No major problems have been recorded that I could find when it came to economic status. Our ancestors seem to have had the attitude of being content with their statuses, with no major highs or lows recorded in our family history. On my mother’s side of the family, one of the few things I know is that they struggled with money throughout the generations. The Polish reputation made it hard to get jobs that weren’t in unclean, unsafe factories. I am not positive if this was the case for my ancestors, but combining their poor economic status with the fact that they were Polish immigrants makes it seem likely.Gender roles in my family were pretty clearly defined for a long time. On my father’s side, I believe that my grandmother Mary Grill was the first woman to work outside of the house and it was as a grocery store clerk. My father’s side of the family has always had very Grill 5
strong beliefs that woman belong in the household taking care of children and doing household chores. On my mother’s side of the family these gender roles were less rigid. My mother is a part of the third or fourth generation of women in the family to work outside the house, and the woman was always seen as more capable on that side. This is apparent in my household even today; my dad is often expecting my mom to do the household chores and have the lesser job, and my mom is determined to do well at her job and also expects my dad to help sometimes around the house. Their influence from their families created these precepts and I’msure mine will eventually be some sort of combination of those two. In conclusion, I have learned that my families on each side had different experiences while making their lives in America. The prejudices that my mother’s side faced were felt to a much lesser extent by my father’s German side. I also learned that none of my ancestors were terribly wealthy, and that they were all fairly content with it being that way. There are no huge risks recorded, which suggests that most of them were happy with what they had and by doing what they knew how to do. I feel like my own identity is definitely shaped by both sides of my ancestors in ways such as being content with what I have, using my skills the best I can, and working to defeat prejudices when they arise. Similar to my ancestors, my race has never posed a problem in my life or created any barriers for me. And thanks to gender equality which is strengthening everyday, I also am not confined to the same rigid gender roles that my father’s ancestors stuck to for so long. Both sides of my family were willing to take a leap of faith and start new lives in America, which shows that they had confidence in their skills enough to start all over somewhere new. Everything I’ve learned about my ancestry and how my family came tobe has given me a deeper sense of my own identity in cultural and economic aspects. Grill 6
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- Spring '14