Monday, January 01, 2007

Family tree leaves many colors

If you look at the family tree of a mixed-race person, you'll probably see one ethnicity on the mother's side and a completely different one on the father's. That's because many mixed people are the children of 2 monoracial parents. But imagine a family tree that doesn't have one ethnicity on each side, but instead, has many ethnicities on both sides.

This is what the Huie Kin family tree is like. In 1889, a Chinese immigrant named Huie Kin married a Dutch American woman named Louise Van Arnam. And they had 9 children. Here's a link to the story:


I've heard stories before about interracial marriages in the 19th century, and almost always, the modern-day descendants of those marriages don't really have a mixed heritage anymore, because the following generations married people of the same ethnicity, which gradually wiped out traces of a multiracial heritage, because one ethnicity slowly became dominant in the family tree. This family, however, is a different story.

The Huie Kin daughters all married Chinese men, and the Huie Kin sons all married White women. So the Eurasian identity of this family has been unusually maintained for more than a century. How often do you see a mixed-race family that's been mixed-race for over a hundred years? I guess these kind of families are common in some places, like Hawaii, but this was the first time I've read in-depth about it.


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