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OT Re: Genealogy (was: Conlang fluency survey)

From:ROGER MILLS <rfmilly@...>
Date:Monday, January 21, 2008, 19:25
Joseph Fatula wrote:
>R A Brown wrote: >><< in response to the following >> >>> c. Where were your ancestors from? >> >>I have a great grandfather who came from Pomerania (then part of Germany, >>now part of Poland) - otherwise AFAIK all from English stock. > >Completely off topic... > >But when I was reading this post, the above answer was something of a >suprise to me (being from the US). The idea that someone ancestors, back >three generations, would be almost entirely from the country you live in >now, seems so odd to me. If you go back to the great-grandparent level, my >ancestors spoke five different languages and lived in three different >countries, and all of them ended up in the US after their countries fell >apart, or tried killing them off. >
Ray's comment was no surprise to me. England never underwent the massive waves of immigration that we experienced. There are surely many Americans who can trace their ancestry back to ca. the 1776 Revolution (myself included) though it's doubtful we're anything more than a substantial minority. In 1911 my great-grandfather (1831-1929) self-published a family history that took the Mills line back to a man born in 1744-- probably from Wales, but that's uncertain. I've tried to follow his work up, but with little success, and haven't done much for several years. GGF's mother was a Westfall (Dutch), and on-line research reveals that that family has been in the US since the mid-1600s. And they were a prolific lot, one branch in NY, the other (mine) in what is now W.VA. Unfortunately their favorite names were Cornelius, Abel and John so it gets a little confuzzing......But a totally fascinating study. The only known recent immigrant was my mother's father, Swarts or Schwartz from Switzerland (Zermatt area??)-- in the late 1940s a cousin managed to visit relatives over there, but I never thought to ask her for info, and she has since died. My father's mother (Tincknell, supposedly of German origin) has a very complicated family history--- apparently they started out in Canada but ended up in Iowa. At some point a Tincknell ancestor's wife died and he married her sister (also widowed) and adopted the children. That got confuzzing too. I grew up in South Dakota amongst mostly 2nd/3rd generation Scandanavians (shades of Lake Wobegon but a bigger town :-)); almost everyone in the area where I live now is of Dutch descent (from approx. the 1850s on)-- every now and then one still encounters a oldster who speaks with an accent. My next-door neighbors are of Dutch (M) and Czech/Slovak? (F) descent.
>Anyhow, back to conlanging.
RIGHT!!! (I've been on vacation from it since before Christmas.......)


Mark J. Reed <markjreed@...>
Adam Walker <carrajena@...>