As I poke around among my direct ancestors from my own parents to as far back as they’re currently traced, I am imagining inviting them all to a large family gathering, and wondering what sparks would fly.
What they have in common is that all are Northern European. Many would be able to understand each other at least roughly, as most spoke the English of their time at least as a second language, most as the first, and those who didn’t were of an era when their own languages, mostly Dutch and German, were a little closer to English.
But that’s about where it ends. There are cavaliers and Puritans and Quakers and charlatans, people who traded slaves, and abolitionists, and people who fought for the North and the South in the American Civil War, and were Huguenots and were either fighting within or fleeing the Scottish/English border when things were fierce there. There were Baptists and Anglicans (but damned few Catholics, oddly, post-Reformation), and politicians and laborers.
Of course the further back I go, the more there are members of the peerage and notables in history, because the laborers and silversmiths and housewives didn’t have their histories so well preserved. And beyond those elders who weren’t recorded are of course, the assorted milkmen and rapists and other unrecorded fathers.
But my genetics and family records both place me squarely in Northern Europe, mostly northwestern Europe, and I actually want to see that messy family reunion. I want to know more about what those people were like, and watching folks squabble is a quick way to learn.