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  #141  
Old Posted Dec 2, 2020, 6:18 AM
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You don't think Rocky Balboa is a mainstream caricature/stereotype of the hard-nosed, bruiser south Philly Italian?
Okay, I'll give Philly that and "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" for playing up the Irish card. What else? The name of Boston's NBA team is a direct reference to its city's Irish heritage, and I could easily provide an endless stream of Italian/Jewish actors, producers/directors, comedians, politicians, media personalities, etc. that have come out of the NYC talent factory over multiple generations.

Bossabreezes and Docere's points sort of loosely pick up on what I'm saying too.
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  #142  
Old Posted Dec 2, 2020, 7:17 AM
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The Congressman for Northeast Philadelphia, Brendan Boyle, is the son of an Irish immigrant.

https://www.irishcentral.com/roots/b...le-irish-roots
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  #143  
Old Posted Dec 2, 2020, 4:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Quixote View Post
Okay, I'll give Philly that and "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" for playing up the Irish card. What else? The name of Boston's NBA team is a direct reference to its city's Irish heritage, and I could easily provide an endless stream of Italian/Jewish actors, producers/directors, comedians, politicians, media personalities, etc. that have come out of the NYC talent factory over multiple generations.

Bossabreezes and Docere's points sort of loosely pick up on what I'm saying too.
I'm in no way attempting to argue that Philadelphia has more of an Italian cultural identity than Boston has an Irish one, or NY has an Italian/Jewish one. I don't think it does. This is not some weird civic ethnic identity pissing contest.

I was just responding to what you said here:

"I don't think people really associate any particular white ethnic group with Philly, or at least it's not as plainly obvious as it is with NYC and Boston.

With Philly, there aren't any mainstream caricatures or stereotypes that create the cultural perception that it's X type of city."


As you said, it's likely not as plainly obvious. Philly undeniably takes a back seat to and is overshadowed by NYC, so I'm sure Philly cultural association is not as apparent on a national scale... particularly for someone who might be bit younger and not from the eastern half of the country. But there has absolutely been an association between Philadelphia and prominent Italian-American identity.

And I think the whole Rocky Balboa franchise from 1976-2018 pretty much takes care of the mainstream caricature or stereotype question. The "Italian Stallion" seems to be just a tiny bit more of a Philly cultural touchstone than say, your boys Ryan Phillippe or Kevin Hart.
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  #144  
Old Posted Dec 2, 2020, 5:49 PM
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Okay, I'll give Philly that and "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" for playing up the Irish card. What else? The name of Boston's NBA team is a direct reference to its city's Irish heritage, and I could easily provide an endless stream of Italian/Jewish actors, producers/directors, comedians, politicians, media personalities, etc. that have come out of the NYC talent factory over multiple generations.

Bossabreezes and Docere's points sort of loosely pick up on what I'm saying too.
as an Italian American myself, I hate to even say this, but Jersey Shore is probably the most representation that guido culture has gotten recently, and it's basically in Philly's back yard. I'm pretty sure some of the people on that show were from Philly, too.

I do agree, though, that Philly doesn't have a dominant 'ethnic' image that people from the rest of the country pick up on. To me, the only real strereotype I associate with Philly is that it's a bit...rough. Their sports fans are notoriously rowdy, and that reputation seems to be pretty well known.

If I had to pick the group I most associate with Philly, at least in terms of pop culture, it'd be African Americans. There are so many entertainers who have come out of Philadelphia over the years-- Bill Cosby, The Roots, Will Smith, Patti Labelle, Teddy Pendergrass, Jill Scott (Jilly from Philly), Meek Mill...could go on and on. It's definitely one of the black American capitals, along with Atlanta, Detroit, DMV, etc. That culture seems more pervasive than any one European ethnic group.
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  #145  
Old Posted Dec 2, 2020, 6:09 PM
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as an Italian American myself, I hate to even say this, but Jersey Shore is probably the most representation that guido culture has gotten recently, and it's basically in Philly's back yard. I'm pretty sure some of the people on that show were from Philly, too.

I do agree, though, that Philly doesn't have a dominant 'ethnic' image that people from the rest of the country pick up on. To me, the only real strereotype I associate with Philly is that it's a bit...rough. Their sports fans are notoriously rowdy, and that reputation seems to be pretty well known.

