Your Quick Tips, 24 December 2007

Check Social Networking Sites for Relatives
Never underestimate social networking websites. I just found some long lost cousins on MySpace, simply by searching for the surname I was looking for! I now have information about three generations of family members I never knew about!
Stacy Baran
Westminster, Maryland

Identify Those Photographs
When packing up belongings in my parents’ house recently in anticipation of possible evacuation, I discovered boxes and boxes of pictures and “stuff.” My parents didn’t even know what was in many of the boxes. I managed to get permission to take a box home and start sorting. There are many, many wonderful pictures without any type of identification! One had “Es and I fishing along the Platte River” written on it. It took a lot for me to figure out that it isn’t “the” Platte River, but the Northern Platte in Wyoming.

While complaining about other people not labeling photographs, I realized that I have tons of pictures in just the same condition. So, this is a friendly reminder to help future genealogists–IDENTIFY people in pictures.

Carol J.

Ethnicity vs. Nationality
Don’t confuse ethnicity with nationality. Virtually all nations, even the seemingly most homogeneous, are made up of more than one ethnicity. Ethnicity implies a certain cultural heritage. That may or may not change with movement to a different country.

Case in point, the Scots-Irish. Ethnic Scots, for various reasons, were induced to move to Ireland. The English government evicted the ethnic Irish to lease the land to the incoming Scots. After going on about 200 years in Ireland, groups of these ethnic Scots immigrated to the New World to escape economic and religious discrimination by the English authorities in Ireland. In the United States, we usually call them the Scots (or Scotch)-Irish. The ones left in the Old World are known as the Ulster Irish. While in Ireland, these ethnic Scots had few dealings with the ethnic Irish. They had different religions, different customs, and a huge difference of opinion about who should be occupying that land. In close to 200 years, the ethnic Scots became Irish in nationality, but not in ethnicity.

During World War I, inductees into the Army were interviewed on their racial, national, lingual, religious, and family backgrounds. The interviewers were instructed that if an inductee said his parents were from Ireland and his religion was Catholic, to list the inductee’s national background as “Irish.” If the inductee’s parents were from Ireland and his family was Protestant, the inductee was “Scottish.” (And if you were a Jew, no matter what country your parents came from, your national background was “Jewish.”)

So, just because your Glasgow ancestors came from Ireland, that doesn’t necessarily mean they were “Irish.”

Jacqueline Buzbee Davis
“Busby” being a town on the outskirts of Glasgow but an English last name.

If you have a suggestion you would like to share with other researchers, send it to: Thanks to all of this week’s contributors!

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3 thoughts on “Your Quick Tips, 24 December 2007

  1. I have to second that statement–IDENTIFY THOSE PHOTOGRAPHS. I did the same thing. After coming across a photo of my mother with about 8 of her friends…but it isn’t labeled. I only recognize one other person in the photo. My mother told us lots of stories of her friends…it would be wonderful to know which stories went with which faces. I then was looking thru my own albums and thought the same thing Carol did. I knew who all the people were (including myself), but generations from now those people might not. So I’m now going thru all my albums and labeling everyone in the photo with first name and last (including any of myself, husband or children) and dating the photos as best as I can.

  2. I read with interest Jacqueline Buzbee Davis’s article on Ethnicity vs Nationality in relation to the “Scots-Irish” people of Northern Ireland. The actual situation is even more complex. It may be argued that the 17th C Scottish settlers in Ulster were simply the descendants of earlier Irish people who much like the Vikings raided, pillaged and then settled on the western side of Scotland. So in that sense they were simply returning home, albeit with a reformed religion. Indeed the very word Scottish is derived from Scoti which was the 7th C name used by the Anglo Saxon St Bede, for exmaple, for the people of Ireland. So when these people settled in what is now Scotland, the Anglo Saxons named this land after these Irish people then called Scoti. Of course even the Gaelic language spoken in the Western Isles of Scotland came with these early Irish invaders. They also brought with them their Celtic Church Christian religion via people like St Columba who settled on the Scottish isle of Iona. Roman Catholicism only really being introduced into Ireland with the arrival of the Norman French in the 13th C.

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  3. The statement in the article on the Scots-Irish, “In close to 200 years, the ethnic Scots became Irish in nationality, but not in ethnicity.” is not generally correct. Those ethnic Scots who remained in Ulster are now nationals of the United Kingdom, not of the Republic of Ireland. There were, of course, some ethnic Scots who settled in what eventually became the Republic of Ireland or “Irish Free State”, so they are correctly referred to as “Irish in nationality”, but I believe that they are in the minority.

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