What Is Heritage?

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So, what is heritage? Well, in a nutshell heritage is that which has been handed down to us from the past through our forebears, that family legacy which we have ‘inherited’ from our ancestors. This family heritage which we inherit will include traditions, values, culture, language, history, lineage, bloodline, stories and personal traits, both physical and characteristic. However it can also refer to more tangible assets as well, such as wealth, businesses, property and land, particularly that which has been in the family’s possession for multiple generations.

People throughout antiquity have demonstrated a strong affiliation with their ancestry, a desire to learn and preserve the knowledge of their origins and their family lineage. The Hebrew scriptures are a prime example where we find the genealogies of the Israelites featuring a pivotal role all through the text. The attention to detail of these genealogies is quite remarkable to say the least.

The genealogy of each and every family is unique, it is a personal history that has been handed down through the generations, whether via oral tradition or written texts. This connection to our ancestors reveals to us our cultural identity, where we came from and how we fit in today’s ever changing world. The ability to be able to trace one’s lineage is both enlightening and profoundly rewarding, and as one journeys through their family genealogy they cannot help but become more aware of who they are as an individual, and what their calling in life is. Exploring one’s heritage can open up new doors of opportunity to travel and visit the homeland(s) of their ancestry. It can also offer the unique opportunity to learn, and in some cases revive, the language of their ancestors.

Our family heritage is our unique and unbreakable bond to our roots, it identifies who we are and where our origins lie. Knowing one’s heritage can put a new perspective on things, a new outlook on life and help steer us towards goals that are true to who we are as individuals. We owe it to our ancestors, ourselves and our children to learn where we came from.

You will soon realize that your family history is far from being dry and stale. Spend some time talking to the older members of your family; your parents, grandparents and maybe even your great grandparents. You will be surprised at the amount of intriguing stories from yesteryear that they will only be too happy to pass on to their younger progeny. Amongst the tales and the photograph albums may very well be recollections of good times and hard times, life during peace and war, political and economic turmoil, and also of voyages to new lands to seek better lives for themselves and their descendants.

Exploring one’s heritage and family tree is a humbling and rewarding experience that can truly awaken the ‘real me’ in each one of us. Your heritage is a gift from the past, from your ancestors. Discover it, claim it, make it yours. It belongs to you… it IS you. The journey through your family genealogy, your family ancestry, is a journey you will never forget.

Author: Craig Thomson

Original Source: www.whatisheritage.com (link no longer valid 03:38, 19 April 2014 (UTC)) Author himself added this page to the FamilySearch Wiki

See also[edit | edit source]

What to do with the genealogy and family history I collected