I've had the urge to start blogging my ideas, both as a way to better explain myself and to interact more with the community than I have. Since I already tend to write in a blog format on my sandboxes, it seems only fitting. I've also been working on several secret projects for Russian America that I hope to write out in the coming months. But for my first blog, I wish to address a topic brought up a while back by Scraw and explain it in greater detail.
I may very well write a separate blog explaining my reasoning and methodology related to the People (Russian America) article, but I feel giving a simple explanation is needed for this particular blog.
First, I find the idea of creating fictional people for a timeline as being (quite frankly) not alternate history. This is not to say that it's bad or wrong, rather I personally find it off putting and blurring the lines between alternate history and fantasy. Secondly, I have a love for genealogy and the study of family trees. Thanks in part to prodding by LG many years ago, I was pushed down the rabbit hole of combining genealogy and alternate history. This proved very effective and fun for 13 Fallen Stars and a challenge for Russian America (at least early on). But after years of trial and error, I believe I've found a fitting system for determining the alternate realities of people (at least for RA).
Trump as an Alaskan
I had a conversation with Scraw many months back and critiqued methodology for alternate Alaskans. But the one person he brought up for his example was my inclusion of Donald Trump as being Alaskan.
Looking at it from face value, I completely understand the confusion and bewilderment of this. As someone who vehemently hates this man, I would've been very happy leaving him out of my timeline. Yet, I wish to remain neutral when it comes to my timelines. So when he won the nomination back in 2016, I decided to look up his ancestry. But as I will soon explain, life tends to have a knack for screwing with me.
Our story begins in 1885, when a German immigrant named Frederick Trump arrived in New York City. He would remain in NY for six years before relocating to Washington State. Shortly after, he got involved in a short-lived gold rush in the state and would later travel north to get involved in the Klondike Gold Rush. Frederick's goal wasn't to actually go mining himself, but to start a business that catered to miners.
In 1901, Frederick returned to Germany with his new fortunes. It is during his return he marries an old acquaintance (Elizabeth Christ). Frederick is eventually forced out of Germany, at which point he (and his descendants) would permanently settle in New York.
Thinking Fourth Dimensionally
Based on my intention to focus on real people, how would the life and times of Frederick Trump be altered within this timeline?
First, I feel confident that Frederick would first immigrate to the United States (via New York City). The big change would come from the discovery of gold in the Russian territories (i.e., Alaska). I foresee two options. Either he chooses to remain settled in the United States, which already had a strong German presence. Or, he'd choose to leave the USA in favor of getting involved in these gold rushes (despite being in Russian territory).
While the first option seemed very likely at first glance, it really began to dawn on me. If Frederick were to be anything like his grandson (i.e., living up to the "Trump" name), it actually began to make more sense for him to ditch the United States and literally go where the dollar signs were. This also makes sense given that Frederick wasn't (originally) interested in remaining in North America forever and wished to return to Germany with his eventual gains.
This then brings us to when he's eventually kicked out of Germany. In our timeline, Frederick and his wife resettles in New York. However, this becomes problematic within the context of Russian America. Despite his first six-years being spent in the United States, Frederick would've spend the next ten-years in Alaska. During this time, he would've very likely learned the Russian language, establish local connections, and develop an affinity for the nation he'd call home for a decade. It would make more economical sense for him to permanently resettle in the area that he had more business with, as opposed to a nation which he'd spent very little time in (by comparison). The rest is history.
Is this a perfect system for determining the alternate history of an individual? Probably not. But I feel there exist enough reasonable doubt that an Alaskan Trump makes more sense than an American one (take that as you will).
The same lever of scrutiny exists with all the people I've listed on the People (Russian America) article. Just be aware the next time I include a random person into this timeline, please be aware that I try to do my homework. Even the most outlandish individuals, whom make no sense at first glance, just be aware that I'm just as amazed as you are.