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While working on an article on ethnic heritage and genealogical societies (look for
it in the forthcoming November 2011 Family Tree Magazine) I was inspired to
figure out what, exactly, Leo is, heritage-wise.
And by “exactly,” I mean “theoretically,” because:
you never know what proportion of genes you ended up with from each ancestor after
the DNA-combining process
geopolitical developments and population shifts can mean ancestors’ ethnicity is different
from the country whence they came (Your ancestor from Russia would actually be German,
for example, if he was one of the many “Volga
Germans” who settled in Russia’s Volga River valley.)
nonpaternity events, such as adoption and children fathered—unbeknownst to you—by
someone other than the person named in records
- a lack of documentation or incorrect documentation about an ancestor’s origins
- all those ancestors yet to be discovered (unless you’ve found ‘em all)
With that caveat, figuring out Leo’s theoretical heritage combo involves first determining
Mom’s and Dad’s percentages. Three of my husband’s grandparents came from Germany
and one from Hungary, so we’ll estimate him at 75 percent German and 25 percent Hungarian.
I’ll go back to my great-grandparents’ origins: I’m half German, a quarter Lebanese
(the source for my last name), and one-eighth each English and Irish.
I just divided each of our percentages, added up the common German heritage, and came
up with these numbers for Leo (I generated the pie chart online using
He’s pretty typical as far as American ancestry: In the 2000 census, German was the heritage
most often claimed by Americans and by his fellow Cincinnatians. He also shares
in the second- and fourth-most-commonly reported ancestries: Irish and English, respectively.
What’s your theoretical heritage combo?