Saturday, February 7, 2009

Recipe for Me

Mardi Gras two weeks away, I decided to break my heritage down as if it were a mixed drink. This is as accurate as I am currently able to calculate it:

  • 24 parts Polish or Russian (depending upon where the border was drawn at a given moment in time)
  • 16 parts Transylvanian (could similarly say Hungarian or Romanian, but in this case there is a name for the geographic region)
  • 8 parts Lithuanian

    (or 48 parts Jewish, but while I identify with the tribal aspects of the religion, I also see value in remembering which nations my ancestors came from, as their experiences differed.)

  • 7 parts British
  • 6 parts Dutch

    Dutch can have one of two meanings, and in this case, I'm mixing both. My Van Every ancestors are generally thought to have come from the Netherlands, but some researchers think it is equally likely that they were German. I have other ancestors who were definitely German, or at least Alsacian, while Alsace was under the control of Germany.

  • 3 parts Native American (another tribal culture, a mixture of Choctaw and Cherokee)

  • Shaken, not stirred.

    A complicated mixed drink, to be sure. However, I am 100% American in nationality, and 100% Jewish both religiously and tribally.

    Note: Naturally, Mardi Gras is a local custom for me, not a religious custom. St. Louis likes to celebrate its French heritage, and our Mardi Gras celebration is generally considered to be the second largest in the nation.


    ovidiu ficlenescu said...

    If you are 16 parts Transylvanian, you're 16 parts Romanian. Transylvania is in Romania and has nothing to do with Hungary.

    John said...

    At the current moment in time. However, borders change.

    My grandfather was born in Transylvania in 1907. He was also born in Hungary in 1907. When he immigrated to America he was Transylvanian or Hungarian but not Romanian.

    I don't really see how I could argue I'm part Romanian when none of my ancestors ever lived in Romania. The land they lived on may now be called part of Romania, but that's different.

    Regardless of which nation was in control at what time it has always been Transylvania.