Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Just a fun question for those with European DNA: Where is your "face country"?

Just a fun question for those with European DNA: Where is your "face country"?

Old Mar 25th, 2024, 06:17 PM
  #21  
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 3,085
Received 17 Likes on 10 Posts
Originally Posted by ekscrunchy
CDNYUL: I'm curious about your sometimes being mistaken for a Jew......on what basis would that assumption have been made? Speech, facial features???
That kind of implies that Jews are a race of people with common characteristics....

What do you all think??
When I mentioned to a stranger during a tour of Malbork Castle I left Poland in 1967, they assumed I was Jewish.

https://migs.concordia.ca/memoirs/finkielm/fin_app.html







Last edited by cdnyul; Mar 25th, 2024 at 06:22 PM.
cdnyul is online now  
Old Mar 25th, 2024, 08:17 PM
  #22  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 18,175
Received 22 Likes on 4 Posts
I was asked if I were French because of my eyes while in Porto.
I am basically French, British and Dutch.
HappyTrvlr is offline  
Old Mar 25th, 2024, 08:30 PM
  #23  
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Posts: 1,754
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by AnselmAdorne
Traveler_Nick, you should have rolled out your Canadian lexicon; you know, things like double double, two-four, loonie, toonie, on the pogey, zed, pencil crayons, klicks ... there are probably a few more.

I don't think pulling my ID out would have been enough. I'm sure a few "EH? What do you mean?" came out.

Do you know there are Tim Hortons in Madrid? No walnut cruller. Even worse coffee.
Traveler_Nick is offline  
Old Mar 25th, 2024, 11:17 PM
  #24  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 25,948
Received 4 Likes on 4 Posts
I tend to spot clothes more than face elements

I struggle to see how in Italy your clothes could have appeared both Italian (stylish) and British (terrible) but perhaps they were being kind ;-)
bilboburgler is online now  
Old Mar 26th, 2024, 05:15 AM
  #25  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 2,567
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
bilboburgler--Re shoes and clothes--I would have agreed with you years ago, but my Middle-Eastern son-in-law is always poorly dressed and that didn't stop people from Brazil or Italy from assuming he's Italian.

I think thirty years ago I could have looked at shoes and type of shorts, if someone was wearing them, and tell who was from where. Do you remember the 90s when so many female American tourists were wearing those horrible pink tracksuits? Now there's certainly been a blur of styles everywhere.

As I indicated in a recent trip report, I sat next to a middle-aged guy in Dingle the whole night who was wearing a Grateful Dead T with basic hiking shorts. His facial features could have been anywhere from Northern Europe or Canada or the US or New Zealand. I could have seen that person in Ontario, in Colorado, in Maine, in CA. It was only by his accented English that I knew he wasn't a Brit or Irish or American/Canadian, but it was not until the end of the night that he told me he was from Finland.
AlessandraZoe is offline  
Old Mar 26th, 2024, 09:51 AM
  #26  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 4,497
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
cdnyul, I had no idea that happened in 1967-68.

Traveler_Nick, I'm glad I missed that Tim's in Madrid. I am not a fan of their coffee.
AnselmAdorne is offline  
Old Mar 26th, 2024, 01:11 PM
  #27  
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 8,046
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Genetically I'm virtually 100% Irish, although like many families in Ireland, we have a Scandinavian (Viking) streak. Until the late 1800s all of my known ancestors had lived on the same farms in Tyrone and Fermanagh for several centuries, although the women married and moved to a different nearby farm.

Then in the late 19th century and the 20th century, they started leaving those farms. In my mother's family, all of her many aunts and uncles except for two emigrated to the US to work as servants on Philadelphia's Main Line. In my father's family, most of his aunts and uncles stayed in Ireland except for a few who moved to Scotland. However, he and all his siblings, except for one who died in the Dardanelles, moved either to other parts of the UK or to the US.

We were intrigued to learn that my maternal aunt has a bit of Ashkenazi Jewish heritage, which also shows up in my DNA and that of my siblings. I can't imagine how that came about. These people lived in very isolated farming communities. A travelling salesman? There must be an interesting story there, but it would be lost in the mists of time.

About 30 years ago, my daughters and I visited friends in Denmark, and I was astonished to see how many people looked like my maternal aunts and uncles. The Viking streak?

