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Question from a newcomer to Genealogy

(16 Posts)
Kiwibird Mon 20-Nov-17 06:44:33

Out of interest I'm wondering if someone can tell me. If for example a person who has an Irish mother and a Scottish father but is born in Scotland because that's where his parents live at the time of his birth, (and where he is brought up) what ethnicity does the person take? Does he call himself Scottish? Or Irish? Or Scottish/Irish? I'd like to know as I've just begun researching my family tree and have been coming across quite a few past relatives who moved from here to there with existing children then going on to have more. Thanks for your help in advance.

Nelliemoser Mon 20-Nov-17 08:37:15

I am not sure it matters really it's probably up to how the ancestor would define himself, but it does help knowing where the person was born.

I have a Scottish and Irish couple whose birth places were differently represented on two consecutive census's. That little confusion and lots of Scots called Robert Wilkinson. The information on the census is not always accurate.

The Scottish and Irish couple were born in 1831 and 1842. The further you go back the less accurate the information tends to be. Unless you are one of the upper classes.

Names are written wrongly or families use one or other name for their child at different times.
Often being first registered as say John George but the family forget and just call him George in subsequent a census . Keep persevering .

M0nica Mon 20-Nov-17 08:58:20

I think you are confusing ethnicity and nationality. Ethnicity refers to your blood inheritance, nationality to where you see yourself as belonging.

For example, ethnically I describe myself as half Irish because two of my four grandparents are Irish, one born and brought up in Ireland, one from a family in this country for several generations but always marrying with in their own community. My other grandparents are English as far back as I can trace them.

Nationality wise I am British. All my family have been born and brought up in this country for several generations. We are culturally British, UK citizens and, since my marriage I have had an English surname.

Kiwibird Mon 20-Nov-17 09:35:11

Thanks Nelliemoser and MOnica for your replies. Discovering one's background is a very interesting, and challenging thing to do and for me, it could become almost an obsession. It's that feeling of "I'll just keep searching (online) for five more minutes, which then turns into another hour) but I am only a beginner so maybe that's why I'm a bit excited.

I wondered MOnica if 'ethnicity' was the correct work to use. Thanks for your explanation. I will keep persevering.

Greenfinch Mon 20-Nov-17 10:32:32

I have a Scottish father and Irish mother but I was born and brought up in England and so firmly regard myself as English.

paddyann Mon 20-Nov-17 12:02:38

born in Scotland I'd say he was Scottish of Irish descent me ,my neice has two Scottish parents was born in England and says she's English .The generic "britain" doesn't work as far as I'm concerned because the culture /history is very differentin the countries of the "union" .You would hear people born in Canada complain if they are called American too .Irish records are difficult to access as a lot were lost during the rebellion ,Scotlands People is easy to access and has extensive records .I have my Dads family back to early 1700's ...Scottish side .My Irish side I've struggled to get beyong Great x2

Ailsa43 Mon 20-Nov-17 15:13:39

My father and mother both born and raised in Scotland but to Irish parents who migrated to Scotland, so all my grandparents and ancestors are Irish... I was born to my parents in Scotland and raised there , so I am Scottish of Irish decent as are my parents

Elegran Mon 20-Nov-17 15:29:38

At least you are aware of both the Irish and the Scottish connections, so you can look out for either. They probably varied their age from one census to another, too (and not just by 10 years!) Allow for weird spellings too. A whole family of my forebears had vanished completely from the 1881 census, although I knew where they should have been. The transcriber must have been cross-eyed and illiterate, it was only when I got a sight of the scan of the actual page, years later, that I discovered them all at home, under their right name. You need to be a bit imaginative when searching for ancestors.

paddyann Mon 20-Nov-17 20:07:17

I haven't been able to find my G grandfather,after my granny was born he and my GG seperated and she went back to Ireland with the three children ,granny was 6 weeks old.He seems to have disappeared off the face of the earth .I've tried everything to find him ,missing people pages included as I know my gran had relations in the Glasgow area ..but no luck.Old Anthony went to ground and cant be traced .He may have gone to the States I think as the only person with his name I can find was on a shipping list..but the age was wrong.Still looking though,keeps me amused on sleepless

Kiwibird Wed 22-Nov-17 07:11:03

Thank you for your interesting replies. They were helpful. My 'free' two weeks subscription with Ancestry finished today, but I now have a lot of paper copies, printed from records I've found on the site so now need to sort them. Until the next time I have a question on this interesting topic.

AlieOxon Tue 28-Nov-17 18:58:16

Kiwibird there are a great many free sites out there as well as Ancestry tryouts ..... BMD (birth/marriage/death) sites, Familysearch and more - also forums like Rootschat where people have answered my silliest questions!

jeanie99 Tue 28-Nov-17 22:08:12

I wouldn't have thought this mattered as far as researching your family history.
You can easily travel back via the census records which started in England around 1838. Pre this is parish records which are a bit more difficult.
If you don't want to pay the high prices for annual membership of the online family websites join a family history group locally which will only cost you about £12 a year and you'll be able to use their computers to do your research. That is what I have done and I have an opportunity to research twice a week.
I have also joined our local U3A.

Friday Tue 28-Nov-17 22:24:24

paddy are you using the ScotlandsPeople website?

Elegran Tue 28-Nov-17 22:24:33

It is possible to access Ancestry free from computers based in public libraries. The libraries take bookings for use of the computer for sessions lasting usually an hour.

paddyann Tue 28-Nov-17 22:41:52

Friday I find its the best one for Scottish records ,easy to access and not too expensive .I have used a couple of Irish sites and Genes reunited and Ancestry fo English and Irish family.I had some good results with genes reunited found living relatives in Devon who I keep in touch with and traced my Aunts who we lost touch with over 50 years ago...and visited them in the Manchester and Southport areas.

Friday Tue 28-Nov-17 22:46:33

I find it the best one too paddy