Many people may not be aware that in the United Kingdom of Great Britain, there is almost a constant state of confusion over just exactly who they are. They are considered Great Britain or the United Kingdom, but the United Kingdom takes in the countries of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It was on this day May 1, 1707 that England and Scotland joined together to become the United Kingdom. I think the union must have been a bit surprising, given that the English and the Scots had long battled over one thing or another. Nevertheless, The Scots needed the economic support that England could offer, while for England the merger was political. The Scots would no longer have a Parliment, but they were given instead a proportion of the seats at Westminster.
The English tend to call Great Britain, England, with notorious disregard for the feelings of the Welsh, with whom they joined in 1536 and the Scots, with whom they joined in 1707. The Act of Union of 1707, states merely that England and Scotland shall ‘be united into one kingdom by the name of Great Britain’. Many people simply lumped them together as Britain, calling all of them the Brits, which technically isn’t so…and even the English didn’t like that name. The last official merger was with Northern Ireland in 1800, at which time the enlarged kingdom became the United Kingdom of Great Britain.
It’s hard for me to think about being a country that is part of a kingdom, and yet, I suppose that is exactly what we were when the United States of America was part of England. Although we may not have been considered a part of a kingdom exactly, we were under British rule until the Revolutionary War. I suppose that there could be a love/hate relationship among the countries of the United Kingdom to this day. I do think that the British Royals do like to go to the different countries that are a part of the United Kingdom, and maybe those countries like having them come for a visit now, but I have to wonder if that was always the case. Queen Elizabeth heads to her Scottish castle, Balmoral, at this time of the year, so she must love the whole Scottish countryside at least almost as much as she does England. For Queen Elizabeth, having a castle in Scotland is normal. I suppose that if you grew up being a part of a kingdom, it would be normal, and in all reality, while it wasn’t always a kingdom, it has been since 1536, so it might as well have been always…at least for the people who call the United Kingdom of Great Britain home.
You can’t research your family history without reaching the conclusion at some point that each of us is an amazing mixture of different heritages, cultures, and nationalities. The names that have combined to bring us to the point of our place in history, come from all walks of life, and from many different countries. After centuries of marriages, the bloodline changes to the point of becoming almost unrecognizable. If good records are not kept, it can get to the point of not being able to trace the family history at all. I have personally come up against parts of my family history where I am at a dead end, and all I can do is hope that somewhere along the way, someone had some information that they will input into their history, so I can continue on with my line.
When I think about the different nationalities that have come together to bring about the person who is me, I am in awe of how it can all mix and still keep some semblance of who the original people were. Of course, there is a definite loss of the cultures, languages, and homelands of the prior generations, but the bloodline doesn’t really lose its history, it just becomes somewhat like muddy waters. You can’t easily see all the details of each part of what makes up the whole, but you know that it is there…somewhere.
I find it so interesting to look at all of my ancestors. There were some amazing characters in my history. Famous names mingle with not so famous names throughout my history, and it makes me wonder how these different people ever got together in the first place, but then most people aren’t famous until later in life. Some are born into it, but many achieve greatness through the course of their life, and many live their entire lives with their greatness known only to their lives ones and close friends.
I believe that no matter who we are or where we come from, whether we are famous or not, we are an amazing mixture of all that is in our ancestry. No matter what country we now live in, most of us have come from many nations to arrive where we are. It is what makes us who we are, and it is why each of us is unique. Even siblings can take more of their line from opposite parents and thereby come more along the lines of that parent than the other. It is an amazing mixture.