Tuesday, February 27, 2007

We're all mutts!

I was doing some genealogy work on ancestry.com yesterday and came to a startling realization. We're all mutts! No, I didn't say nuts. I said we are all a conglomerate of nationalities because of our families trying to assimilate here in the good old U.S. of A. Let me explain.

I have been involved in genealogy since my kids were in high school. (My son and daughter haven't been in high school in almost 20 years. Oh my goodness.) Anyway, as a junior year project, the kids were supposed to document their family trees going back at least three or four generations. This class project for both kids has turned into an obsession for me. I have documented at least eight generations going back to my great-grandparents and going down to a lot of grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren in our family. In fact, I have documented more than four sides of the family -- my mother's, my father's, my husband's mother's and my husband's father's sides of the family. It all gets very complicated and wouldn't be possible to keep it all straight if not for computer programs and sites like ancestry.com. (For more on my genealogy pursuits and family history, go here.)

When we ask what nationality others are, most people would say, I'm Irish, I'm German, I'm French, I'm Canadian, or something like that. In reality, all our families are becoming more diluted and complex with each generation.

In the old days, like married like, otherwise, it was taboo. Today, anything goes. Just yesterday I watched two movies where the beautiful tawny-skinned upper-class girls were engaged to, falling in love with, or marrying white guys. This made for some funny movies but, in fact, it's indicative of real life. Last month my cousin's daughter married into a family whose father is Jewish and mother is Indian. In my family, every one of the aunts and uncles married nice Jewish boys and girls. Their children, however, are a different story. Each of my cousins "did their own thing" as far as choosing their mates and their children are going a step beyond assimilation. I'm Jewish of Russian, Polish, and English descent married to a Mexican-American. My son is married to a Philippine-American and my daughter is married to an American of Scotch-Irish descent. And my grandchildren are a conglomeration of all this mix. We are your typical American family.

If you are fan of the Harry Potter books and movies, you will be familiar with the phrase "mud bloods." This derogatory term means someone of mixed heritage (i.e., wizard and non-wizard). And yesterday, on CNN, there was a story about the Rev. Al Sharpton and his probable ancestry to the southern segregationist Strom Thurmond. I think Mr. Sharpton was pretty upset and is going to demand DNA testing to prove or disprove this connection.

Speaking of DNA testing, what about that Anna Nicole Smith's paternity issue? The only loser in that deal is going to be the baby who is being played like a ping pong ball all over money.

As far as the rest of the world is concerned, I say get over your differences and get on with life. Stop fighting and killing and start living. Who cares if you're a different religion, ethnicity, or race. Life is short and in the long run, we're all still mutts.

Finding a Chinese Jew

Sid and Al were sitting in a Chinese restaurant. "Sid," asked Al, "are there any Jews in China?"

"I don't know," Sid replied. "Why don't we ask the waiter?"

When the waiter came by, Al asked him, "Are there any Chinese Jews?"

"I don't know sir, let me ask," the waiter replied, and he went into the kitchen. He returned in a few minutes and said, "No, sir. No, Chinese Jews."

"Are you sure?" Al asked.

"I will check again, sir," the waiter replied and went back to the kitchen. While he was still gone, Sid said, "I cannot believe there are no Jews in China. Our people are scattered everywhere."

When the waiter returned he said, "Sir, no Chinese Jews."

"Are you really sure?" Al asked again.

"I cannot believe there are no Chinese Jews."

"Sir, I ask everyone," the waiter replied exasperated. "We have Orange Jews, Prune Jews, Tomato Jews and Grape Jews, but we have no Chinese Jews."

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At February 27, 2007 10:34 AM, Blogger Susie said...

My grandmother dearly loved genealogy work and traced her history back to the American Revolution, so she could join DAR. She has so much, all done the hard way (before computers)
My dad's wife has done the same thing with computers for my Dad's side (back to the Amer Rev)..
Very interesting, and yes, we are all
Loved the joke too!
off to check out your link!!

At February 27, 2007 10:41 AM, Blogger Tomas Dennis said...

Yup we are all mutts, nice mutts.
Loved the joke and we do have apple cider but no apple jews.

At February 27, 2007 11:01 AM, Blogger Alipurr said...

very funny joke, mom....you are right, we are all mutts....it is surprising how people get so upset about others' skin tones, belief systems, nation of origing, or even spoken language. We are all humans and all deserve to get and give love and respect.

