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 were asking for information
about 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 the Heinz soup company's advertising slogan, they boasted of having
Well, we knew that "Heinz 57" was somewhat of an exaggeration, but we did compose a mental list
made up of several ethnic origins. In order of their prominence in our minds, here they are:
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,
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:
- 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 hinted of her Irishness) and from the Brooks line (Grandma Brooks said that her father-in-law was
a red-headed Irishman)
CHEROKEE - From the Brooks line (unproven for reasons given elsewhere, but not in doubt)
- From somewhere back of the Wright line and also the Petty line. My mother told me that her Grandmother Wright was
French but research of Wright cousins shows no French relatives.
The BLACK DUTCH line is omitted because
I have learned that it was simply another way to say "German". The term "Black Dutch" seems to have been used by some people
in different ways, such as to disguise American Indian heritage. In our family, Indian heritage has always been a source of
pride. I believe, therefore, that "Black Dutch" in our case refers to German heritage. It might possibly mean a certain kind
of German, dark-haired rather than blonde. Follow the link below, then scroll to the bottom of the page to see what my great-grandfather
had to say about being Dutch.
FAMILY MEMBERS FRANK AND ANNIE HANING