I lived in Texas for quite a few years and I remember so clearly the day an elderly gentleman pulled my friend and me aside at church and counseled us to be sure and marry someone from Texas. We were just in high school at the time and much more concerned about getting a date than the culture of the man we would someday marry, but we were intrigued and so we listened to what he had to say.

He told us that Texas had its own culture and that if we were to marry someone from outside the state, they would have a different upbringing and that they wouldn’t understand some of our Texas ways and that would create difficulties in the marriage. He said if we married a fellow Texan, we would have so much more in common.While my friend was Texas born and raised, I had only lived there a couple of years and so it applied more to her than it did for me, but neither of us took his advice too seriously.

A few years later both she and I went off to a university several states away and as it turned out, neither of us married Texans. Funny enough, though, we both ended up returning with our non-Texas spouses to live in Texas for a time. Texas is, after all, a great place to live.

As I’ve studied my ancestors and their southern culture, I’ve often thought about the elderly man’s counsel given to me so many years ago. On my father’s side, generation after generation married other southerners, right down until my own grandparents who broke tradition.

Heber Monroe Ganus, Hazel Mickelsen, Southerner, Oklahoma, Georgia, Family History, FamilySearch, Genealogy, Ancestry
Hazel Mickelsen and Heber Monroe Ganus
In all fairness, although my Grandpa was born to Georgia natives, he was not born in the south. When it came time to marry, he was living in Colorado, although it was Southern Colorado. 
Grandpa Heber Monroe Ganus was born in Oklahoma in 1900 to William Franklin Ganus and Sarah E. Faucett, both born and raised in Georgia. He married my Grandma, Hazel Mickelsen, whose parents were full blooded Danish.  Both sets of her grandparents had immigrated to the US directly from Denmark. Although obviously, they loved each other, I can’t help but wonder what challenges they may have faced as they worked to mesh two very different cultures.

Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2016, All rights reserved

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8 thoughts on “Married to a Southerner

  1. Michelle, How interesting! I know both my Tennessee and Pennsylvania ancestors married people from their area for generations. My husband I went to junior high & high school together & I think that makes it easier for us to understand each other. We have such a shared background, like so many of our ancestors with their spouses.

  2. It's definitely what makes America the melting pot. My New England-bred mom married my dad, the grandson of Slovak immigrants and they lived in NJ. My mom's grandmother brought her Danish culture to Maine in the 1890s. It makes us proudly what we are.

  3. Love does not stop and think about culture or traditions. My maternal grandparents married, an Irish Catholic & a European Jew. Their families disowned them. It would have been easier for them if they had both come from the same background but they were in love and stayed together till they died.

  4. This is something I have not thought about much. Now that I am, I realize that practically all of my southerners married southerners. My Irish great-grandmother and her sisters all married Irish men and lived in ethnically diverse neighborhoods in Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Manhattan. I wonder what that was like.

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