Recently I was thinking about the immense variety I'm lucky to have in my family tree and realized that each of my eight great-grandparents came from very different backgrounds. While I'm interested in all parts of my family tree, just for fun I wanted to figure out what each one added to my tree that none of the other "greats" did.
Joseph James Allen: My Ontarians, United Empire Loyalists and known Ulster Scots and actual Scots come from this line, I've also got the founder of a town (Beamsville, Ontario) and my Pennsylvania roots through this line. On the collateral side of things, I've got a "roundhead" (PA 100, Co. K of the Union Army) to research and places like British Columbia and many of the other Western Canadian provinces. This line also gives me (or more appropriately, my father) the Y-DNA that he has.
Daisy May/Mae Croad: My most recent British ancestors (from Dorset and Somerset by way of Wales; arrived in the US in 1892) and the source of some of the most unique, and my favorite, surnames in my tree (Croad, Tizzard, Shoe, Shepstone). This line also gives me some "redcoats," Boer and Crimean Wars veterans. On the collateral side of things, this line has British WWI and WWII veterans and a breed of chicken named after one of them and places to research like Australia and in the US, Utah.
Giuseppe Lapiccirella: My only WWI veteran that served on the Italian side, his brother enlisted for the Americans. Although he was from Foggia, his mother and/or her family might have originated in Molise (her last name is twice as common there as it is in Foggia).
Maria Nicoletta SOMETHING: My mystery lady. She was from Italy though I don't know which village (but I assume it was near where her husband was from) and I don't know who her parents were... and I'm not really sure what her maiden name was (Riccia was given at Ellis Island but she told her children it was something close to Ducci/Daccia/Dacci). Although both she and her husband are from Italy, Nicoletta is unique in that she is the source of my father's mtDNA which is a mystery in itself: it is one of the rarest in the world and only shows up in any moderately high levels in Yemen.
Elmer John Shinn: My naughty New Jersey Quakers (they weren't very good Quakers), my Lincolnshire roots, my Maine and New Brunswick connection, my (possible) one and only Connecticut link and the only actually Irish line that I have (that I know of). My first ancestors in California and my only ties to Vermont, Rhode Island and Nevada come through this line as well. Collaterally, I get to research Yorkshire and the US states Wisconsin and North Dakota thanks to this great-grandparent.
Gladys Viola Healey: My Mayflower ancestors, Nova Scotia ties (New England Planters), Danish roots and the little bit of Dutch (New Netherlands) and French ancestry I have come from this line. This line also gives me Hawaii and Mexico to research and collaterally people like Harold von Schmidt and the Benet brothers (who were 2nd and 3rd cousins respectively to my great-grandmother) among others (for some reason most of the famous relatives are through this line).
Gideon Gottlieb Berger: My Swiss roots come from this line, as does my lone Civil War veteran direct ancestor (he served in the Union for Indiana).
Georgiana Wellons: My one and only ancestor with Southern roots (Kentucky, Virginia and possibly Tennessee and North Carolina), I also get my Colorado, Oregon, Iowa and Kansas roots from this line. This is also the line that my possible Native American lines come through and my only known Welsh line. Collaterally, I get Confederate soldiers to research and states like Texas, Washington and Missouri from this great-grandparent.