I feel bad for Anna Nicole's baby, too

At February 27, 2007 12:15 PM, Blogger susan said...

Right you are, folks is folks no matter what they look like or where they're from. Great post!

~patchwork reflections
~memories in a jar

At February 27, 2007 3:12 PM, Blogger jellyhead said...

Woof! from your friend Jelly.

We`are all mixed-up mutts of varied descent. My family background even boasts a convict from one of the fleets that came to Australia from England. (That explains my sneaky and shifty tendencies, hey?!)

I loved this post! I'm off now to scratch my neck with my back leg...he he!

At February 28, 2007 1:12 PM, Blogger Redneck Mommy said...

I'm a mutt. And not a classy one either. My heritage is full of dogs with tics...more than a few I'm afraid.

Great post M.K! Love the joke!

At March 01, 2007 2:14 AM, Blogger Cathy said...

You're right we are all mutts. I've thought it for a long time. My Aunt is in to all this geneology stuff. My goodness she has been doing it with our family for about 45 years now. I found out alot of things I didn't know and some of which I wish I still didn't know.

But, also there has been alot of interesting things come to light. Its amazing who your past relatives were.

At March 01, 2007 10:18 AM, Blogger Nancy said...

My brother is the genealogist in our family, and I am always interested in what he finds out.

Yes, we should all accept each other for what we are and get along. If only those terrorists would agree... My son is engaged to a girl who is bi-racial, and her daughter has 4 bloodlines. Both are lovely, and we are happy to have them come into our family.

Poor Dannielynn. She deserves better than what she has been dealt. Hope they settle the paternity and custody issue before she is old enough to know what is going on and that she can grow up in a normal household.

At March 01, 2007 1:32 PM, Blogger Smalltown RN said...

oh I like this post. I guess I too am a bit of a mutt. But some would call me first generation Canadian. My mother of Irish decent was raised in England. My father Croation. Half my brothers and sister were born in England the other half that would my half born in Canada. Now on my hubbies side. Both sides of his parents family are Canadian way back. On his mothers side her great great great grandfather was one of the Fathers of Conferation. So I think that would really make them Canadian...don't you think?

Your daughter looks so healthy and happy as do your grand-daughters. The happy day is not long now!!!

Winter has reared it's ugly head again...I am not happy. But the sun is shining and I think I am going to take Bert for a walk in the snow!!!

At March 01, 2007 10:29 PM, Blogger Heather said...

I once read something that makes so much sense; without diversity among races, the human race would die out because of the genetic diseases that target particular races such as Tay-Sacks, sickle cell anemia, etc.

By embracing other races and ethnic groups and diversifying (ie making "mutts") we are saving our entire race.

Pretty cool.

At March 05, 2007 5:49 AM, Blogger Smalltown RN said...

Hello my friend,

thank you for your comments on my blog yesterday. It was a very tough day for me. It hit me hard and came out of no where. I think I was feeling a little down as well being post night shift. I got some great news from one of my other sisters yesterday which I am going to post about later on today.

Hope life is treating you well...cheers!

At March 10, 2007 5:46 PM, Blogger bornfool said...

"As far as the rest of the world is concerned, I say get over your differences and get on with life. Stop fighting and killing and start living. Who cares if you're a different religion, ethnicity, or race. Life is short and in the long run, we're all still mutts."

MK for President!

At March 11, 2007 7:39 AM, Blogger Kerri said...

Loved your joke :) Yes, we're certainly a big melting pot, especially here in America.
Mom told me a tale of a great grandmother way back in our family, who ran off to Australia from her weatlthy family in Ireland, with the stable boy. That's how mom's side of the family came to live Downunder :)
My hubby's family is Welsh and English and my dad came from England. Genealogy is a fascinating subject.

At March 11, 2007 8:39 PM, Blogger Mimi said...

The more we get to know about DNA the more we realize that we are truly one human family. Skin color is only just a bit of melanin underneath the skin.


At March 14, 2007 9:45 PM, Blogger MrsGreenThumb said...

Hey, watch yourself. I call it genetic diversity. One of your commenters said that by intermarrying we reduce the chance of genetic diseases wiping us out. It's called hybrid vigor. I love the fact that we are "one" family...the human family.


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