• Learning and Exploring

    Migration by Countries

    I found this cool interactive map (I’m pretty certain this is the same) a few years ago. I don’t always bookmark things and sometimes I bookmark and then purge indiscriminately because I’ve kept too many overly specific or no longer applicable things and so lose some good things. I was starting to be afraid I couldn’t find it again.

    This map lets you change incoming (emigration) or outgoing (immigration) which distinction I think I was researching and caused me to find the map in the first place as well as the country. These are totals for 1990 – 2017. I think you could probably pull recent years from Pew and/or the UN although I wish they’d update this actual map because it’s cool.

    So for example, the top destination for people leaving the UK is Australia, I think I may have heard that it was popular but it’s a HUGE number and quite a big distance between that and the next destination which is the U.S. with Canada in a much closer 3rd.

    And then you can switch to incoming to see those countries, which for the UK were Poland, India, and Pakistan. With the history, the later two aren’t surprising, I guess Poland is just, eh, not surprised but not unsurprised.

    The U.S. incoming is Mexico by the largest percentage I’ve seen which makes sense, next is China and India, I would have thought it would have been other Central and some South American countries, but maybe that is more recent or maybe it would be a top destination (I checked a few, it was top or 2nd for some) for them rather than from because China and India are the world’s largest populations and these countries aren’t.

    From a 2016 article, the US/Mexico is the world’s largest migration corridor. The U.S. outgoing is Mexico (I wonder if some of those leaving are some of those who previously came because per the article net overall was negative, but I don’t know what the details are for the different maps), Canada, and UK. Not surprising.

    The 2nd migration corridor, at least at the time of the article was UAE and India. I’d never heard of that, just thought tons of uber rich people went there, but they aren’t a huge percentage of the world’s population. And yes, this map shows India as top incoming for UAE and top outgoing for India (that doesn’t necessarily always match).

    Another I found interesting was Germany, their top was US., Switzerland, Turkey (that surprised me but I guess historically it shouldn’t), UK, and Austria (I guess I would have thought that would be higher).

    I looked at Spain and Portugal (Spain I think was 2nd for Venezuela) which don’t seem to have as strong as an Old/New world connection.

    You could spend HOURS on here.

    And here’s another, the change from immigration to US from Germans and highest to Mexicans, there is a map that flashes the decades from 1850 to 2010 and then 2013. It moves a little fast, but look at the different states each go round. Like the upper mid-West, the Scandinavians, the Northeast for Ireland (though they were top for more than there which surprised me) and Italy. You could spend a while on there too.

    This is one thing I find fascinating on Ancestry as well. When you get your DNA information you also get some information on more specific immigration to and then migration within U.S. as well.

    Also, when maps are used rather than just columns for data like this or just text in history books, I think that really helps with geography. We had a globe (outdated, still had USSR, but still), several atlases, a book of historical maps, maps in the back of the Bible for Biblical/ancient history, maps in all the history books. We were actually taught history and geography, although I think it was more human geography. I just feel like that is why my family seems to know more than the average American is purported to know, well that and interest . . .¬† and playing Where in the World excessively, hey whatever works. Oh, and we’re nerds.

    Familiarity helps as does connotations. If history isn’t taught or taught much then geography suffers as well. And thus ends my lecture.

  • Learning and Exploring

    Origins of Foods

    So, every time someone says eat produce locally and seasonally and such. I’m always think, “um, you know none of those foods are really native right?” And I think the seasonally part is based on domestication as well. I assume they mean to avoid shipping costs? That would make a difference.

    First of all:

    Grain or cereal is essentially grass seeds.

    Fruits. Soft parts of plants bearing their seeds. The actual definition is grosser, read at your own risk.

    Vegetables. Ok, I’d thought veggies were root, stem, stalk (I think that’s the more general specific term), but this also puts fruit, flowers, seeds, basically anything edible on the plant.

