When I was younger, I always thought that my ethnic origins were English, French and Polish. As a young child, I remember asking my maternal grandmother (Ouida Dykeman) what her background of origin was and I thought she replied English. What I think she was referring to was the place she grew up was under the domain of Great Britain. About a year after I started genealogy, I discovered a Canadian census record (shown below) which showed GERMAN to be the background of her father's family. Ouida's father is highlighted as a child of four years.
1881 Canadian Census
Source Citation: Year: 1881;Census Place: Cambridge, Queens, New Brunswick. Roll: C_13181, Page 8, Family No: 35
Maybe she did not know that her father had German origins. Or, maybe she did know about the German connection but did not want to share that information with her sons. Her sons became adults at the close of World War II.