In the first comment to Saturday's Pi(e) post, Kathy Lewis asked about the math legacy of my mother (the one who introduced Kathy to strawberry-rhubarb pie).  This inspired the genealogist in me to answer the question visually.  (Click image to enlarge.  Family members, please send me corrections as needed.)


Math-related fields clearly run in the family, by marriage as well as by blood.  Some other facts of note:

  • Most of the grandchildren (and all of the great-grandchildren, not shown in the chart) have not yet graduated from college.  Their intended fields, where known, are shown in italics.  One is very close to graduation, so I've left him unitalicised.
  • In each generation from my parents through my children, there's been an even split between mathematics and engineering.  However, with the next generation at nine and counting, I doubt that trend will continue.
  • The other fields don't come out of nowhere:  both of my parents had a vast range of interests.
  • With one short-term exception in a time of need, every woman represented here clearly recognized motherhood as her primary and most important vocation, forsaking the money and prestige that come with outside employment to be able to attend full time to childrearing and making a good home.  Every family must make its own choice between one good and another; this is not a judgement on other people's choices.  Nonetheless, homemaking and motherhood as careers are seriously undervalued these days, so it's worth noting when such a cluster of women all choose to focus their considerable intelligence and education on the next generation.  As daughter, wife, mother, aunt, and grandmother, I'm grateful for the choices these families (fathers as much as mothers) have made.
  • Engineering is a long-time family heritage.  My father's father (born 1896) was a mechanical engineer, and the first chairman of that department at Washington State University.  His father (born 1854) was a civil engineer.
Posted by sursumcorda on Monday, March 16, 2015 at 10:41 am | Edit
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The birth years of your first daughter and her husband are suffering from a mistake of copy/paste, I'm afraid!

But overall, a fun and interesing study.

Posted by joyful on Monday, March 16, 2015 at 4:39 pm

Thanks, fixed now. Pretty strange of you to marry a guy your father's age....

Posted by SursumCorda on Monday, March 16, 2015 at 5:53 pm

Some similarities in engineering. My grandfather was member of ASME and also was in Chemical Engineer's club in college. He taught Metallurgy for a short time at U of Cincinnati before joining private sector. His father was a Civil engineer graduating from MIT. Senior thesis was Design for a Superstructure for a Cantilever Bridge Over the St Lawrence River at Lachine P.Q. He worked for a couple of railroads, involved in terminal and bridge designs.

Posted by dstb on Monday, March 16, 2015 at 10:39 pm

B is pre-med but his intended degrees are Chemistry and German if you want to be more specific.

Posted by NMKB on Tuesday, March 17, 2015 at 3:20 pm

Also check the birth year of your elder sister-in-law

Posted by NMKB on Tuesday, March 17, 2015 at 3:23 pm

Fixed again, thanks. That was not my day for proofreading, obviously.

Posted by SursumCorda on Tuesday, March 17, 2015 at 3:45 pm
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