The first thought I had was to call this page "What Are We?" because that is the question that I, my siblings, and my cousins liked to ask when we were children. We meant by that, what is our ethnic origin? But I feared that, as a page title, that phrase would conjure up ideas of aliens from outer space, robots, or imagined cyberpeople. We, the members of this family, are all human beings - real people. The question is, what kind of people?
One of the reasons for doing genealogical research is, I suppose, to find out what kind of people we come from. The answer, for our family, has been changed by the research I have done.
As children, we sometimes asked our elders, "What are we?" We did not have to explain to them what we meant by that question. They knew. And they had a stock answer, "Heinz 57 varieties." That phrase referred to a soup company. The Heinz people used that boast in advertising their soups.
Well, we knew that "Heinz 57" was somewhat of an exaggeration, but we did compose a list made up of several ethnic origins. In order of their prominence in our minds, here they are:
INDIAN (SPECIFICALLY - CHEROKEE)
After I grew up and had three children of my own, they took their turn at asking "What are we?" I gave them the stock answer, "Heinz 57 varieties." They did not accept that answer. Instead, they began to tell me, after hearing my list, that we had no connection with:
INDIA ("our kind of Indian" something entirely different, of course)
That is by no means a complete list of the countries from which our ancestors did not come, but I got the picture. We pretty much dropped the "57 varieties" but continued to call ourselves "mongrels." That still seems accurate to me.
Now that I have traced several lines back to the early days of American history, I have a different idea of "what we are." Here, arranged in order of what seem to be our most prominent bloodlines, is my new list:
ENGLISH - From the Petty, Hinchey, Rice, and Crockett lines, probably also Hawk, Underwood, and others
GERMAN - From the Haning, Hawk, and Bushart (still being researched) lines
IRISH - From the Mason line (no written proof here but my grandmother's bright red hair showed her Irishness) and from the Brooks line
CHEROKEE - From the Brooks line (unproven for reasons given elsewhere, but not in doubt)
FRENCH - From somewhere back of the Wright line, which is probably another English line. My mother told me that her Grandmother Wright was French but I do not have the name of her French ancestors.
The BLACK DUTCH line is omitted because I have learned that it was simply another way to say "German".