Taco And Green Beer Identity

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails

A writer on-line was musing about tracing her family’s roots, going back to The Old Country as Mary and Joseph did when Caesar ordered the census.

Going back to my home town would be a snap – my folks still live in the same house.  Beyond that – Dad was from a small town in southern Minnesota and Grandpa grew up on a farm around there, I think, but beyond that I’m not sure.

The family legend is the ancestors snuck into the country when the borders were not so vigorously enforced.  And no White men originally lived in North America, they must have come from somewhere in Europe, but where, exactly?  Not a clue.

Don’t really care.  Nothing there for me, now.  The Old Country is so far back that it’s merely myth.  I’m an American now.  Minnesotan, really, since we’re intrinsically superior to Iowans and cheeseheads and wouldn’t want to be lumped with that riff-raff.

I suspect it’s the same for all Fourth Generation people.  If we could slam shut the immigration gates for a generation or two, the grandkids would hold no sentimental attachment to The Old Country beyond eating tacos on Cinco de Mayo, the way Irishmen drink green beer for St. Paddy.  A novelty, not an identity.

Trump should be pushing a moratorium while we build The Wall and revamp the immigration system to eliminate anchor babies and chain migration.  That would be his greatest legacy.

Joe Doakes

‘My familh’s connections to one of our Old Countries – Norway in this case – are pretty strong; I’m in some contact with a fourth cousin who happens to earn a living studying arctic foxes on Svalbard Island – but otherwise, I agree.

There was a time when ethnic identity was a diversion and a hobby, at least in theory.

“But Mitch – if you were black, you didn’t have that option”.

Well, yeah – you’re right.  America’s greatest mistake keeps paying dividends.

2 thoughts on “Taco And Green Beer Identity

  1. Even if you wanted to maintain contact with The Old Country, it’s not always so easy. My paternal grandfather became interested in genealogy well before it became fashionable, but he was stymied going much beyond his great grandfather because the various wars in Germany had destroyed many of the records. Top that off with the European penchant for reusing graves and it became very difficult to find much out of their history in the Old Country. But his family came over relatively recently, and being Minnesotan he had a stronger record and relatively fewer foreign countries to review.

    My paternal grandmother, on the other hand, had a pretty diverse background since at least some of the branches came over very early in pre-Revolutionary times. The records were fairly good, but various euphemisms, shall we say, had to be decoded since some of the unions were not countenanced well at the times (like one Onondaga Indian who married into the family). But with various branches splitting over the Revolutionary War, some heading to Lousiana and some up to the Maritimes in Canada, it became difficult to follow. Then throw in the Irish who married in and whose records in Ireland were less than optimal and it’s no wonder my grandfather had a tough time tracking things down. And don’t even get me going on the quality of French records from the time!

  2. Personally, I have no sense of the “the old country” because my family has been here for at least 5-6 generations on both sides. I have relatives farther back from about half of the countries in Western Europe. No Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Irish, Belgian, Dutch or Norwegian.

    My Mother-in-law has a sense of the old country because her paternal grandfather went thru Ellis Island, and had his name changed to make it easier to spell. However, to her, her true “old-country” identity is from the true Nordeast Minneapolis.

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