This past year, a slew of things has happened to make me wonder what I am made of. Now, the made of part goes back to my culture, race and ethnicity. For a while now, I knew I was Mexican-American, born of two Mexican parents who I soon found out their lineage was not full blooded but born in America. There are sides of my family that embrace the past and others times forced to embraced no matter how bittersweet it can be. However, when it came to classifying myself when the Census Bureau comes around, I had questions to ask. Am I one hundred percent Mexican-American? Am I Mexican with a dash of Spanish thrown in? How about a little bit of African American? Maybe even Irish and Scottish? The last question was one I had asked because where in the lineage could there be an Irish-Mexican but it surprised me nevertheless when I found out.
Now there is much history with the Mexican culture. It was conquered by the Spanish and it conquered not only Mexico but South American, the Indies and the places where Christopher Columbus landed. Now to try and figure out my lineage, I had to literally make several, sometimes, expensive calls to families in Mexico, Florida, New York, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Brazil and a few in the Bahamas to try and get the stories of their lineages to try and compile it down. I had family members, my paternal grandmother and my mother's side of the family to send information on the family tree. It was difficult to try and get the complied family tree on my mother's side of the family because both of my maternal grandparents passed away while I was young and information was shoddy at the time.
This whole journey to try and see the members of families I had not gotten to know took about a good year. I did this on my own time, spending countless hours researching the various family trees to try and find a connection. A connection to see where I came from and from what people gave me life.
About three months ago, I finally managed to break down what I am in regards to family history. There are pictures, hilarious pictures of my relatives and ones that seemed to be forgotten. Letters to loved ones and even certificates to establish residency, a marriage between couples, divorce, birth, death, everything and anything. I know I cannot find out everything in a year's time but as December vacation break looms closer and closer until the time I can travel down to Mexico and visit the gravesites and talk to my grandmother about her 2/3 Irish and 1/3-Mexican husband and full Irish/Scottish great-great grandmother then for now this is who I am.
Somewhat Black Irish/Scottish. I cannot say full Irish/Scottish but that during the time of the Alamo, there was a abundance of Irishmen and women who migrated to California. My paternal grandmother married an Irish-Scottish-Mexican man who sired my father. The pieces I managed to get out of my grandmother on my grandfather over the phone was he is/was (will see if he is still alive because he went AWOL soon after my father was born) an Irish-Scottish-Mexican lovable and hatable mongrel. I can assume he might have been Black Irish because no one in the family has any red hair but I can never assume so much of my eclectic family. I still have no distinct answer as to why there were groups of Irish to travel to California during the great Alamo but from what I have read and seen on my history, I can say I am a tid bit Irish.
Somewhat Spaniard/Mestizo. On my mother's side of the family going back as much as I can to the time of the Spanish conquerings, I am Nahua though as soon as the Nahua, known to a few people as the Aztecs were conquered, the maternal bloodlines were intermingled with Spanish. That in turn gave me a European great grandfather times as many as necessary to have a bit of Mestizo in my blood. Even now I have Spanish uncles and aunts to whom I see during the summer and during the few times I visit for winter break.
Somewhat Mexican. Both my parents were born in Mexico though they cannot fully say their bloods were never intermingled with Europeans, Africans and Irish. Mexico has a long standing history with being conquered by various countries for many centuries now and when I hit Mexico in the next few weeks, I hope to be able to put down on the damn Census that I am other and put in:
Irish/Black/Mexican/Spanish which would make an interesting acronym: IBMS, sounds like a medical condition but really it is my heritage.