Talk:British American

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old talk[edit]

Two points: "In an historical context, that terminology would be correct." I don't think it would be wise to call one usage "correct", implying that other possibilities are incorrect. For example, I consider myself a British-American even though my British ancestors left England over four hundred years ago; I don't see a clear-cut line where you can say "well, those people have been living somewhere else for exactly 367.58 years, so they're no longer British-Americans but just Americans." Just because my British ancestors left Britain earlier than some other people's doesn't make me any less British, genetically speaking.

Secondly, "Our society tends to believe in hyphenated-Americanism, despite the fact that one's ancestry may date back to the foundations of this nation." This isn't a very Wikipedia-esque sentence for a few reasons. It refers to "our society", meaning "American society", when Wikipedia is a collaborative and international project, so "our society" should not refer to anything but human society as a whole. It would be even better to avoid first and second person pronouns altogether, since their usage depends largely on who is speaking and who is spoken to, things which change all the time as different people read and write articles. I have changed this to read "American society" instead of "our society", but have made no other changes.

I would like to get others' input before deciding how to fix up the rather POV-sounding second paragraph, as I'm not sure how to convert it into more neutral sentences. Livajo 21:21, 10 Sep 2004 (UTC)

"Today's English population doesn't consider themselves to be German because their ancestors were Anglo-Saxons from Germany."

Being English (whatever that is) doesn't necesarilly mean being descended from Angles, Saxons, Jutes, or any of the German tribes who descended on these shores. Many northern English are just as likely to have Viking ancestry, many more have Roman and ancient British (sometimes referred to as Celtic) bloodlines.

I think you missed the point, or were just eager to inject some more trivia. They could just as easily have said "do modern day english consider themselves viking-english, celtic-english or german-english etc, but it doesn't flow nearly as well. It was an example case to make a point. TastyCakes 17:53, 3 August 2005 (UTC)

French Americans and Canadians![edit]

This article neglects the French part of Canadian, which is rather equal so much as to be witnessed when one looks at the Coat of Arms of Canada. Louisiana Territory was twice the size of the British colonies in America. I am part French with Anglo-Norman on one side and Norman French on another, so why are the French not seen as British? Does anbody know about the Angevin Empire or Hundred Years' War? Does anybody know that during those older times, a lord in England will likely have holdings in France as well? English claims to the French throne is something you should research. I know my Landed property family's social status in those times(gentry and peerage). They were in the Pilgrimage of Grace, Queen Mary I of England's recusants, Regnans in Excelsis, Gunpowder Plot, Cavaliers and Tory into Jacobitism and also Victorian era followers of Anglo-Catholicism. The Bruce, Balliol, Howard, Stuart, Neville and Percy families figure much into my family's historical encounters. I take it as no surprise that French should be included in this article. Traditional antagonisms must play no part in editing! Canada is the only monarchy in which French people inhabit by a majority of the populace and the Queen of Canada is chiefly in the British monarchy. If the Irish as Catholics don't agree with being considered British, what of French Calvinism having had historical ties to the Anglophile Duke of Burgundy? Never mind that Catholics were the Royalists during the French Revolution and supported by Protestant King George III of Great Britain, over the Huguenot Republicans. I have both ancestors and the French side including the Norman Conquest is 5/8s of my great grandparents's surnames, with another 1/8 being a hybrid English patronymic of a French name. The other 2/8s are a South Saxon and a Danish name. I still consider myself British because of our orientation. My Québécois great grandmother used to have afternoon spots of tea. So, how are the French in either Canada or America somehow exempt from this article? I hope that my information right here is no doubt of the validity in which I speak. One more thing...I expect that if I ever edit this article, that nobody objects to the French included. ScapegoatVandal 04:34, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Well, I will object for one. This is not an article about Canada. It is an article about people of British heritage in the United States. Perhaps you want French Canadian article or want to start the the Canadian American, French American, or British Canadian article. Rmhermen 13:57, Jun 15, 2005 (UTC)

