Marriage Outside Ethnicity Groups

Updated: Feb 13

I do not know if others have noticed this in their family trees, but something that I noticed only in my ancestors who were married in America is that marrying someone outside their ethnic group seems to be a common thing in America. If it weren't for two people from different ethnicities I would not be here today, so I am thankful for them getting married.

Ed & Vivian Steinbrecher with 3 of their children.

My grandfather, Edwin Steinbrecher was born and raised in a German household. Even though George and Muriel (Greiner) Steinbrecher were both born in Grand Rapids, Michigan they were very much a part of the German community. Their son, Edwin would break the tradition of marrying within the German community when he married my grandmother, Vivian Ryan on March 30, 1949. They had met while working together. From family stories I was told that my grandfather's family was not happy with the marriage at first. My grandmother thought that she was very Irish, but her DNA showed she was mainly Scottish, Northwestern Europe, and only 3% German.

William and Mary Stinson with their only son, Arthur.

Another of my ancestors that didn't marry within their ethnicity are my 2nd great grandparents, William and Mary (Kraus) Stinson. They met in Rochester, New York after William immigrated from England to America. William's family roots are from Cambridgeshire, England. Mary was born to parents who had immigrated from Germany. I do not know a lot about how they met or what their families thought about their marriage. They were married in Rochester, New York on October 1, 1902.

William and Mary Stinson's only son Arthur would follow in his parents' footsteps and marry someone who was Irish. Anna Kerr was born to Irish-born parents, Hugh and Anna (McFarland) Kerr. Arthur and Anna were married on April 24, 1923. I know that Arthur's parents seemed supportive of the marriage because Arthur and Anna were living with them.

If it was not for America being made up of so many different people who immigrated here from so many different countries I don't know that we would have ever seen so many marriages of mixed ethnicity groups. I do know that it has happened in other countries, but not nearly as much as it has here in America. I am thankful to my ancestors who immigrated to America and were willing to marry outside their ethnic group because otherwise, I would not be here today.

This blog post was written from a prompt “Branching Out” which is part of a year-long challenge to write about 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. For more information on this series please visit