There are several levels and aspects to British genealogy. It can refer solely to the nominate group, the English people of the British Isles. Instead, British actually refers to all the collection of ethnic groups on the British Isles. The whole island is referred to as Great Britain which also has the areas of Scotland and Wales that share the same island as the English. Off the coasts are the Channel Islands in the English Channel and the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea. Next there is the island of Ireland, containing the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom. All of the distinctive people of these islands have influenced each other for centuries.
Even as one political unit, the United Kingdom, with its four separate countries of Scotland, Northern Ireland, England and Wales; have preserved elements of their own distinctive traditions, languages, customs and symbolism. Those of English heritage have remained the dominant culture.
Those referred to as British are also called Britons, or Brits, and are located in the United Kingdom, on the Isle of Man, on the Channel Islands, or as part of the British overseas territories, along with their descendants. The language used is British English, with slight regional variations in the spoken form.
A term often used is ‘Britishness’ which is a political synonym for Englishness which extends the English culture over the Scots, Welsh and the Irish. Yet, British has mistakenly been thought of as one ethnic group. Rather, for centuries it has been a mixture of numerous ethnic assemblages.
The earliest people to the island have been invaded and conquered by the Roman Empire, Normans of France, the Vikings of the Scandinavia region and the Angles-Saxons-Jutes (Germanic) from across the North Sea. Many have come to the island as immigrants seeking religious or economic opportunities such as; Dutch merchants, German and French Protestants, Jews from other areas of Europe and the Irish from Ireland. Other people were brought to the island against their will to work as slaves including Africans and the Chinese. From former British colonies have come people from South Asia, the Caribbean Islands, regions of the continent of Africa and from North America.
When examining British genealogy, it can include the white European British which make up 92 percent of the island’s population, the Black British at 2 percent and the Asian British at 4 percent. The largest city of London has in addition to the British English language, has some 250 different languages and dialects from around the world.
The religion is primarily Christianity, rough 71 percent of the population, with Church of England or Anglican Church in England; in Wales it is the Anglican Church, in Scotland it is the Presbyterian Church of Scotland. Mixed in are many citizens who are Roman Catholic and Methodist. Approximately 5 percent of the population are Hindus, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists and Sikhs, with all the various faiths given religious freedom.