In Italy, where I've lived for 25 years, people often assumed I was German, but that's because most of the foreigners around here at that time were Germans who bought farmhouses and renovated them and tried to cultivate grapes. Most of them have since returned to Germany, selling their farmhouses to Dutch people, who are also starting to leave. These days people are more likely to ask where I'm from when they hear my accent. Once a farmer said, "You're not from around here, are you?" I was very pleased that he seemed to assume that at least I was Italian.

Last edited by bvlenci; Mar 26th, 2024 at 01:22 PM.
bvlenci is offline  
Old Mar 26th, 2024, 05:39 PM
  #28  
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 18,797
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
As a college freshman I worked weekends in a NYC hotel where all of the staff were of Irish origin and they thought I was too. Probably it was my fair skin and tendency towards ginger.

DW on the other hand is second generation Cuban but her background is Lithuanian/Polish. Her grandmother ended up in Cuba alone as a very young teen and grew up in a sort of orphanage where she met and married a young man newly arrived from Poland and so DW was born and raised in Cuba. Both her mom and grandmother looked and acted stereotypicaly Latina. It is the make up, hair style and clothes, not to mention the accent.
basingstoke2 is online now  
Old Mar 26th, 2024, 08:55 PM
  #29  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,220
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
My cultural and genetic background is pretty much 50/50 English and northern Germany (from before it was called that). My appearance is pretty generic, I think, though I am short. The family joke is that I invariably approached by people in all sorts of European countries asking for directions. My theory is that because both my husband and I are rather small, and I tend to wear a trenchcoat, people think we're locals (we don't fit Europeans' stereotypical image of Americans).

Like other posters here, my husband is (Asian) Indian, which is never a European's first ten guesses as to where he's from. They usually think he's from whatever south European country we are in at the time. Which I think is funny because I think he dresses pretty American (except, no baseball cap).

Our kids of course are bi-racial and don't look Indian, English, or German. The older daughter, with dark wavey hair and slightly darker skin, is assumed to be Hispanic. The younger, with brown wavey hair and Old Testament first name (also a family name on my English side) is more often guessed to be Jewish. And yes, there were times when they were young when people thought I had adopted them.
Lexma90 is offline  
Old Mar 27th, 2024, 03:31 AM
  #30  
 
Join Date: Mar 2024
Posts: 12
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I'm a redhead and I've always been told that my roots are somewhere in Ireland) Although I know for a fact that they are not.
ChristopSim is offline  
Old Mar 27th, 2024, 04:18 AM
  #31  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 25,948
Received 4 Likes on 4 Posts
Originally Posted by bvlenci
Genetically I'm virtually 100% Irish, although like many families in Ireland, we have a Scandinavian (Viking) streak. .
Given how long Dublin (and one assumes other towns in Ireland) were Viking capitals (see also York) that makes a lot of sense.
bilboburgler is online now  
Old Mar 28th, 2024, 12:39 AM
  #32  
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 8,046
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by bilboburgler
Given how long Dublin (and one assumes other towns in Ireland) were Viking capitals (see also York) that makes a lot of sense.
My family is from the north, Tyrone and Fermanagh. There were plenty of Vikings there, too.

My maternal grandmother was a McLaughlin, which is considered a surname of Viking descent. I just learned this recently. She always said that she was descended from Vikings. I don't know if this was a family legend or if she knew the history of the name.

Last edited by bvlenci; Mar 28th, 2024 at 12:46 AM.
bvlenci is offline  
Old Mar 28th, 2024, 10:15 PM
  #33  
 
Join Date: Jul 2022
Posts: 58
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
My closest ancestors immigrated to the US from England, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Scotland. Some European friends said I look like a Swedish pop star (I'll take it!). I haven't been to Sweden yet, but I do feel a sense of familiarity when I look at images of the women there, I can see it's my "face country." And by the way I am brunette with green eyes. So the resemblance is more in the shape of the face rather than coloring. Good question!
magsrose is offline  
Old Mar 29th, 2024, 08:01 AM
  #34  
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 18,797
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Some years ago we were driving in a fairly rural area of Germany and spotted a shop that had some interesting embroidered fabric so went in. This was before I knew much German and the shop keeper knew no English. DW was fairly fluent in Yiddish so tried that. The shop keeper's face lit up and asked where in Germany DW was from with her strange "German" dialect.
basingstoke2 is online now  
Old Mar 29th, 2024, 10:02 AM
  #35  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 2,323
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
For many years I could trick people that I wasn’t American by not wearing running shoes or shorts or a backpack/Fanny pak. Usually was asked if I was swedish (I’m 50% swedish so good guess). I would say that about 10 years ago Europeans especially in big cities starting dressing a lot more like Americans. Nikes, tshirts, jeans, backpacks and people in running clothes, made us all look much more the same.
macdogmom is offline  
Old Mar 29th, 2024, 10:02 AM
  #36  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 2,567
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Oops

