The Importance of Heritage

[name_m]Hi[/name_m] Berries! :star2:

I thought this could be an interesting thing to chat about… [name_m]How[/name_m] important to you is teaching your children about their heritage??

I find the importance of heritage interesting in Australia, because we have such a multi-cultural culture and society. People come from so many places, or their families do, but often they just identify as “Australian”.

I am half [name_m]Dutch[/name_m] - my mum’s parents came to Australia as young adults (18-ish, I think) - and hubby is part Greek. Our heritage is super important to us - we still eat traditional foods and things like that. I have a Greek inscription on my wedding ring, for example. I want our children to know about the cultures they came from, and to have that connection.

I was never taught about my heritage growing up. We were just “Caucasian / Australian” and it always made me sad. I am barely generations removed from these other countries and cultures, but was taught nothing about them. It was / is so frustrating to me, and seems like a lost opportunity.

I’m also interested in how the country you live in affects your sense of the importance of heritage?

I look forward to discussing! :blush:

PS. Wasn’t sure quiet what category to put this in… as its not about names, but is about children. I can move it, if you have a better suggestion for a location! :blush:

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Interesting topic! Sadly, my heritage isn’t very exciting.

I’m [name_f]English[/name_f]. [name_f]My[/name_f] mother is [name_f]English[/name_f], her parents are [name_f]English[/name_f], and their parents are [name_f]English[/name_f]. I was lead to believe that if you go back far enough, we’re Irish, but it’s pretty far removed. (Doesn’t stop my grandma from calling us Irish though!)

I wish it was more interesting than that, and if it was I’d definitely be sharing it with my future children! But alas, my ancestors didn’t really get around much. [name_f]My[/name_f] family have lived in the [name_u]North[/name_u] of [name_f]England[/name_f] for generations.

Whilst I don’t plan on moving to another country either, if I permanently relocate to the [name_u]South[/name_u] (as I plan to), so help me God my children will know they are Northern! :joy: [name_f]My[/name_f] SO is Northern too, and I’m hoping that the combination of the two of us will stop them from pronouncing “bath” as “barth”, and they’ll be born with an inate love for chips & gravy. (I can dream!)

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Side note: I’ve been thinking of doing one of those 23&me genetic tests, to see if I can locate that little bit of Irish blood (or just anything besides [name_f]English[/name_f]!). Has anybody done one of those? Was it worth it? (Trying not to derail the thread too much, sorry.)

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I definitely plan on keeping my children immersed in my [name_f]Indian[/name_f] culture. [name_f]My[/name_f] parents did the same for me, and I find that it made me more tolerant of other cultures. Many children in my area who are not Caucasian are very rarely proud of their heritage, and it is a bit sad to see that. I don’t think anyone should ever feel ashamed of where they originated from.

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I’m going to respond to the main thread here when I get a chance (tomorrow), but if you’re [name_f]English[/name_f] you can’t beat Living DNA’s test/database. They split British ancestry up into more than 20 sub-regions of the British Isles (as opposed to 23 and Me or Ancestry com, which will say “You are British. Or you are Irish.” And those are the only two options.

I was a genealogist (professional consultant) before having kids so I’ve dealt with lots of DNA databases. And as someone with my own heavily British ancestry, I was amazed to piece together new bits through the Living DNA test and the way they break up [name_m]Britain[/name_m] is awesome. They give you little blurbs of history in a really digestible way and explain why/how the DNA of that area became distinct. They will supposedly be expanding their “Irish” designation into sub-regions soon, too. I can’t wait for that as I’m exactly 1/8 Irish… that’s my maternal maternal maternal maternal line, and I feel really connected to that side. Anyway… they have the most comprehensive “British” database and have put all their eggs in one basket and really concentrated their efforts there.

