portugal, on the territory of the Ottoman empire: in Balkans and in Arab countires; besides this, Sepharadic communities existed in Netherlands, Southern France, Italy and UK (e.g., Lord Benjamin Disraeli, Earl of Beaconsfield, was a Sepharadic Jew by ethnic origin, but in the modern British Jewish community Ashkenazis are the majority, most of them having come from Russia and Poland).
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 1 Mar, 2003 12:26 pm
Right, Sweden is about as un-Sephardic as you can get. Smile The idea is that it was a temporary resting place from point A to point B, but points A and B are unclear, too. Point B is probably Russia, point A is probably Mediterranean-ish; perhaps Southern France, for example. I didn't know that about the Netherlands, I'll pass that on to my uncle.
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husker
 
  1  
Reply Sat 1 Mar, 2003 05:17 pm
mostly Irish-English, with a touch of German. Favorite tradition is English Plum Pudding... hmmm you either love it or hate it!
But then I have very dear Irish friends that always make me Irish Soda Bread.

St. Pat's day is on the way!!
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 1 Mar, 2003 06:00 pm
We traced my great grandparents to Georgia, making us of course products of the old south. My parents were from Oklahoma and Texas. My siblings are from Texas and California. I have been told we are a mixture of Dutch, Irish, English, Tejas, Cherokee, Choctaw.
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Sat 1 Mar, 2003 08:20 pm
sozobe wrote:
She told me all about the small town just outside the big city of Minsk that her family was from, told me all kinds of traditions, and left me a treasured family heirloom that nobody knew about -- one of a pair of very fine gold, diamond, and ruby earrings from Russia. There is a long story of their provenance, which may or may not be true, but is wonderful.


That sounds intrigueing ... Perhaps a story even that deserves a thread of its own?

My grandparents from either side were no great talkers, not of old times. There's no immigration history there, either, although it depends on your definition: my greatgrandparents from my mothers side came from FRysia to The Hague ;-).

I have never been to family in Frysia, and know nothing of them; one of the very first stories I heard was last weekend when we went to visit my grandmother's sister, who is a lot more talkative. She told us of her grandfather, who was called Blue Pieter - because he used to literally drink himself a delirium in his hometown's cafe. Stumbling on his way back home at night would be chased on by the "white witches" he saw in the fog. His children all would become teetotallers, a tradition quickly reversed by her own generation ;-).

As for the point on Sephardic Jews in the Netherlands, there was a big community of Portueguese Jews in Amsterdam, who had once fled there and created a flourishing congregation.
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littlek
 
  1  
Reply Sun 2 Mar, 2003 09:09 am
Nimh, great topic!

My mom's family is Italian. My great-grandparents came from Italy near the begining of the 20th century. One set to Chicago, the other to a city in Massachusetts. My grand-mother got a scholarship to study in Italy and spent a lot of time with her relatives there, establishing a link for us all to use. Many in my family, including myself, have been back to meet with the family there.

My dad's family is much more complicated and I really don't know where the ancestors are. Definitely some from Ireland, some from Germany, probably some from England as well. There was a rift in the line back during prhibition and we lost touch with who was who. But some guy with the same last name as us made an enormous family history which gives us some new links to the past.
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sun 2 Mar, 2003 10:02 am
steissd/sozobe:

Quote:
The existence of Sephardic Jews in Poland and Russia is briefly cited in the famous genealogy books by Dan Rottenberg (Finding Our Fathers) and Arthur Kurzweil (From Generation to Generation). An example of a town where Sephardic Jews settled is Zamosc in Poland. http://www.khazaria.com/westernjews.html


Although my grandfather's (maternal) name sounds southern German, my father found out by incident that his family lived since 400 years only 40 miles away. (Great-greatgranfather commited suicide - thus grandfather didn't speak of his family.)
Grandmother's family (maternal) have been for ages forest wardens for a noble family.

From 1287 onwards, the Hintelers have been farmers, then millers (1799), finally millers and corn merchants (until WWII) close to the place I live.
Grandmother's (paternal) family originally is "Dutch" nobility, who came to Westphalia about 1500.
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New Haven
 
  1  
Reply Sun 2 Mar, 2003 10:05 am
Both sets of my grandparents were from the USA. Very Happy
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steissd
 
  1  
Reply Sun 2 Mar, 2003 01:41 pm
It was interesting to learn that part of the Polish Jews were Sephardic. In Israel people of Polish descent are considered being Ashkenazis by default (I mean Jews, of course, and not ethnic Poles), and the local "black panthers" accuse them in all their problems...
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