Thursday, April 27, 2006

Pie Charts

Today I:

  • had a croissant and a coffee for breakfast
  • am about to have a banana for Second Breakfast
  • am so bored and photoless that I am going to talk to you about genealogy

There isn't much to show on the yarn front lately, other than W.I.I.'S *, so I was digging through my file of pictures and found this chart I whipped up a couple months back to explain my ethnicities to someone.

My family is big into genealogy. (We do not, however, believe in eugenics.) I think our interest in our background stems from 1) trying to find something interesting to do in a small town, and 2) needing to know who you can an can not do that something interesting with in said small town because of issues of inbreeding.

From an early age I knew what surnames were linked to my own in my home town, and there were a lot of them. Some were only by marriage, but you could never be too careful. There was, for instance, the case of the two sisters and brother who lived next to the two brother and one sister who all married each other. Branches of that family tree that began before this intermarriage might be safe, but it certainly isn't afterwards, however you look at it. And yes, I know what a third cousin twice removed is, etc. I wouldn't date one if I was you.

As a result, I am very quick with a pie chart. (I am also an ace at family trees, since I have nine siblings from five marriages.) The complexity of my pie chart can be explained in very simple manner:

My dad's family came over from England around 1642 or so (depending on which line you're looking at), and stayed very English for a long time. Then all hell broke loose when someone decided that Massachusetts was becoming too much of police state back in the late 1800's and decided to move west. From there, my family dropped the Colonial snobbishness, and married whomever they pleased, English or not.

The break away from Englishness came in with my great-grandmother, Lolabelle Hubert. Her father was Scottish, and her mother was French and Cree, via Canada. She's where I got my brown eyes and my crooked index fingers. From what I can tell, my slightly off-color sense of humor, too. She told me joke when I was eighteen that scandalized me.

The Finns came at us from all directions, usually by boat. I am descended from fishermen who didn't want to be drafted into the Russian army for service in the Crimean War. They came to America and eventually married Russians. Go figure.

And the Russians? You remember hearing something about the Russian Revolution? Well, the Russian side of my family heard about it, too: it was coming in their front door.

Hello, California.

The more recent generations in my family have been breaking through the European/Native American barrier, which makes the pie chart skills even handier. For some reason, in California, if you're not obviously of European descent, you're Mexican. Natalie told me a story a couple years ago about how at school some kids pulled her aside to act as a translator. A Spanish translator. She got to explain to them that she did not, in fact, know any more Spanish than them, because she was actually a Eurasian American.

Pie charts! Pie charts and graphs.

Last night, I:

  • had a panini, a bag of chips, and a soy latte for dinner
  • ate some corn chips with olive dip
  • knit, knit, knit
  • finished reading The Mystery of the Yellow Room

* Works In Imagination

5 comments:

Carrie K said...

Possibly because there's a huge Mexican (Hispanic) population in California that's been here since forever?

My great-great-grandfather married an Cherokee Indian and got his name cut out of the family Bible for his trouble. My Uncle Charlie has the Bible still.

Christine said...

I don't think there were any repercussions in my family, partly because the main body of the family was in France.

So you would think a person would know a Mexican or South/Central American Indian when one sees one, you wouldn't you? :P

Zee said...

So... how was the book? :)

Jennifer said...

Mmm, a panini!! Yummy!

Carrie K said...

I don't know. It turns out I'm rather hopeless at identifying people other than by haircolor - as evidenced walking completely by my best friend when she dyed her dishwater blonde hair Barbie Blond.