    Some Foods from the “Old Worlds:”

    Our little pollinator friends are from Europe the ones we have here I mean, I believe all North America had before was the bumble bee. And our, honey bees populations are shrinking. In our area, we’ve had pollinator zones put up, and I used to see bees all the time as a kid (We did live in an area better for plants and presumably therefore for bees) while we don’t have that many at my parents place, verified by the younger bunch who actually went outside at that house.

    Carrots I knew/thought came from Asia, apparently Eurasia in wild form, but cultivation started in Asia.

    From what I understand rice is originally and still mostly from Asia. I think that is familiar to most people.

    Wheat originated the the Fertile Crescent. Something that I think most people should be getting from history.

    Strawberries apparently have a wider range than anything I’ve looked up, the Northern hemisphere, but domesticated in Europe, really recently compared to everything else. I guess in books most people referred to wild strawberries. The wild strawberries we have here taste like nothing.

    Cherries also appear to have as broad a range.

    From the Americas:

    Blueberries are from North America, I was surprised, I thought most berries we ate came from Europe.

    Potatoes are from Peru and Bolivia.

    Tomatoes (a FRUIT) are similarly from the Andes region. Now, that I didn’t know already. I’d assumed Asia.

    Sweet potatoes are from tropical parts of the Americas. (proper yams are from Africa and Asia but we sometimes call sweet potatoes yams here, so I don’t know if I have had a real yam?)

    Corn (zea mays) is originally from Mexico. I know for a while wheat was originally called corn in England, hence “The Corn Laws.”


    This has been a lesson in “Well, Ackshully” history with Rachel.

  • Learning and Exploring

    What I Read: November 2020: The Ancient Celts by Barry Cunliffe

    I read 1 book. Yes, 1 book. Or rather, I should say, I finished 1 book because I’d started this book in September or October. I am however, pleased to say that it was both new to me and nonfiction.

    The Ancient Celts by Barry Cunliffe. I feel like it was written to British or European peers who also studied the Iron age, etc. Because I didn’t get as much out of it as the size would indicate. I also felt like there needed to be more maps, the maps needed to be labelled in more detail, and they needed to be in the book near the sections referencing them. I did appreciate the addressing of the Celtic myth and romanticism, something I know I’ve fallen into thanks to Sutcliff novels and my ignorance (she, I don’t believe ever referenced anything as being Celtic, good for her).

    There seem to be two main things. One is a broadly European language family that existed in ancient times then died out in continental Europe in ancient times and maintained a hold increasingly smaller and weaker in the British Isles and Ireland up into the present). Someone in the 18th century decided to name this group Celtic.

    The 2nd is the group of peoples in broadly central and lower Western Europe whom the Greeks and Romans termed Celts. Archaeology studies this group with reference to (obviously) biased Classical literature.

    Where I understand some of the error falls is when people presume that because the Insular peoples spoke the same language family as the people the Romans called Celts, they were also Celts. But I don’t think anyone called them Celts. I think I thought as did many that Celtic peoples from mainland Europe took over the Isles and that is how the language and some aspects of the culture spread, but I think that what he was saying is that there isn’t evidence that there was such an invasion. That it was people already there who adopted the language and culture (to a certain extent) from mainland Europe and then held onto it longer.

    Also, he was talking about the uncertainty of what exactly differentiated Germanic speaking peoples from Celtic speaking peoples. Just the language and some culture? Or ethnicity.

    I read for the Ancient Britains, but I learned about Ancient Europe. Now, I wonder about the other, later barbarian invasions, the ones who sacked Rome and turned Gaul to France. Do we know for certain they came from somewhere else or did we assume they did?

    I love history. And you do have to love history and be prepared to research further to read this book. The author also wrote some more recent books for A Very Short Introduction which I also have on my shelves, and I’ve looked up some notable Celtic scholars to read as well.

  • Learning and Exploring

    National Treasure and the American Revolution

    We decided to rewatch National Treasure again last week (for the first time in awhile, I’ve lost track of the rewatches). This movie is one of the good ones.