You're needlessly or confusingly objecting. I was commenting on a presence of French in British identity, yet you seemingly have ignored everything but the last sentence! Please, I deal with education, not ignorance! You sound trollish. ScapegoatVandal 14:41, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)

This is an article about British heritage in the United States of America, not about French heritage in the United Kingdom which I am certain is discussed elsewhere. French Canadian heritage in the United States would be discussed in its own article perhaps but also in Canadian American and French American. Rmhermen 15:01, Jun 15, 2005 (UTC)

The two are not mutually exclusive; British and French. That's what my whole paragraph is about! Really and truly, what is your valid argument? Read over the paragraph to find out how you are wrong and not even having a background about Anglo-French relations of any place, whether in Europe or colonies. ScapegoatVandal 15:19, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Well, we could write an encyclopdia with one article called "Everything" but it would hardly by useful or reflective of the usages of the world. I wonder at your jumping to the conclusion that I am unversed in British/French/American/Canadian history and relations merely because I disagree with you. This is hardly an appropriate response. Rmhermen 16:30, Jun 15, 2005 (UTC)

Perhaps you can refute my paragraph, instead of mock it? ScapegoatVandal 16:43, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I'm sorry, let me try and get this straight.. you're complaining because the article doesn't count French people as British? Please. If you want to point out that the article doesn't mention large scale mixing of Europeans in the new world, which makes it hard to categorize people as "British-American", fine. But you seem to just want to discuss your own convoluted genetic background. Yes at one point the lines between the states of England and France were more blurred than they are now. But most of that was centuries before significant migration and much of it before Britain and France were even the states they are today. It's pretty obvious French people are not a subset of British people. You seem to be trying to waste people's time with a pointless little monologue about your background and I would urge you to stop. End of discussion?
However, on a related note, it says the "overwhelming majority" of Canadians in the US are british. A look at Canadian census data will show you this isn't likely to be true, about a quarter are French (as scapegoatvandal was apparently trying to point out..) and I would assume make up a large part of Canadian-Americans thanks to the Acadians in New Orleans and large scale migration into the North East. Canadians from other parts of Europe exist in large numbers, and non-europeans are I think around 10%. A similar argument can be made against "the overwhelming majority" of people marking "American" being British. TastyCakes 17:48, 3 August 2005 (UTC)

The 'largest' ethnic group[edit]

These lines seem contradictory:

'British-Americans are the largest ethnic group of Americans, as there are 57.6 million British-Americans and more than 100 million Americans with significant British ancestry.'

'These figures make British Americans one of the largest "ethnic" groups in the U.S. when counted collectively (although the Census Bureau does not count them collectively, as each of the above is a separate ethnic group, that is English or Scottish or Welsh or Scots-Irish; nor does the Bureau include a separate group for Northern Irish people). The Germans and Hispanic are the largest self-reported ethnic groups in the nation.'

Can someone explain how this works? Which is the biggest ethnic group? Kohran 16:55, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

This is interesting.
The first paragraph could be taken that 57.6 million Americans identify as British or one of the derivative ethnic groups, with 100 million Americans not identifying as British but recognising that they have some British heritage. So, I would say that this works.
The second needs to be rewritten. It says that the British are an ethnic group, but are not an ethnic group as the US census counts Welsh, English, Scottish and Scots-Irish separately. But, it says that the Germans are an ethnic group, and that includes Germans, Danes, Dutch and several others, which are far more distinct from each other than the forementioned British peoples! As for Hispanics, this grouping is made up of people even MORE distinct amongst themselves. Enzedbrit 23:37, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

Germans are an ethnic group on their own, that does not include the Danes,Dutch etc...they are nothing to do with Germany...dont know where you got that information from.. The British people's are not the same ethnic group and are just as disticnt as other european countries, but becuase of the strong cultural tie, and they are what makes up Britain today, they can be counted together (As also in the UK). This does not mean that a person doesnt loose ties to their specific country of origin..Scotland and England are Britons but are very disticnt peoples/cultures. Hispania 16:55, 3 November 2007 (UTC)


I don't see a category for American-Britons, i.e., US expats who have settled in the UK and/or attained British citizenship.

