Thursday, July 06, 2017

“American ancestry” = Scots-Irish ancestry?



I’ve had to abbreviate that title from a longer quote in this very interesting article:

... Areas with a high prevalence of “American ancestry” also tend to have a prevalence of Scots-Irish ancestry, which was a large cohort of Protestant immigrants in the 1700s who arrived in the U.S. from northern Ireland and southern Scotland with few resources and wound up settling predominantly in the uplands, partly because the fertile lowlands were already occupied and partly because the emptiness of the hills was more amenable to their anti-establishment leanings. “American ancestry” may function something of a stand-in for having Scots-Irish or “borderer" ancestry ...

I've been to the one which comes out top of the league table, Virginia's 9th District, twice or maybe even three times. I remember remarking to our kids when were in Bristol last July (on the Virginia / Tennessee state line), buying a burger in the café where Hank Williams was last seen alive, that from looking at the people around us - the other customers and the staff - their shape, their faces, their complexions, that we could have been in Newtownards or Ballywalter.

Last November Virginia's 9th voted 68.8% for Trump.


LisaMann said...

Hello! I am a West Virginian of "hillbilly" ancestry who tours the UK every year- when performing in Edinburgh, I had the very same impression about the people around me- "they might be kinfolk!" Ever since I did An ancestry DNA test, I have been fascinated with my Ulster Scots heritage. For one thing, it's fascinating how so many things I grew up saying have there origins in the syntax of the Ulster Scots dialect. Phrases like "that right there" and saying "couldnt-na" instead of couldn't.

As for the Trump phenomenon, it's hard to explain. There's a distaste for the federal government in WV and KY blood that dates back to the 17th century. I think my fellow West Virginians see Trump as someone who shares their disdain. Sadly, he does, and now the coal industry and oxycontin salesmen are even freer to run roughshod over them.

Thanks for the blog!