If I had to pick the group I most associate with Philly, at least in terms of pop culture, it'd be African Americans. There are so many entertainers who have come out of Philadelphia over the years-- Bill Cosby, The Roots, Will Smith, Patti Labelle, Teddy Pendergrass, Jill Scott (Jilly from Philly), Meek Mill...could go on and on. It's definitely one of the black American capitals, along with Atlanta, Detroit, DMV, etc. That culture seems more pervasive than any one European ethnic group.
I don't remember any of the Jersey Shore castmembers being from Philly, but yeah, the guido shore scene certainly has its Philly participants.

And yes, Philly has been an epicenter of black American culture for a long time, from literature to politics to social movements to music and entertainment. I would agree that black ethnic culture is most notable from Philly. The discussion was about white ethnic groups, so I wasn't going to move the topic away from that.
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  #146  
Old Posted Dec 2, 2020, 8:28 PM
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I'm in no way attempting to argue that Philadelphia has more of an Italian cultural identity than Boston has an Irish one, or NY has an Italian/Jewish one. I don't think it does. This is not some weird civic ethnic identity pissing contest.

I was just responding to what you said here:

"I don't think people really associate any particular white ethnic group with Philly, or at least it's not as plainly obvious as it is with NYC and Boston.

With Philly, there aren't any mainstream caricatures or stereotypes that create the cultural perception that it's X type of city."


As you said, it's likely not as plainly obvious. Philly undeniably takes a back seat to and is overshadowed by NYC, so I'm sure Philly cultural association is not as apparent on a national scale... particularly for someone who might be bit younger and not from the eastern half of the country. But there has absolutely been an association between Philadelphia and prominent Italian-American identity.

And I think the whole Rocky Balboa franchise from 1976-2018 pretty much takes care of the mainstream caricature or stereotype question. The "Italian Stallion" seems to be just a tiny bit more of a Philly cultural touchstone than say, your boys Ryan Phillippe or Kevin Hart.
I did qualify that the legacy of Italian American culture is there, so of course there "has absolutely been" that connotation. But one film franchise, the central character of which is fictional, isn't enough to create a cultural narrative (especially for such a large city). I'm talking about today, and invoking age and geographic location only proves my point. I also think Philly having a more notable Midland American influence (e.g. German ancestry) along with much larger African American cultural export compared to NYC and Boston is what throws things off for me.

I see Philly as being more akin to Chicago.
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  #147  
Old Posted Dec 2, 2020, 9:26 PM
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i definitely associate philly specifically with an urban (opposed to scattered/suburbanized) italian-american presence for whatever reason. i mean i always head to 9th street.
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  #148  
Old Posted Dec 2, 2020, 9:31 PM
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The upper Midwest (Minnesota, Wisconsin and the Dakotas) is one of the whitest regions of the country but not very English. It goes back to the settlement after the Civil War. In much of the rest of the country the pioneers were predominantly people from back east of British descent with some immigrants mixed in. In the upper Midwest the first wave of pioneers on the land were much more heavily weighted towards German and Scandinavian immigrants so there were far fewer Anglo-Americans.


Last edited by Chef; Dec 2, 2020 at 9:41 PM.
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  #149  
Old Posted Dec 2, 2020, 9:43 PM
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I did qualify that the legacy of Italian American culture is there, so of course there "has absolutely been" that connotation. But one film franchise, the central character of which is fictional, isn't enough to create a cultural narrative (especially for such a large city). I'm talking about today, and invoking age and geographic location only proves my point. I also think Philly having a more notable Midland American influence (e.g. German ancestry) along with much larger African American cultural export compared to NYC and Boston is what throws things off for me.

I see Philly as being more akin to Chicago.
A city's overall cultural identity has a lot to do with legacy; and it's built over a long period of time. It's not simply about what one random person's notion about a place may be today. And again, I fully realize that Boston and NYC have a stronger white ethnic group associations than Philly does. There's no doubt about that. Being of a certain age and of a certain location will definitely play a big role in contributing to knowledge of/identity of a city. If your perspective provides a rather short and distant view from Los Angeles, you're obviously not going to grow up hearing about south Philly Italians and Frank Rizzo.

And that short and distant perspective likely also influences one to think that Philly has a "much larger African American cultural export compared to NYC" and that Philadelphia is somehow "Midland American" influenced.