    Feel good cheesy Patriotism and history. It’s very goofiness makes it awesome, I don’t care how some snobby critics rate it. The premise, the awesome music, the sarcasm, Cage’s terrible “acting” that really works in this situation, Riley is precious, Abigail whose history nerdiness and curiosity wins out over her “professionalism,” Sean Bean’s dramatic British bad guy trope. And I watched this in a fun period in my early twenties, this was one of the first modern movies we watched and it just has that added layer of nostalgia.

    And this extra bit.

    Years I ago I realized that the character’s names had more meaning than the obvious one of Ben’s. I think it was because I’d been reading about the Revolutionary War.

    Ian Howe = General William Howe

    Abigail Chase = obviously Abigail Adams, but I was sure Chase had to feature somehow, I found a Samuel Chase on the signers of the Declaration of Independence.

    Benjamin Franklin Gates = Obviously Benjamin Franklin but also General Horatio Gates. Patrick Henry and John Adams were his dad and grandfather, again obvious.

    I feel like there might have been more, but I didn’t write it down or post it when I thought of it.

    Strangely, no one in my family found this information as riveting as me . . . I wonder why?

    (I swear there is a particular gene for loving history. I mean, I even find some boring books interesting, so while I lament the unutterably bad historical program or lack thereof just about everywhere, I’m not the best person to make it interesting, since I find textbooks interesting.)

  • Learning and Exploring

    Ancestry DNA Update

    I think DNA is fascinating. One of the aspects of Ancestry DNA is that they update our results as more research becomes available (just re-affirms that this is a new science, and they are trying for accuracy).

    So, here are my results. My heritage isn’t particularly spectacularly interesting to any but me except in point of reaffirming historical patterns, and I wasn’t expecting huge changes. I did see bigger changes than I thought, and then looked again at the map and realized they weren’t as huge (I wish I’d saved the first maps; I forgot they changed groupings, previous to my test the Celtic peoples were under Ireland rather than Ireland/Scotland/Wales.

    They changed their maps a bit (more overlapping, I think), so while it looks like my Great Britain/Europe West changed, when you look at the new region map and add the percentages, it didn’t actually change much. Basically, Great Britain changed to more a broader area and now includes some of continental Europe and Wales, while Western Europe might have shrunk a bit. I think that is probably because of all the waves of people groups coming to England.

    I no longer show a huge (to me, I wasn’t expecting any) amount of Scandinavian, but the more specific and smaller Norway. Finland, a separate category as before, has been bumped a bit and Southern Europe eliminated. So the actual change is significant lowering of Scandinavia and significant raising of Ireland and Scotland (which I’m THRILLED with and which going by migrations plus family history is probably all Scottish, as much as I’d love to be Irish, I really think the history doesn’t fit at all).


  • Learning and Exploring

    My AncestryDNA Results

    I ordered my AncestryDNA test during the Black Friday sale and then in January received a notification that I would have to send a new sample (I got a free second kit), so people, the instructions on the package are NOT STRICT ENOUGH. My email (after the AncesteryDNA people couldn’t retrieve my results) stated to wait 1 hour after drinking, eating, smoking, brushing teeth, and chewing gum (or is that my extra precaution for gum-chewers?).

    The box only says 30″ for eating and drinking. I cannot remember doing ANY of those things listed in the email (I don’t smoke, and I almost never chew gum). The only thing I can think I did was brush my teeth . . .which was not prohibited on the box’s instructions. I made sure and waited over an hour for all the email items the second time. Moral of the story, go above and beyond what the box says to save yourself time (especially because I don’t know how many free boxes you can get before having to pay again).

    I mailed the second box around the middle of January, I think. I received my AncestryDNA results around the middle of February (not too long to wait considering I thought I might have to wait until the middle of March). I have to say I was spot on (not that that was difficult knowing what I know of history and my genealogy . . . or what anyone knows of history and U.S. genealogy :/).

    Here were my predictions:

    ~60-70% British
    ~30-40% Western Europe (Germany and Switzerland for me specifically because I know)
    ~Above average (0.19%) African American
    ~Average (0.18%) or below Native American
    ~Wondering about European Jewish?

