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08 July 2009

The importance of endogamy

Many genealogists are not familiar with the word, but they should be familiar with the concept. Endogamy is the practice of marrying within the social group. Greek immigrants to Chicago tend to marry other Greek immigrants (or children of Greek immigrants). Missouri settlers from Tennessee tend to have children who marry into other nearby families of settlers from Tennessee. While individuals can easily marry “outside” the group, a shared heritage (be it from across the “big pond” or across the creek) can be big factor in the eventual choice of a marriage partner. It explains why half my own ancestors are Ostfriesen even though my families had all lived in the United States for nearly 100 years before I was born.

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