I brought up Rocky because you brought up Fran Drescher's "Nanny", as an example of a caricature/stereotype derived from real life. Rocky didn't create a "cultural narrative"... the character and situation are derived from an existing one.
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  #150  
Old Posted Dec 2, 2020, 10:07 PM
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The upper Midwest (Minnesota, Wisconsin and the Dakotas) is one of the whitest regions of the country but not very English. It goes back to the settlement after the Civil War. In much of the rest of the country the pioneers were predominantly people from back east of British descent with some immigrants mixed in. In the upper Midwest the first wave of pioneers on the land were much more heavily weighted towards German and Scandinavian immigrants so there were far fewer Anglo-Americans.
My wife (native Texan) lived in South Dakota for a few years and was taken aback how everyone looked like her; blonde, light complexion.
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  #151  
Old Posted Dec 2, 2020, 10:30 PM
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The upper Midwest (Minnesota, Wisconsin and the Dakotas) is one of the whitest regions of the country but not very English. It goes back to the settlement after the Civil War. In much of the rest of the country the pioneers were predominantly people from back east of British descent with some immigrants mixed in. In the upper Midwest the first wave of pioneers on the land were much more heavily weighted towards German and Scandinavian immigrants so there were far fewer Anglo-Americans.
Yeah, the Yankee presence really faded out west of Michigan.
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  #152  
Old Posted Dec 3, 2020, 2:15 AM
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I think people asking if they have "English" ancestry might be complicated since a lot of whites who don't have some identifiable non-anglo European ancestry and who have family roots inside the US going much further back than just the late 19th century are going to identify as just "Americans".
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  #153  
Old Posted Dec 3, 2020, 2:44 AM
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A city's overall cultural identity has a lot to do with legacy; and it's built over a long period of time. It's not simply about what one random person's notion about a place may be today. And again, I fully realize that Boston and NYC have a stronger white ethnic group associations than Philly does. There's no doubt about that. Being of a certain age and of a certain location will definitely play a big role in contributing to knowledge of/identity of a city. If your perspective provides a rather short and distant view from Los Angeles, you're obviously not going to grow up hearing about south Philly Italians and Frank Rizzo.
Some "random person" not readily associating a city with a certain ethnic group doesn't necessarily hold a "short" view. I've always known that Philly was home to a large Italian population and aware of cultural signifiers like Rocky and Pat's/Geno's. I've also made it clear that, to me, "association" goes beyond legacy. And as someone who's in fact rather familiar with each city's attributes (I've been on this forum since 2005, officially registered in 2006), my ability to "read" said cities (including those a few thousand miles away) is certainly atypical of the standard American (whatever their intelligence level might be). My opinion would remain unchanged even if I were to pack up my bags, leave LA, relocate to Philly, and live out the rest of my life there.

I think you took my statement a little too literally. Did you really think that I meant that there's not a single person, zilch, that doesn't associate Philly with any particular white ethnic group? These are generalizations, and perceptions (whether they're based on fact or fiction) also play an important role in shaping broad cultural identity.

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And that short and distant perspective likely also influences one to think that Philly has a "much larger African American cultural export compared to NYC" and that Philadelphia is somehow "Midland American" influenced.
What's so outlandish about those statements?

Quote:
I brought up Rocky because you brought up Fran Drescher's "Nanny", as an example of a caricature/stereotype derived from real life. Rocky didn't create a "cultural narrative"... the character and situation are derived from an existing one.
The difference is that Fran Fine (Fran Drescher's character in "The Nanny") is actually based on Drescher herself right down to where she was born (Flushing, Queens) and the name of her parents (Morty and Sylvia). She is, in essence, playing an exaggerated form of herself -- a "caricature."

Rocky Balboa (the surname of which isn't even Italian) was born in Philadelphia on the same day the year prior to Sylvester Stallone. But Stallone was born in NYC, spent his childhood years in DC, and then moved to suburban Philly at age 11. Balboa's character may be based on two real Italian-American boxers, but neither were from Philly. More like a loose adaptation than a full-on "caricature."
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  #154  
Old Posted Dec 3, 2020, 2:59 AM
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I think people asking if they have "English" ancestry might be complicated since a lot of whites who don't have some identifiable non-anglo European ancestry and who have family roots inside the US going much further back than just the late 19th century are going to identify as just "Americans".
Very much true. English ancestry is greatly undercounted. About half of white Americans apparently can trace their ancestry back to the colonial era, and the vast majority of whites then were of British ancestry.

