The most significant location is certainly Kassel, or Hesse-Kassel. Sometime just before the Revolutionary War, German mercenaries called Hessians were paid by the English to fight for them against the American colonists. Some of these Hessians, who were professional soldiers, were called this because of their roots in Hesse-Hanau and Hesse-Kassel in central Germany. During the mid-18th century, 1 in 4 people in Kassel was a soldier in its army, similar to ancient Sparta. They were a military state. Not only did my ancestors live in Kassel, but they departed to America from there as well. According to Ancestry.com, over 5,000 of the Hessians decided to stay in America following the war as an escape from military service. Some of these Hessians decided to make a new life in the mountains of Tennessee. Attempting to adjust to a new land, many were forced to fight for a living. My paternal grandparents were rural sharecroppers, which just shows how one struggling generation translated to the next.Tim Burton's Sleepy Hollow romanticized the Hessian soldier, morphing him into the titular Headless Horseman. My ancestors from Heilbronn and Stuttgart were later hijacked on their way to Pennsylvania on the order of Virginia's Lieutenant Governor and forced to work as indentured servants in his iron and coal mines.
The second largest chunk of my DNA is 40% Great Britain (England, Scotland, Wales). Those ancestors also started coming over in the early 1700s, from English cities like Manchester, Liverpool, Lichfield, Leichester, Wolverhampton, and Birmingham, Scottish cities like Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, and Inverness, and Welsh cities like Ysbyty Ystwyth, Ystrad Meurig, and Ystrad Fflur. Though they speak English now, Wales maintains its Celtic roots in its city names. All the names are in Welsh, a language very similar to highly non-phonetic Gaelic. As for England, I now live in Birmingham, AL, a city created to mimic the steel city of Birmingham, England, where I have heavy ancestral roots. Most of the 40% is between England and Scotland. Scotland also shares with my 7% DNA reading of Ireland and Scotland - which tells that besides my DNA showing up in Dublin, most of that 7% percent is Scots-Irish. The Scots-Irish, a Protestant mix of Irish and Scottish, departed from Belfast in Northern Ireland. My maternal grandmother's surname was McDonald. This is the Irish spelling (as opposed to the Scottish one, MacDonald), though I'm sure lots of the Scots-Irish had Irish surnames. She used to sing the lullabies "Danny Boy" and "Loch Loman," which are respectively Irish and Scottish ballads. It makes sense that she was Scots-Irish, seeing as how she fervently sang both. The picture above is the flag of Northern Ireland.
As for the Irish side, this is certainly from my maternal grandfather, whose surname was Kirven. The name originated in Kilkenny, west of Dublin. A Kirven, which means crow in Latin, married a McDonald from Ulster, or Northern Ireland, which is an interesting development. I have long been fascinated with "The Troubles," an ongoing conflict in the 20th century that pitted Northern Ireland against the Republic of Ireland in the south. The Catholic IRA (Irish Republican Army) was created to keep out the British from occupying Northern Ireland, whose residents were seen as loyalists to the British crown. The IRA fought countless skirmishes with the British army and UVA (Ulster Volunteer Forces). Their bloodshed cost many lives, including innocent people caught in the crossfire. I have several books on the conflict. My English and Irish ancestors came over long before the 20th century, but the southern and northern Irish roots in my bloodline make for an interesting development.
Here I am thinking I'm a descendant of Vikings (which I still may be). It turns out I'm only 6% Scandinavian (Sweden, Norway, Denmark). My Swedish roots, the ones I get from my maternal grandfather's side, are the ones I know the most about. My family tree consists of a slew of Bostroms, Samuelssons, Olofssons, Persdotters, and Svensdotters (dotter, meaning daughter). Unfortunately, not enough of my Swedish relatives have had their DNA tested. On my DNA map, Scandinavia is circled, though there are no cities highlighted to pinpoint my DNA activity. But apparently, my Swedish ancestors shared blood with Norwegians and Danish people, as the map shows all of Scandinavia, not just Sweden. My grandfather's grandfather, Otto Samuelsson Bostrom, immigrated from Backebo, Sweden to Virginia. Backebo is on the eastern coastline of the country, just under Stockholm and just a short distance across the Baltic Sea from Finland. My Scandinavian DNA map intersects with the west coast of Finland, which tells me some of my Swedish ancestors made their way to the Finnish city of Vaasa as well.
If I were to refer to myself as one particular ethnicity, it would be Germanic. Germans, Scandinavians, the Dutch (Netherlands), and the English are share cultural and linguistic similarities. Prior to the 1700s, which the DNA map does not account for, Germany, the Netherlands, and England were made up of barbarian tribes; respectively, the Goths (Visigoths and Ostrogoths) and the Anglo-Saxons. Scandinavia had its own tribes in the Norse. Latin gave birth to Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Romanian. Old English, which was spoken by the Anglo-Saxons who occupied Britain, was a West Germanic language. It more resembled what the Goths of Germany spoke, which was actually closer to modern German than what the English now speak. The Goths and the Anglo-Saxons shared linguistic similarities, which makes those tribes Germanic. Below is a map that shows all of the areas inhabited by Germanic peoples, including Scandinavia. It's nearly a mirror image of my DNA map.