Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Belated Explanation of Blog Title

It has been brought to my attention that in my two years of genealogy blogging I haven't been explicit about the meaning behind my blog's title. An old header logo explained it somewhat, but I haven't written a post, and it might not be immediately obvious to all.

Pennsylvania Dutch is a term often used to describe those of Germanic ancestry who immigrated to the state of Pennsylvania and vicinity prior to 1800.

I was talking about my diverse ancestry one evening with some friends, and in mentioning how my maternal grandfather came from Transylvania, and my maternal grandmother had Dutch (Holland) ancestry, I came upon what I considered a humorous pun. I had a mental image of a Haight-Ashbury Vampire, which obviously plays upon some unfair stereotypes of both regions, but it was an enjoyable image.

While it was intended as a pun on "Pennsylvania Dutch", I didn't use the phrase "Transylvania Dutch", which I know has caused some confusion. I felt that would imply someone who lived in Transylvania of Dutch ancestry, which doesn't describe me, or to my knowledge any of my ancestors. I called it Transylvanian Dutch, since if I wished to be a 'hyphenated American' I could call myself a Transylvanian-Dutch-American.

Of course, I really would be a Transylvanian-Dutch-British-Polish-Lithuanian-American which is a mouthful. (Even in that description, I don't include in there any Native American ancestry, which while I believe I have some, I'm not sure how much.) I don't really consider myself a hyphenated American though. I consider myself American. It's my ancestry that is diverse in nationality, not me. Here's a breakdown by numbers.

I came up with the term in January of 2005, which is also when I registered the domain name, This was about two years before my genealogy research obsession initiated.


Tina said...

A hippie vampire is a very funny image!

My parents used to use the term "Pennsylvania Dutch" to refer to the jibberish my younger brother used to speak when he was a toddler. Now I understand a little better why they said that. A lot of the English language is derived from German and his jibberish probably sounded like German. Thanks for explaining your blog title. :-)

Have a great day! Tina :-)

Unknown said...

I love the title, as as for someone that lives in PA Dutch country, it brought a smile to my face when I saw it.

BTW my grandmother spoke dutch when I was a child, and my cousin actually teaches PA Dutch classes.

Take it easy!!!

Anonymous said...

One side of my family has origins in Galicia/Silesia and they all think they are of Polish ethnicity. They are in fact of Prussian Dutch, Czech, Polish and French origins; so far.

I m still digging. It gets more confusing the further back I go.
My impression now is that the common habit of people identifying their ethnicity with a "modern" European country is just plain false. I myself identify my ethnicity as 'Euro'.