Researchers’ Blog Saskatchewan networks

Great to touch base with Henry & team on Tuesday. As promised, I am posting some of my sketches for potential directions for the network visualization. I chose two different family names and looked at their network connections in Saskatchewan.

For the entire network of all immigrants in Saskatchewan, there are 250 distinct families (distinguished by the surname-village combination) and 36 distinct surnames. One of the questions we had coming in was whether family name was any indicator of relationship between two people, even if they are not from the same village in China. Henry's response was maybe: these villages could be proximal, although it is unlikely that Lis from two different villages would know each other. The other interesting possibility is that certain surnames may be receiving direction from North American-established family associations, so even if the different Lis did not know each other in China, they may be organized through these family associations such that they are being directed to the same Canadian destinations and they start to associate with each other as a greater Li identity.

The comparison of the Guan and Ma surnames shows very interesting contrasts in the diffusion of the two groups, and potentially corroborate Henry's idea of family associations. These sketches are more interested in connections between rather than within places and I don't capture volume at all, just the connection.

Guans come from 35 different villages - I did the best I could with cleaning and grouping the village names, but there may be a few more that can be collapsed. Guans are distributed between 19 different destinations in Saskatchewan. The number in the center of the circle shows the number of different Guan families in that location. Of the 35 different Guan families, 8 have a connection to other cities (ie are that completely concentrated in one location). Even within the Guan clan, we can see very different patterns of settlement: those from Jung Chun are widely dispersed whereas those from Dai Lung are less so. What fascinates me about this network is that a Guan living in Hazenmore, SK, has kinship ties to Guans in three other locations in SK. Hazenmore's current town population is 57 people and I imagine that in the early 20th century, these towns were rather provincial. It is very significant that the Chinese, as an immigrant group, is creating these connections between places in Saskatchewan that most likely have few to no other sources of consciousness about the other.

Mas come from 38 different villages and 7 Ma groups have network connections to other cities. In stark contrast to the Guans, Mas end up in much fewer locations--only 5. Their settlement also follows a much stronger pattern. If they are dispersed, then it's generally between the "major" cities of Saskatoon, Moose Jaw, and Regina. Again, the numbers within the circle represent how many Ma family groups are in that city.

Is the Ma pattern of settlement a stronger case for the existence of family associations organizing immigrants? Even though the Guan and Ma in Saskatchewan come from roughly the same number of distinct villages in China, the Ma end up in about 1/4 of the destinations that the Guan do. Are they being directed by an organized group? Of course, the places where the Ma settle also happen to be the largest cities in Saskatchewan, so urbanization and employment opportunities could be a confounding element.

With Elijah Meeks' help, I've also started playing around with possibilities in visualizing the network in Gephi. Cool start! Destinations are in yellow, family-village combinations that are only going to a single destination are the blue nodes and family-village combinations that are going to multiple destinations are the red nodes. It is geographically organized for now. Pretty cool!

Gephi SK

SK Guan mockup

Mas in Saskatchewan mockup