T. S. Eliot, Henry James, Sam Wanamaker, Larry Sanders, Oona King, Jenny Jerome (mother of Winston Churchill) et al are in this category.

That really isn't the point of this article. You would need to look under British ethnic groups, not American ones. Rmhermen 20:45, 5 August 2007 (UTC)

Granted, but I wasn't criticizing this article for not describing such people, but saying that Wikipedia in general should have an article or entry, and that this article shoould have a "see also" thingie directing people to such an article or list. After all, I came across this article only after first searching for an article or list of Americans who have settled in Britain, not the other way around. I have since located a wikipedia list of "American expatriates in the UK" but that is not necessarily the same as "American Britons" who can be British nationals of American origin (either immigrants to the UK from the US or the children of one or such immigrants or expats). I think there is a need for such an article or list, and one that distinguishes "American Britons" from American expats in the UK", the latter of which may just be Americans who happen to live in the UK, whether on a temporary or permanent basis, and are not necessarily British citizens.
I looked through Category:Ethnic groups in the United Kingdom and can't find any related article. Perhaps just too small a group to warrant notice. Rmhermen 17:32, 7 August 2007 (UTC)
Well, not so small. This BBC analysis of the 2001 census data shows 155,030 UK residents were born in the US, 0.27% of the whole population. On the other hand, this page shows 678,000 UK-born people living in the US. -- Arwel (talk) 13:46, 10 November 2007 (UTC)
Not so small at all. I can't quote any references for this, but my understanding is that, until the recent expansion of the European Union which has resulted in mass migration of Eastern Europeans to Great Britain and excluding migration to GB from the Indian subcontinent, for many years annual arrivals from the USA have contributed the greatest number of migrants. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:12, 11 December 2007 (UTC)

Thomas Paine?[edit]

The dude was an Englishman, not an American. His work Common Sense was said to be authored by "an Englishman," and he canstantly speaks as an Englishman addressing Americans; not s an American. He was here in revolutionary times, sure, and then he was in France in the early days of their revolution. He's not an American, though he played an important role in American history. Why is he shown as a British American? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:48, 20 March 2008 (UTC)

US South[edit]

I think somehow we should include the us census graphs in the article, but they are misleading given that the US south is the area with the greatest concentration and homogeneity of british ancestry. In the census these people largely identify as "American ethnicity" either because they have no connection to the British culture per se or are unaware of thier heritage, however they are typically of predominant British decent. I don't know of anyway to include this scientifically but does anyone have any ideas? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:41, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

In previous census's, British in general and English in particular was the overwhelming plurality of every part of the South. West Virginia was over 30% English in the 1980 census. Two thirds of the same people, county-for-county, identified as American in the 2000 census, but given it's the same exact people I think it ought to be mentioned somewhere.


I don't understand that why the British Ancestry dropped dramatically from 1980 to 2000?Is it because they died or they chose not to admit that they were British Ancestry —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:20, 2 October 2008 (UTC)

The census question is a question of self-identity, not of historical fact. So while some did die, mostly many no longer identify themselves as British. This period also coincided with a large increase in the number of people identifying as "American". Rmhermen (talk) 17:26, 25 October 2008 (UTC)

Northern Ireland[edit]

I think it is improper to call people of ancestry from Northern Ireland British-Americans. All of Ireland used to be part of the United Kingdom, so if those people are British-Americans then so are Irish-Americans descended from people who came here during the Potato Famine. It makes things very confusing. Also Northern Ireland, although it is part of the United Kingdom, is not part of the island of Great Britain, and the people there don't really consider themselves British, the unionists only want to stay because they are afraid of being dominated by the Catholic state in the south, and they like the economic benefits of their connection with Great Britain. I would not call people of northern Irish descent British Americans, it is improper and confusing. -- (talk) 07:33, 26 December 2008 (UTC)

