Sunday, 17 June 2012

Where do you think you are from?

Indigenous Australians place great importance on the question "Where's your country?" From the answer, they can obtain an enormous amount of information about another's background and family connections.

This apparently simple question is challenging for immigrant Australians who now form an overwhelming majority of the population. If a grandfather was born in one country and great-grandparents in at least three others, where are we from?

My exploration of name clouds prompted me to find a visual representation for the distribution of our geographic origins. The same seven-generation ancestor chart can be converted to a fan chart colour-coded for the place of birth of each person

The result:

  • Legend:
  • England
  • Wales
  • Scotland
  • Ireland
  • Germany
  • Australia

From the chart, we can read that of our 64 4xgreat grandparents there were 32 English, 16 Irish, 8 Scots, 4 Welsh and 4 Germans.

By the time we reach 2xgreat grandparents, there were 8 English, 3 Irish, 2 Scots and 3 colonial-born.

Of course, Nanna Davies would be mortified to be labelled "English". But, that is another story entirely.

Footnote: A geographical purist may complain that two "countries" (Germany and Australia) formed from smaller units during the time period shown while another (Ireland) broke apart. I claim artistic licence in ignoring those complexities for the moment.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Bob,
    I just came across your blog via Jill Ball (Geniaus) on Google+. I really like your idea of visualising data using colours on a fan chart. I have a McAllister ancestor came from County Armagh but I know very little about her, only her name.
    I look forward to following your blog.


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