    I realize anything less than 1% isn’t going to show on the test, but I really don’t have anything in my family stories to safely assume anything more. The alleged Native American ancestor was quite far back plus I saw a photo, she looks European to me. And my European percentages are variable because like I said, ancestry doesn’t equal exact ratio. And my Dad’s history is empty of immigrants after the 18th century, so I assume a massive if not entirely British heritage from that fact and their locations.”

    Bear in mind that Ancestry.com points out in this article that the average modern Brit’s results include: “36.94% British (Anglo Saxon), 21.59% Irish (Celtic) and 19.91% Western European (the region covered today by France and Germany)” and the article also points out significant Scandinavian results in the UK which I think might explain mine since I have zero reason to believe of Scandinavian American ancestry (meaning it was a VERY long time ago). Granted, my British ancestors came in the early 18th century (also covered in the results), and the genetic results for the British now may be more mixed.

    Here are my results:

    Yeah, boring, I know.

    I did find the migrations interesting. I love to see pieces of history I’ve learned from different sources match up. Also, I signed up for matches, and I have over 1,000 4th cousin or closer* matches and over half of these people have family trees. I want to look into joining DNA circles also. The DNA page states that testing parents, grandparents, and aunts and uncles increases the ability to properly place one’s matches in one’s family tree.

    I have a tree I filled out with my grandparents’ collected information during two free trials, but I want to wait to get a membership on sale and purchase some DNA tests for my parents and grandparents. I also want to see if I can cross-reference my results on other ancestry websites. I’ll have to see what I can do now. Many of my matches don’t have familiar names or don’t even have full names listed, but I have had two contact me (both are from the most well-documented branch of the family, the ones that came over most recently, which for us isn’t very recently, late 19th century).

    *Most of the very close ones will be 1st/2nd/3rd cousin many times removed. I printed out this cousin chart to try to understand confusing cousin terminology terms.

  • Learning and Exploring

    I Finally Bought the Ancestry Test

    Things to Bear in Mind (watch this video, focus especially on his explanations after the comparisons).

    1. DNA test are new, sketchy, and general and humans are dumb.

    2. In order to determine ethnicity matches, we must have reference populations. These are MODERN, so may/probably don’t reflect when my ancestors came over. For non-Europeans, the modern reference groups are much smaller or non-existent which distorts their results.

    3. It only takes a few generations back before you reach ancestors from which you receive 0 DNA because DNA is halved every generation.


    4. DNA is random. Don’t expect a perfect halved percentage of your ancestor’s ethnicity and don’t expect your siblings ethnicity percentages to match yours closely.

    OKAY. So I bought my DNA test through ancestry.com via a Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale. I had previously built a tree with a free trial plus got an extra two weeks for this. So hopefully I will get some matches.

    Now, I want to try and predict my results based on what I know from my grandparents and my research and estimating with help from this previously mentioned study. Like I’ve mentioned before, from what I’ve seen on my ancestry, my family REALLY matches the patterns described in David Hackett Fischer’s Albion’s Seed.

    I’m looking at the averages for European Americans and then at the charts plus factoring in what I know.

    ~60-70% British
    ~30-40% Western Europe (Germany and Switzerland for me specifically because I know)
    ~Above average (0.19%) African American
    ~Average (0.18%) or below Native American
    ~Wondering about European Jewish?

    I realize anything less than 1% isn’t going to show on the test, but I really don’t have anything in my family stories to safely assume anything more. The alleged Native American ancestor was quite far back plus I saw a photo, she looks European to me. And my European percentages are variable because like I said, ancestry doesn’t equal exact ratio. And my Dad’s history is empty of immigrants after the 18th century, so I assume a massive if not entirely British heritage from that fact and their locations.

  • Learning and Exploring

    Link Love: Genealogy and DNA

    I mistakenly assumed that my DNA ethnic breakdown would exactly match my siblings. I also assumed it would proportionally match my ancestry. Genes are far more complex and random than that. For example, my grandfather is of 1/4 Swiss ancestry. Yet, his DNA might not show 25% Swiss genes nor mine 6.25% although it could. I found this out via this article, and the concept is further explained in this article.