I disagree, though agree with part of your point. People of Northern Irish origins definitely should be classed as British Americans - they are British, period - no argument. However, I *also* contrarily believe that this term should cover any American who has origins in the British Isles as a whole. This clearly includes the whole of Ireland (not only Northern Ireland), as the entire island of Ireland was part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland during the period when most migration to North America from Ireland occurred (i.e. during the potato famine). Given that many Americans may be able to trace their ancestry to somewhere in the British Isles, but many will not be able to pinpoint exactly where, the British American" term referring to the entire British Isles is the most convenient (talk) 23:49, 22 March 2009 (UTC)
I kinda object to someone trying to rationalise "why" unionists like myself don't want a united Ireland, which has nought to do with the religious makeup of the Republic. We consider ourselves British, either through choice or ethnicity, that should be enough for Johnny Foreigners!! After all, we don't question *YOUR* ethnic origins or political allegiances. Plus it's kinda irrelevant regards the classification of British-Americans. I think incorporating Ulster-Scots heritage into both British-American and Irish-American groups is a fair compromise. Cyberbeagle. (talk) 22:13, 5 March 2010 (UTC)
Could you then argue that whether someone is British American or Irish American depends on the political status(es) of Northern Ireland at the time of their leaving the country (or being granted citizenship)? Constitutionally and legally, people from Northern Ireland are British and have been since the Union with Ireland in 1800. How about changing the article to reflect that unionists in Northern Ireland consider themselves British too? TomB123 (talk) 18:57, 13 October 2010 (UTC)

Can i also Point out that the Term "British" does not just apply to people born on the Island of Great Britain (England/Scotland/Wales)....BUT the whole of the United Kingdom (England,Scotland,Wales,NORTHERN IRELAND, Im from Northern Ireland and im fed up to the back teeth of jumped up people coming onto wikipedia and telling me im "NOT" British of course im bloody well British Im a BRITISH CITIZEN born in a Part of the UK with a BRITISH PASSPORT as well as being a proud Northern Irishman and Being geographically Irish also... — Preceding unsigned comment added by Coolnaenaes (talkcontribs) 05:59, 6 October 2012 (UTC)

British not is a nationality[edit]

This is a english imperialism against Scotland and Walles!!! Nacionality is english, welsh, scot, etc...(are very differents etnic origins; englishs are a anglo-saxon/germanic people and welshs/scots are a celtic/celtiberian people and not a germanic people!!!)!!

I dont think so. Use of the term British is not pro English and anti Scottish / Welsh. It is fact that "Britishness" was pushed on the English people when a Scottish King became King of England in the 1600s. 100 years later under a monarch of Scottish blood England and Scotland joined to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain. Pathetic claims that England is the bad guy and has done everything is simply silly and not based on historic fact. As for British not being a nationality i think you will find it is, and we even have passports to prove our nationality.
Also just for the record if you didnt read the article, the choice of "BRITISH" appeared on their recent census as well as English, Scottish etc. This is not an exception, take a look at European American, surely u can accept there is even more difference between the different European people than the British people.
Please take your silly arguments about British people to our articles and not drag people from other countries into internal disputes. BritishWatcher (talk) 08:43, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
I don't think it's worth even entertaining such nonsense or engaging with it: the person concerned has not even attempted to put their nonsensical beliefs in the context of Wikipedia guidelines, style, references or anything of the sort. It's probably just trolling. --Breadandcheese (talk) 13:01, 9 February 2009 (UTC)

Brad Pitt?[edit]

Is Brad Pitt really important enough to be featured in a prominent location in this article?

I think so, given he's of entirely English ancestry (and perhaps less importantly has a very English surname). I don't see why he shouldn't be.