Since the ancestry question was first asked in 1980, the numbers with English ancestry has dropped significantly, and places with English ancestry then now have a high rate of "American" responses. German ancestry has stayed pretty constant.

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  #155  
Old Posted Dec 3, 2020, 3:34 AM
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I think people asking if they have "English" ancestry might be complicated since a lot of whites who don't have some identifiable non-anglo European ancestry and who have family roots inside the US going much further back than just the late 19th century are going to identify as just "Americans".
In the south I agree that a lot of the people who call themselves Americans a probably just a mix of the old stock colonial era settlers - English, Scotch-Irish, German, maybe a little bit of native, Spanish or French. In the upper Midwest the peak of immigration and settlement was 1870 to 1920 which is recent enough that people have a much better sense of their roots.
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  #156  
Old Posted Dec 3, 2020, 4:23 AM
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This is somewhat related to both the OP and where the discussion has lead: how prevalent is amateur genealogy in different regions of the country / Canada?

My mother recently retired, and all that sudden free time has been filled by renewed interest in charting out the entirety of both sides of our family. She was always into this, but it takes a lot of free time to chase down public records in both Mass and Ireland. Now she has the time. So do lots of her (Irish and Italian) friends. They compare notes at monthly strategy planning sessions. She woke me up at 2:00 AM local time to wildly announce a new discovery: I was actually 1/32nd Welsh (gasp!). A week later, a disappointed update: 1/32nd more Irish again, as that great-whatever grandmother had two Irish-born parents who were only temporarily living in Swansea, where she was born (double gasp!). According to her work, I can trace my entire maternal side back as far as the 6th generation (32 greatx3 grandparents, all from Ireland, almost all from just two counties: Roscommon and Tipperary, all in Boston by 1844), while my paternal side is a bit less mapped out. I can trace one 9th generation paternal grandfather to 1791 Cork, and 17 of the 32 6th generation grandparents to Cork and Limerick. Out of those, some were in Boston as early as 1836, but most were Famine refugees, and one branch came with the second big wave of Irish Catholics in the 1880s. They arrived in NYC first before moving to Mass years later. As for my 1/4th Ukrainian side? We know my great-great grandparents were born in Lviv and moved to Boston in 1889. My Ukrainian great grandmother was born in Brighton (Boston). All we know about my Ukrainian great grandfather is that he was (according to him) born in 1899 in a rural village somewhere near Lutsk, that he fought for the Tzar in Tannenberg, promptly deserted, walked to Prague, somehow got to Liverpool, and in 1923 landed in Boston.

That's a long-winded way of saying I'm pretty sure the 3/4th Irish I claim is actually Irish. The 1/4th Ukrainian is definitely "Ukrainian", but it's also from Galicia (they were all Catholic too, hence no issues marrying Irish), which means they could be Polish from way back. Or even Lithuanian. It was all the same thing for a long time.

This level of genealogical knowledge about your own family isn't uncommon in the Northeast. Especially with the Irish, Italian, and Portuguese families.

I'd imagine it's at least somewhat common in the South? Less so in the Midwest or West Coast?
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  #157  
Old Posted Dec 3, 2020, 2:04 PM
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My mother recently retired, and all that sudden free time has been filled by renewed interest in charting out the entirety of both sides of our family. She was always into this, but it takes a lot of free time to chase down public records in both Mass and Ireland. Now she has the time. So do lots of her (Irish and Italian) friends. They compare notes at monthly strategy planning sessions. She woke me up at 2:00 AM local time to wildly announce a new discovery: I was actually 1/32nd Welsh (gasp!). A week later, a disappointed update: 1/32nd more Irish again, as that great-whatever grandmother had two Irish-born parents who were only temporarily living in Swansea, where she was born (double gasp!). According to her work, I can trace my entire maternal side back as far as the 6th generation (32 greatx3 grandparents, all from Ireland, almost all from just two counties: Roscommon and Tipperary, all in Boston by 1844), while my paternal side is a bit less mapped out. I can trace one 9th generation paternal grandfather to 1791 Cork, and 17 of the 32 6th generation grandparents to Cork and Limerick. Out of those, some were in Boston as early as 1836, but most were Famine refugees, and one branch came with the second big wave of Irish Catholics in the 1880s. They arrived in NYC first before moving to Mass years later. As for my 1/4th Ukrainian side? We know my great-great grandparents were born in Lviv and moved to Boston in 1889. My Ukrainian great grandmother was born in Brighton (Boston). All we know about my Ukrainian great grandfather is that he was (according to him) born in 1899 in a rural village somewhere near Lutsk, that he fought for the Tzar in Tannenberg, promptly deserted, walked to Prague, somehow got to Liverpool, and in 1923 landed in Boston.

