It is fortunate that each generation does not comprehend its own ignorance.
We are thus enabled to call our ancestors barbarous. 

Charles Dudley Warner, American journalist, 1870s.          

"These stories and others like them make nonsense of any biological basis for racial classifications. . . . the clear message from the gene that is easiest to read . . . We are all a complete mixture; yet at the same time, we are all related. Each gene can trace its own journey to a different common ancestor."

Bryan Sykes, The Seven Daughters of Eve, (2001) pp. 296-297.

Defining ethnic heritage

As one signature of ethnicity culture and biology are incongruent. 1

The fact or condition of heritage is one meaning of ethnic. Ethnicity in that respect refers to people belonging to a social group with which they identify in some self reflective manner with that group's having had allegedly a common ancestry, a spoken language related to native speakers, a specialized diet, or peculiar expressions of faith in the form of organized religion characteristic of that group.

Quite often ethnicity is characterized by a particular, identifiable, and distinctive, regional or cultural traditions of particular nationalities that set the group apart from others. An example such as these Masai people photographed above from southern Kenya, are distinct from Kikuyu people of the same nation-state but of a divergent ethnic tradition from these Masai. Ethnicity, however can be more fluid and may pass from one group to its adjacent or distant groups.

Define | Form to fill out | Colonial N. America | Americas' map | Central European map | Eastern Europe | diagram | Iraqi ethnic composition | Summarize

From ethnic denoting origin by birth, ancestry, or descent rather than by present residence, acquired language, or affective nationality. There are four examples shown here on maps of the intricate mixtures of ethnicity, faith, language and assumed identity based on historically occupied areas by different peoples.


The dispersal of ethnic identity in Atlantic and Pacific coastal regions of the United States in 1700s.

United States ethnic profile map

Define | Form to fill out | American map | Central European map | Eastern Europe | diagram | Iraqi ethnic composition | Summarize

The ethnic details from the genetic admixture of Caribbean and Latin American populations. 1

Hungarian Map

A map that diagrams the many nationalities based on ethnic identity in central eastern Europe [click map to enlarge].


Define | Form to fill out | American map | Central European map | Eastern Europe | diagram | Iraqi ethnic composition | Summarize


Ethnic derivation

Ethnicity is often confused with nationality, or spoken language, but ethnic heritage is inherited and is thus a biological marker, not a cultural marker.

America's ethnicity Map is published in PLOSGENETICS, 2013.2


For Example: The first generation of people born in the United States of Japanese ancestry were called the Japanese Nisei and they are Americans (affective nationality) their ethnic Identity is Asiatic generally and Japanese specifically. India, in Asia, is among the most ethnically varied places on earth and its 29 states and seven territories represent the most religiously and ethnically diverse democracy in the world.



The Iraqi nation-state's ethnic, linguistic, and organized religious composition:

Iraq's ethnic mix

Define | Form to fill out | American map | Central European map | Eastern Europe | diagram | Iraqi ethnic composition | Summarize

Culture is distinct from ethnicity and can be envisioned as a related -- but quite a distinct term. That is because ethnicity refers to the birth heritage and thus the genealogy or genetic ancestry of a person, while culture is a far more "fuzzy" that is less distinct word but can be learned and not acquired from birth parents. One may be ethnically Asian, speak Chinese, having Buryat parentage (from Siberia), and live in Singapore, while practicing the Catholic religion. Culturally Chinese, this fictitious person is of a distinctly different ethnic tradition.


List your parent's ethnic mixture based on their parent's nationality and the country of origins.


State or guess your parent's ethnic mixture:

Maternal Grand Mother is MaGM and Maternal Grand Father is MaGP are your mother's four grand parents (her parent's parents).

Paternal Grand Mother is PMaGM and Paternal Grand Father is PMaGP are your father's mother and her ancestors.

Paternal Grand Mother is PGMa and Paternal Grand Father is PGPa are your father's father and his ancestors.

For example:

family line

Erasmus Darwin (paternal grandfather) + Mary Howard __________________Samuel Wedgwood (maternal grandfather) + Sarah Wedgwood (maternal grandmother)

Robert Darwin was his father + Susannah Wedgwood was his mother

Charles Darwin

The ethnic composition and national identity of your relations.
Ancestry Maternal or Mother's family   Paternal or Father's family
  Lineage Maternal line Paternal line   Maternal line Paternal line
N Nationality of each ancestor         Nationality        
E Ethnicity of each ancestor         Ethnicity        
1) Great Grandparents MaGM MaGP PGMa PGPa   PMaGM PMaGP PGMa PGPa
2) a.) Your Maternal Grand Parents
b.)Your Paternal Grand Parents




3) Mother  








Ethnic Identity

From the above chart, attempt to determine your "ethnicity" below as generally or a specifically as the above data reveal.

Are you bicultural?
  dominant vs. secondary
Ethnic Identity usually refers to:      
Nationalities not nation-states      
languages spoken      
faith or religion
observed festivals

Ritual Observances: (describe the holidays the family all participate in}

Religious (Christmas, Easter, Passover, Ramadan):

Civil (Thanksgiving, Memorial Day, Independence Day, ):


A family is a fusion of:




Faith, or religious affiliation:

Country of origins (if different):

Define | Form to fill out | American map | Central European map | Eastern Europe | diagram | Iraqi ethnic composition | Summarize



Define | Form to fill out | American map | Central European map | Eastern Europe | diagram | Iraqi ethnic composition | Summarize

1. meaning incompatible. Biology and culture do not agree on the origins and characteristics of people in any population.


"Reconstructing the Population Genetic History of the Caribbean" by

Andrés Moreno-Estrada, Simon Gravel, Fouad Zakharia, Jacob L. McCauley, Jake K. Byrnes, Christopher R. Gignoux, Patricia A. Ortiz-Tello, Ricardo J. Martínez, Dale J. Hedges, Richard W. Morris, Celeste Eng, Karla Sandoval, Suehelay Acevedo-Acevedo, Paul J. Norman, Zulay Layrisse, Peter Parham, Juan Carlos Martínez-Cruzado, Esteban González Burchard, Michael L. Cuccaro, Eden R. Martin, & Carlos D. Bustamante.

PLOS Genetics | 2 November 2013 | Volume 9 | Issue 11 | pp. 1-19.