No one noticed settlement being spelled wrong?[edit]

I fixed it.

infobox images[edit]

I think we need to switch some of these up. Currently we have:

  • Benjamin Franklin
  • Douglas MacArthur
  • James Monroe
  • Thomas Paine
  • Butch Cassidy
  • James Madison
  • Christopher Hitchens
  • Rick Rescorla

So by race, all white

  • by gender, all males
  • by time, 4 of 8 "Founders"-era, 2 recent, 1 19th century, 1 early-20th
  • by ancestry, 3 immigrants, two children of immigrants, one grandchild, 2 of older heritage
  • by UK country, 3 Scot, 5 English, 1 Cornish, 0 Irish, 0 Welsh

So obviously we need to replace Paine with an Irish-Welsh black woman whose grandparents immigrated to America in 1800s. Or we could replace a couple pictures at once. I would remove Paine and Madison and perhaps switch Monroe with George Washington. Bette Davis has Welsh ancestry, Ava Gardner has Scots-Irish and Irish, Hillary Rodham Clinton is the granddaughter of Welsh and English immigrants, Drew Barrymore English descent, Halle Berry had an white English grandmother. 20:13, 5 November 2010 (UTC)

British - not English, Cornish, Welsh, Irish or Scots[edit]

Can we please ensure that the statements made in the article text actually matches the references? Case in point, the references refer to people of English descent tending to refer to themselves as 'American' - not Cornish, Welsh, Irish or Scots (all of which are much more 'exciting' than English).

In addition, there is no benefit in highlighting certain nations within Britain as being included (i.e. Cornish) - this is taken as read and doesn't need repetition. (talk) 00:34, 11 November 2010 (UTC)

Cornish is the only one not mentioned in the U.S. census breakdown on the page and so is clearly a valuable addition. Which of the 4 offline references did you read - or did you just read the half a page freely available on google books of the one source and in bad faith assume that all the reference only mention English? Rmhermen (talk) 00:47, 11 November 2010 (UTC)
The entire phrase mentioning all groups was added in one edit with all four references on February 18, 2010. I see no reason to doubt that this is exactly as intended. Rmhermen (talk) 00:57, 11 November 2010 (UTC)
I took the time to read the references, which is clearly more than you did, and the explicit reference was to the phenomena of English Americans identifying with other ethnic groups - even without any evidence that they came from the alternate ancestry. The text was in partial error and should have been corrected. (talk) 01:18, 15 November 2010 (UTC)

1980 definition of British in second paragraph[edit]

Hi, All.

I was just editing the article's second paragraph, which now reads as follows:

I was going to deal with the paragraph's final sentence, including making sure that the proper term ("percent" or "percentage point") was not confused with its improper cousin. So, seeking the 1980 numbers, I went to "1980 United States Census" and followed its link to this PDF. So far, I fail to see that the 1980 Census discussed 'British Americans'. I find, in Table 42, on page 34, a breakdown of the American population by ancestry, in which those reporting single ancestry fall into the categories "English" (part of "British", to my mind), "German", "Irish" (another part of "British" to my mind, but apparently not in our article's intro), "Italian", "Polish", and "Spanish", and the three multiple-ancestry groups are "English and other", "German and other", and "Irish and other".

Is there a report of 1980 Census data that says what kinds of ancestry did and didn't make up what our Wikipedia article calls "British"—or has someone writing in our article merely decided that "British" doesn't mean "Irish" (and really means just "English"?)? Not 'accusing' anyone; just trying to figure it out, so we can make this article as good as it can be.

President Lethe (talk) 01:47, 19 August 2012 (UTC)

British Americans are citizens of the United States whose ancestry originates wholly or partly in the United Kingdom (England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland). :) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:42, 26 September 2012 (UTC)

British American[edit]

Would someone who is a citizen of both countries but of an ethnicity other than White British be considered a British American? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:56, 3 October 2012 (UTC)

Yes. This article seems to only focus on ethnicity though. Hza a 9 (talk) 21:30, 19 January 2015 (UTC)
    • ^ Cite error: The named reference British-American_ancestry_ACS_2009 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).