No, I’m not Italian or Spanish.

Michele Warch, Georgetown, DE. My mom is English and Native American. My dad is Scotch-Irish and German. I speak Cherokee and read some Gaelic. I have dark hair and green eyes. Its a gift of my mixed ancestry. I have tattoos and ride a motorcycle. I also have a master’s degree and teach at the […]


Enough to make you look pretty

Adrienne Zimiga, Minneapolis, MN. I was born and raised on the Pine Ridge reservation my first 12 years. Upon moving from Batesland, SD to Castlewood, SD my caucasian grandmother was concerned that my brothers, sister, and I could face social problems being part Native American (iyeska: mixed blood/race) in an all white community. She told […]


Human? We have something in common.

Brandon Attala, Grand Rapids, MI. ‘Race’ is just a way to classify ourselves on a more individual level. In actuality, we are all made up of 99.9% of the same DNA, and I think that should take priority over the color of our skin or our place of birth or ancestry.


Not All Mixed People Are Biracial.

Ashley L., Durham, NC. For much of my life, people have asked and assumed that because of the way my sister and I look that we have one black parent and one white parent. While it’s true that we technically have mixed ancestry, both of our parents identify as black, as did their parents before […]

Sins of the Fathers live on.

Johanna Riddle, New Smyrna Beach, FL. I’ve always known that I was descended from slave owning families. This is something I shared with my students as we began to explore the history of slavery in the United States. I’ve always believed that we must be willing to take an honest look at history, and at […]

Would All My Ancestors Love Me?

Melissa U., Charlotte, NC. My Taino people would love me, from my plump lips to my curly hair. My African people would love me from the rhythm in my hips to the powerful thoughts in my mind. My Spanish people, they might deny me, but I can’t deny them. They are in my language, they […]

Am I Hispanic enough to ‘count’?

Alix Sotomayor, Boone, NC. I have always felt suspended between two worlds, since my ethnicity is widely varied (like that of most Americans). I am mostly (~70%) white, of Scots-Irish and English descent, but also have a chunk (25%) of Puerto Rican heritage (the missing ~5% comes from smidges of Native American and German ancestry). […]

Feeling Conflicted about my family history

Romaine Martin II, Richmond, VA. I Think Ancestry.com is very therapeutic. You can spend hours researching your family’s cold cases. One bit of information I found out left me feeling unsure of how to feel at all. “Green Gore was born, in 1816, the son of Robert Gore (1783 – 1870/1880) and Tomsey Jarrel,(1778 – […]

“You’re Hispanic?,” he said. “Prove it!”

Irmie S. Bristol, CT I grew up in a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood. Both of my parents were from Puerto Rico but were of Spanish ancestry, which caused my fair, freckle-prone skin. I looked so different from so many of my caramel-skinned classmates. So, in Junior High School, when one Puerto Rican boy began teasing all […]

But I think you look white??

Angelo Saxon Grand Rapids, MI People often mistake me for white because of my light skin. I identify, however, as an Arab, due to my Lebanese ancestry, of which I hold near and dear to my heart. The reclassification of Arabs as “white” by the government in the early 1900’s means that I have to […]

The whitest brown girl I know.

Catherine Marden El Cerrito, CA My mother is from El Salvador. My father is from Kentucky. I grew up in rural Oregon. I didn’t know I was half-hispanic until I realized checking the hispanic box on college applications might help me get accepted. To this day I struggle with my Salvadoran ancestry. I am white. […]

Where does your family come from?

Cecelia H Philadelphia, PA I remember being in fourth grade and the entire class had to make a dish displaying their ancestry and representing where your family came from. The project had my family scrambling. We don’t know what country we are from. As descendants of slaves in this country that information has been lost […]


I’m Black but NO-ONE believes me!

Kristi Webber Las Vegas, NV Growing up, there were several clues and incidents which occurred over the years which hinted at some sort of non-European ancestry in my mother’s background, and which would eventually lead to me pursuing her family’s ethnic roots. I had heard vague rumors of “Cherokee” blood but had long ago dismissed […]

I am simply, just a Canadian

Daniel Canada I am Canadian, my mother is mostly of English ancestry and my father is of mostly French ancestry. I prefer to just identify myself as Canadian though and I think that the land I was born in matters more than some place my ancestors migrated from a couple centuries ago. With that said, […]

This one a slaveowner in Barbados

Margaret Condon Taylor Ann Arbor, MI My mother and her sister visited me decades ago when they were researching their ancestry. My mother orally provided me with one sentence summaries of some of these ancestors. Sentences included this one scalped by Indians (in Herkimer County, NY), and this one — an epileptic– crushed to death […]

I probably have black cousins

Valerie Bell Edison, NJ I read a very old will on ancestry.com. Strongly hints that I have black cousins. Part of me feels very happy…I’d love to hug them. Part of me feels very guilty that the probable descendents of the same man got very different deals in life.

Am I Jewish? Ancestry vs. Religion

Alexandra Vogt Crofton, MD Because I was not raised in the Jewish faith, I feel unable to claim my ancestry on my father’s side the way I do with the family history on my mother’s side (Norwegian immigrants.) I wish there were commonly used terms that differentiated Jewish ethnicity from the religion.

Multi-racial man without a country to call home.

Juan Carlos Greater Boston, MA If you look at me… I look Latino. Not tall, dark features – hair, eyes, skin, wide nose, full lips. If you ask me, my ancestry is African, Incan, Iberian, and Jewish. Those are the ones I know of. I grew up in New England, attending a catholic school in […]

Cute baby. Where is she from?

Susan Fentin Conway, MA My son and his wife had their first child in April 2010, a beautiful brown-eyed baby girl with a head full of dark brown hair, whom they named Laila. Her complexion was a delightful coffee color, a blend of her dad’s fair coloring and her mother’s Indian ancestry. Since I knew […]

“White,” Turkish husband, speak 2+ languages.

PHYLLIS HULL AKTURK Rockville, MD I check “other” for race because we are all just homo sapiens. Although Father was from Norman English+Dutch and Mother from German+English stock (both born and raised in Denver, Colorado), I didn’t know I was a WASP until I got to the dorm, as a junior, at American University, where […]


I am both black and white

Alexander Belisle, Bronx, NY. My mother is Latvian and my father is from Belize but all my life I passed as white. I always listened to the prejudicial biases expressed by others who were unaware of my ancestry.

I was white, now I’m Cherokee

Jennie Rhinehart Spartanburg, SC I never knew until I did my father’s family tree that he had Cherokee ancestry. When I told him, he got angry. He had been born with blond hair, blue eyes & a German surname. His father was black-haired, his mother was black-haired. His father taught him to hate African-Americans & […]