Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Who's in your Genes?

I think I'm a clone now
'Cause every pair of genes is a hand-me-down
- Weird Al Yankovic lyrics

This wonderful graphic I found at http://visualecon.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/usancestry-2000.jpg  It shows the ancestry with the largest population in each county according to the 2000 census. However, the ancestry listed might not be a majority (>50%) of the population, just a plurality. In 2000, 58 percent of the population specified only one ancestry, 22 percent provided two ancestries, and 1 percent reported an unclassifiable ancestry such a mixture or adopted. Another 19 percent did not report any ancestry at all.

I'm surprised by the large midwest region descended from Germans. These are low density population states so we're not talking huge numbers of people but still, Germans? During my vacation this summer I drove through many of the bluish states. While visiting the Pabst mansion I learned that Milwaukee was a very German town in the early 1900s and that Pabst was just one of many German families with a Milwaukee beer brewery. In Cedar Rapids, Iowa I visited the Czech Village and learned that the town was once 25% Czech, drawn to the region by a huge sausage factory? Perhaps the German ancestry includes the old German-Austrian Empire such as Poland, the Czech Republic, etc?

I'm also surprised to see so little English ancestry on the map (why Nevada?) I can trace most of my family lines to England, with one ancestor from Germany, a few from France, and several from Sweden. Perhaps those of British descent are the ones declaring themselves as "American"?

Bottom Line

Genealogy can be a lot of fun and many records are available on the Internet. I've found many Quakers in my colonial ancestors, no idea why. The Swedish line were Mormons who emigrated to Utah and created some unusual family group sheets. Both my father's and mother's main line trace back to early Virginia farmers with several generations who settled new territories in the Midwest (Illinois, Nebraska) and kept moving westward along different paths until all my great-grandparents settled down in Idaho. Most of my relatives are still in Idaho four generations later with a fifth generation just started; my cousin's grandchildren.

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