I'm the OP. And this proves how someone does not have a clue. It's proof of stupidity in my old age (I was so much smarter at 18).

Last night for Easter I'm with my two girls, their husbands and kids and I bring up this topic. They agreed about all I related about them on this post. Each had a story to relate, and the Home Depot stories for my one son-in-law all had them holding their sides. They called my son-in-law "Jose" for the rest of the night.

When I brought up that no one really looks like me, they all burst out laughing hysterically. The blows kept coming:
--Oldest child, "You are RIDICULOUS!" Same scoffing voice as when she was 17.
--Youngest child, my kind one, "You mean you don't know?"
--Husband, after choking on his beer, "She has no knowledge".

Fighting words now.
Son-in-laws are feeling for me.

"What?" I ask.

Both girls say, "Your doppelganger is Vanessa Redgrave or her sister Lynn after the plastic surgery." Their husbands start nodding and say, "Whenever we those women in films, we turn to each other and say, "That's AZ."

So I looked up the roots for Lynn and Vanessa, and I see that Rachel Kempson was from Devon. I have way back but deep roots in Devon, ones I explored on a trip to Honiton.
Husband says, "Whenever we go to Maine or Canada or New Zealand or Devon, that's your face. Remember when we were talking to those Devon women in the Honiton Lace Museum? They just knew you were a 'homie'."

Proof that I'm an idiot.

Have fun with the rest of the thread. I'm out.

With poster shame,
AZ

PS Unless I find a much better doppelganger in Scandinavia (big DNA %) this summer. And I then would have to post a pic to prove.
AlessandraZoe is offline  
Old Mar 29th, 2024, 10:13 AM
  #37  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 25,948
Received 4 Likes on 4 Posts
I have a wine tasting friend in West Yorkshire, John.

Some years ago I was walking over a vinyards outside Trier to meet a wine maker and there was John talking German.
bilboburgler is online now  
Old Mar 29th, 2024, 02:13 PM
  #38  
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 15,820
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I am often taken for an Italian ( dark hair) .When I speak Spanish , people tell me I have an Italian accent.
I am neither Italian, nor Spanish…😳
danon is offline  
Old Mar 29th, 2024, 05:24 PM
  #39  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 6,112
Received 42 Likes on 2 Posts
Yes, I look Italian.

My DNA only puts my percentage at 10%. I grew up saying I looked like no one in my family but as I’ve aged, I closely resemble my 100% Italian Grandfather. I am just lighter where he was more dark.

When I first went to Florence, Italy I had people approach me speaking Italian and Spanish before English. I didn’t think much of it until years later. I went south east outside of Rome and was shocked to see people who resembled my facial features. I saw it in shop owners, my tour guide and in restaurants. I had a couple of old men come up smiling, gently touching my hand and/arm lightly like they knew me talking in Italian. I had no idea what they said but they patted my hand as to say it was great to see me, welcome back, take care, be well. It was odd and random but felt totally safe and not threatening.

My DNA says I have a lot more Baltic than Italian. I visited my Lithuanian friend and swore her son resembles my brother. From the back and side profile, he could be my brother. My friend is light complexed like me and is built almost like me, just a tad taller. We also have uncanny personality and lifestyle similarities that I swore we had to be related. After my DNA test, I told her she has to be my sister somewhere in our DNA. I am seeing her again in a few weeks and taking another friend with me. I want to see what an outsider thinks.
sassy27 is offline  
Old Apr 5th, 2024, 04:41 AM
  #40  
 
Join Date: Apr 2024
Posts: 12
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I'm Belgian but I'm commonly mistaken for Italian or Spanish.

I never had any DNA checks but it might be the case considering Europe's history!
JeanLui is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Your Privacy Choices -