That's a long-winded way of saying I'm pretty sure the 3/4th Irish I claim is actually Irish. The 1/4th Ukrainian is definitely "Ukrainian", but it's also from Galicia (they were all Catholic too, hence no issues marrying Irish), which means they could be Polish from way back. Or even Lithuanian. It was all the same thing for a long time.

This level of genealogical knowledge about your own family isn't uncommon in the Northeast. Especially with the Irish, Italian, and Portuguese families.
Cool to hear these ancestry stories... reminds me of my family (as far as the European mixture goes and how my dad got into the genealogy thing when he retired). The lack of knowledge of one's ancestry in the northeast (likely anywhere in the northern part of the country) beyond a few generations is common, in large part due to the general era of chaos throughout Europe from the mid-1800s to the mid-1900s, the insane mass of immigration to the US, and the lack of easy communication/transportation. And I'm talking about white European Americans, obviously African Americans have an entirely different set of potential gaps in their family histories.

Families often sent children over to America to work for relatives or acquaintances with the goal of making enough money to send back which would pay for the rest of the family's trip... and sometimes, for all sorts of reasons, that trip never happened... which is tragic, and explains many of the gaps in records and thus the gaps in knowledge people have in their family trees. Amazing that was a common practice back in the day... could you imagine leaving your family at maybe 12-13 years old on a boat bound for a foreign land to go work for people you likely had never met... and then never seeing your family again?! Crazy to think of what people did to survive back then.

Anyway, my father was equipped with pretty good family knowledge, but his extensive research confirmed that I'm a complete mutt: all Irish from my mother's side. Polish, Spanish (Basque), and French/African from my father's side. My mom is milky white, my dad is swarthy eastern European-Mediterranean... weird combo... explains a lot about me, I guess
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  #158  
Old Posted Dec 3, 2020, 4:55 PM
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Very much true. English ancestry is greatly undercounted. About half of white Americans apparently can trace their ancestry back to the colonial era, and the vast majority of whites then were of British ancestry.
Most white americans are pretty mutted-up these days.

I did a family tree project back in school, and my maternal side had been well-documented by both grandparents, they could trace all their ancestors back to mostly german (southern catholics) and a few french (alsace-lorraine) immigrants to the US back in the 19th century, post-colonial days.

On my paternal side, my grandma was 100% irish catholic potato famine immigrant lineage, and my grandfather was mostly the same except for his maternal grandfather, all we know about him is that he came to chicago in the 1870s as a young man from a farm in vermont. We assume he's probably from colonial yankee stock, and thus my lone likely ancetral tie to colonial america.

It's interesting how my immigrant ancestors mostly stayed within their immigrant groups up until the baby boomer generation, when it all got blown up.


My german mom married an southside irish boy.

One of her brothers married a mennonite, another married a jew, another an Irish girl from the east coast, etc.


My irish dad married a german northsider.

One of his brothers married a puerto rican, another married the daughter of chinese immigrants, and so on.



my wife is 100% italian-american, she can directly trace all 8 of her great grandparents back to italy/sicily, so no yankee in her.

our kids have a pretty good trace of their european roots, except for their one great-great-great-grandfather from that farm in vermont (99% chance he was all or some yankee).
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  #159  
Old Posted Dec 3, 2020, 7:32 PM
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In the upper Midwest the peak of immigration and settlement was 1870 to 1920 which is recent enough that people have a much better sense of their roots.
There's also a fair amount of rural "block settlements" in the Midwest and Great Plains (German, Norwegian, Dutch etc.) which leads to more awareness of ancestry.
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  #160  
Old Posted Dec 3, 2020, 9:48 PM
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When I look at my own ancestry my dad's side is mostly English, but goes back to the colonial era so there is other stuff buried in there that my brother has found doing genealogical research. My mom's side is simple because all my great grandparents were immigrants from Scandinavia. When you are only a few generations removed from the immigrant generation it is easy to know your heritage. For people's who heritage goes back to the colonial era it is easy for a lot of the minutiae to be lost. Something like 10% of self described white people in Louisiana have west African genes so if something like that can be forgotten over time so can things like British, French, Dutch or Native ancestry.
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