    This fascinating study of a small sampling of people attempts to analyze the backgrounds of the three main ethnic groups in the U.S.: European Americans, Hispanic Americans, and African Americans. Now, there is no way of knowing if this is a representative sampling, as they note, but I think it is still great for general information. Be sure to look at all the maps. This is something to regularly refer back to.

    And in a similar vein, this map displays subgroups and migration patterns and typical generation length in U.S. This matches with my family’s genealogy and some of David Hackett Fischer’s explanations. We’ve always moved West, quite literally.

    And if you are ever in the market for DNA testing, this is a thorough¬†analysis of the pros and cons. I’d like to test a couple people in my family for a variety of these tests. The ethnicity one is interesting, but the Y-DNA is probably most helpful for genealogical research.

  • Reading

    A Review of Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways to America

    I had this book recommended to me twice and was pleasantly surprised to realize that this is a serious, well-researched scholarly monograph. The subject is how certain immigration patterns in the early part of United States history shaped our developing nation. The author is very detailed and traces patterns from old to new world in four different areas: Puritan Massachusetts, the Chesapeake, Quaker Delaware Valley, and the American Back-country via a multitude of cultural patterns. He describes the differences and then demonstrates how these cultures and their clashes shaped U.S. history.

    I consider this an absolute must for anyone slightly interested in U.S. history. I am learning more and more that we have to understand the cultural background (and this includes the worldview that shapes the culture) in order to understand the people and events that spring from culture. In college I noticed that in both history and literature classes some people cannot or will not understand that people thought in completely different ways in different times (and this is true for different places; we are seeing this in Europe’s issues with migrant assimilation . . . and criticism of U.S. gun laws). People automatically assume that anything religious or spiritual is subservient to science and reasoning, and they don’t or won’t understand the difference in value systems or the difference between blind trust in scientists and fallacious reasoning. We must understand limitations of science and reason within the academic scope of the scientific method, critical thinking, and logic; blind trust in the vague category of “science” is as stupid as supernatural superstition.

    This book explains the worldviews in as unbiased a manner as I have ever come across. He does not pass judgment with adjectives overly often even though many activities and attitudes are condemned now; he explains how these people arrived at their ideas and how these ideas shaped their culture.

    I would advise you to read it thus: the preface and introduction first, then the conclusion up to page 808 and take a look at the charts on pages 813-815, and then go and start with part 1 and read through to end.

    Although the book is scholarly, I found the writing style to be quite readable. And even if you aren’t planning any particular historical use when reading this book, the book has fascinating stand alone information. I found the speech ways section particularly interesting, especially as I feel that my speech ways have been influenced by multiple areas.

  • Learning and Exploring

    April Culture Challenge

    I have missed 3 months of this challenge. I aiming at completing April’s challenge and possibly January’s as well.

    April’s challenge is to read a Pulitzer prize winner. I have previously looked through the fiction Pulitzer prize winners and noted nothing enticing and much to revolt. I picked The Yearling for my 2015 challenge . . . and did not read it. For this challenge I decided I would look through the other categories . . . which meant I started and stopped with history. Anyway, I do need some history for my 2016 nonfiction reading challenge.

    My choice is What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848 by Daniel Walker Howe.

    This should work well with Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways in America by David Hackett Fischer (recommended by two people, one of whom knows many interesting details of history), which I intend to start soon, and Native American Testimony: A Chronicle of Indian-White Relations from Prophecy to the Present edited by Peter Nabokov to help inspire me to learn more of my own country. I hope to finish this book, which was lent to me, today. The book is two decades old and includes some less than helpful (as seen in title) sections, but I have never read anything like this comprehensive Native American perspective. I would like to pursue more research into this subject, including modern day issues.

    If I can I want to watch The 39 Steps and Henry V from the Criterion collection. The former is also listed on both these U.S. and U.K. top 100 films, and the latter on the U.K. alone. I have been considering re-reading Henry V, so I might make that happen.