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Thread: Germanic Ancestry in America

  1. #41
    Senior Member Adaleiz's Avatar
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    I am wondering if the older census data may have been changed by families not willing to identify their German heritage, post-WWII ?

    I knew many families in the 1960's era that had already anglicised their surnames due to the political mood towards Germans. I know for a fact that in the mid and northeastern USA that unless you were Amish, Mennonite, Brethren OR if you were ethnically jewish with a germanic surname, you were ostricized and discriminated against by many means.

    If one studies the pre and post War censuses and this is taken into account; mathematically revised within some probability of error, then I would guess the current census data would reflect far more German ancestry.

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    Irish and German are overrepresented. A lot of people will claim to be Irish, and or Irish-German, but will overlook or not mention their other ancestral ancestries. What happened to all the French and English Americans, which once made up the majority of the American population? Hell I'm Scottish and you'll find few people in the States who acknowledge being Scottish.

    It's all rubbish really. It'll be like visiting Pennsylvania and everyone telling you they're Irish and/or German. The steel factories of Pennsylvania and the GM factories of Michigan were immigrant magnets for the Slavs of the Austrian Empire. But with the exception of the Poles, it seems most of the older Czechs and Slovaks and Ukrainians, now identify as German-American of all things. There is no other way to explain how tens of thousands of Slavs in Pittsburgh alone disappeared other than through intermarriage and adopting a German-American identity.

    Look at the wikipedia entry on ''German-American'', at least half of them are not even German or entirely German at that. Baberuth was widely acknowledged to have been a mulatto and Eisenhoward a ''Swedish Jew'' (although other theories have pointed out that it's more probable that Eisenhoward was a light-skinned octoroon). And don't get me started on Einstein, even a three-year-old knows he isn't German. At least a German can figure out how to use a comb!

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    Senior Member Freigeistige's Avatar
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    @TheGreatest

    Actually, having traced my ancestry along with many of my local friends, most of us are German, Austrian, Dutch, Polish or Irish. I'm not sure about all of Pennsylvania, but in my area for sure, most people are of primarily German ancestry, with a few Polish and Irish. In my particular area, we have many Italians from New Jersey living/working here, because I'm so close to the border. However, in my experience, just about everyone around here is German/Irish, and the culture is undoubtedly German/Irish.

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    TheGreatest, why are you so offended by the notion that people, even if they are unsure, are more willing to admit to Irish roots rather than Scots?

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheGreatest View Post
    Irish and German are overrepresented. A lot of people will claim to be Irish, and or Irish-German, but will overlook or not mention their other ancestral ancestries. What happened to all the French and English Americans, which once made up the majority of the American population? Hell I'm Scottish and you'll find few people in the States who acknowledge being Scottish.

    It's all rubbish really. It'll be like visiting Pennsylvania and everyone telling you they're Irish and/or German. The steel factories of Pennsylvania and the GM factories of Michigan were immigrant magnets for the Slavs of the Austrian Empire. But with the exception of the Poles, it seems most of the older Czechs and Slovaks and Ukrainians, now identify as German-American of all things. There is no other way to explain how tens of thousands of Slavs in Pittsburgh alone disappeared other than through intermarriage and adopting a German-American identity.
    I think pop culture has made the Irish claim more attractive to those who haven't really researched their roots. Perhaps they assume that because they are White, the Irish imagery is also meant for them. Although on the other hand, I can't say that many people seem desperate to claim German heritage in the same way....except of course when it comes to festive German events where large volumes beer are concerned.

    Either way, your second point is absolutely correct, especially with regards to Pittsburgh. Both of my sets of great-grandparents on my father's side came from either Germany (grandmother's side) and Ukraine/Croatia (my grandfather's side). They both came in the early 1900's to the steel mills in Pittsburgh. It's true that a lot of Eastern Europeans dominated Pittsburgh during these times, and the English were not too pleased about it, from family stories I've heard.

    To add my own experiences to what's been said, I too think it's odd that many Americans do not claim their English heritage. Even though my mother's side has been in the States since the early 1700's, they always state that they're "pure Americans."

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    I live in southwestern Indiana most of the towns have German place names and almost all of the people have german surnames. Some of the towns even use strasser instead of street.
    When I lived in Indianapolis there was a German meat market and owners were from Germany. There is also a German bakery and many ethnic Germans living in Indiana.
    I will admit most of the German festivals are kind of hoky, but there are alot of German heritage clubs and groups in America.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Adaleiz View Post
    I am wondering if the older census data may have been changed by families not willing to identify their German heritage, post-WWII ?

    I knew many families in the 1960's era that had already anglicised their surnames due to the political mood towards Germans. I know for a fact that in the mid and northeastern USA that unless you were Amish, Mennonite, Brethren OR if you were ethnically jewish with a germanic surname, you were ostricized and discriminated against by many means.

    If one studies the pre and post War censuses and this is taken into account; mathematically revised within some probability of error, then I would guess the current census data would reflect far more German ancestry.
    If by mid USA you mean the Midwest there are plenty of families in that region that do not hide their German ancestry. German surnames are not uncommon & German festivals are very common in the fall.
    Quote Originally Posted by J Baughman View Post
    I live in southwestern Indiana [B]most of the towns have German place names and almost all of the people have german surnames. [Some of the towns even use strasser instead of street.
    When I lived in Indianapolis there was a German meat market and owners were from Germany. There is also a German bakery and many ethnic Germans living in Indiana.
    I will admit most of the German festivals are kind of hoky, but there are alot of German heritage clubs and groups in America.
    Most of the towns do not have German names (in Southwestern Indiana) though many do have German derived names. There are plenty of German surnames but in most places not as many as Anglo-Saxon or Celtic surnames. German names just stand out more as ethnic names. Take for example Dubois County in southwestern Indiana, a county with a large number of German descended persons with nearly 65% claiming German ancestry in 2000 - though this does not mean that all persons claiming German ancestry were 100% German. The following communities are found here;

    Birdseye
    Ferdinand - named for the Austrian emperor.
    Holland - named for the European country.
    Huntingburg
    Jasper
    Bretzville - German surname with ville suffix.
    Celestine
    Crystal
    Cuzco
    Dubois
    Duff
    Haysville
    Hillham
    Ireland
    Johnsburg
    Kellerville - German surname with ville suffix.
    Kyana
    Mentor
    Millersport
    Portersville
    Schnellville - German surname with ville suffix.
    Saint Anthony
    Saint Henry
    Saint Marks
    Thales
    Zoar

    Most of the placenames are not German. Celestine, Saint Anthony, Saint Henry & Saint Marks are named for Catholic parishes that were founded by German Catholics but the names are not distinctly German. I should point out that the suffix burg is not necessarily German but was just a common suffix for placenames (along with ville) after the American Revolution.

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    I'm sorry I was not just talking about Dubois Co. but all of Southern Indiana
    and I should have said alot of Germanic names.
    West Baden
    Inglefield
    Hamburg
    Livonia
    Leipsic
    Broomer
    Stendal
    Kurtz
    Haudstadt

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    You forgot Darmstadt & Tell City (named for William Tell). But most of the places are named after early settlers who were Anglo-Saxon or Ulster Scots or after communities in the states on the eastern seaboard, like New Albany or New Boston.

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    I don't get down to Tell City very much, I mostly stay in Orange,Crawford,Dubois and Washington counties.

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