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If I’m not living in [name_m]Wales[/name_m], then yes I will. I think I’m actually either 1/8 or 1/16 Maltese, but I don’t know anything about that so I can’t really teach anyone about it. If I am living in [name_m]Wales[/name_m], there won’t be anything to teach because it’s all taught in schools. The rest of my family are [name_f]English[/name_f], so there’s not much there either (and I don’t identify as [name_f]English[/name_f], lol)

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Interesting topic! I’m in a similar situation to @floatinthesky as I don’t have a very interesting background. I’ve done some DNA tests and found out through ancestry that I’m [name_u]French[/name_u], [name_m]Dutch[/name_m], Belgian and Scandinavian (not exactly sure where) but it’s so far removed that I don’t really feel any connection to it. It’s more like a fun fact to bring up at a party than something to instill in my children (if I have any).

I’d definitely tell my children about where our ancestors came from, but I have very little knowledge of any of those places. As far as I’m concerned, I’m [name_f]English[/name_f] and it’s the only culture I’ve ever known. It’d be pretty cool to have a strong connection to different places and cultures that I could pass on though.

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Our boys are Australian, but it’s important to Hubby and I that they know their heritage. I’d love for them to appreciate all of the places that flow through their veins. [name_m]Even[/name_m] the names we chose are very much a reflection of where we come from.

I was born and raised in [name_u]New[/name_u] Zealand, to a [name_m]Dutch[/name_m]-born father and a Scottish-born mother. Their stories growing up were very much an influence in our home. OH is [name_f]English[/name_f], born to an Irish father and a [name_u]French[/name_u] mother, and spent significant time with grandparents in both countries. We also want to ensure that they appreciate the traditional history of Australia too, and our place within it. It’s a lot, so we’ll see how we go over the next few years :sweat_smile:

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I’m 1/2 [name_f]English[/name_f], 1/4 Scottish and 1/4 [name_u]French[/name_u], but I‘m not very interested in heritages :grin: Though I’d love to learn more about my heritage and culture if I was Australian or American.

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We did 23&me last year. I love it. It was really interesting to see the paths of our ancestors, and try to make connections with what we already knew about our families. [name_f]My[/name_f] husband and I are from different parts of the state, but our families have always been somewhat near each other for about 4 generations. So it was also a great relief to see we shared 0% of our DNA :grimacing:

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I find this very interesting! I grew up in the US, but I live in Australia now. There is definitely a divide – in the US everyone I know is like “I’m 1/27th Native American, I’m Irish, I’m Italian, etc.” In Australia everyone is simply Australian. It’s actually kind of nice and feels cohesive and inclusive – but at the same time, I do miss the mix and learning about different cultures.

I’ll start with my husband. His whole family is [name_m]Dutch[/name_m]. His grandparents and four aunties and uncles all came over on a boat; his dad was the first sibling born here. And yet none of them (the siblings – grandparents have since passed) speak [name_m]Dutch[/name_m] anymore, save for a few swear words. I’m sad that this has been lost, as I think this would be so cool to pass on to our children. I would love to share [name_m]Dutch[/name_m] culture and history with my children when they’re older, even if it seems a bit silly since the people who actually came over on the boat consider themselves “Australian” rather than “[name_m]Dutch[/name_m].”

As for my side, I was told growing up that I was “Irish, [name_f]English[/name_f], Scottish, and [name_m]German[/name_m].” I have done quite a bit of family history research and the only line I have been able to trace back a fair way is the [name_m]German[/name_m] one. They came over to the US in the early-mid 1800s. The [name_f]English[/name_f] line is undeniably there as my last name is very [name_f]English[/name_f], but I can only trace it to my great-great-grandfather, who was supposedly born in [name_f]England[/name_f], but I can’t find immigration records. Scottish is similarly tricky. I have just had a breakthrough on the “Irish” line which is the one I most liked to celebrate, and turns out the family story that my great-great-grandparents on that side were Irish is complete rubbish. They were born in Minnesota. So who knows. I do have a theory based on one of the last names I found that maybe they were also [name_m]German[/name_m], but changed the story during WWII when there may have been anti-[name_m]German[/name_m] sentiment?

Basically, I’m American. Which I could pass down to my kids but I don’t-- we don’t do any [name_u]July[/name_u] 4th or Thanksgiving celebrations in our house because I’m just not that into it. [name_f]My[/name_f] daughter gets cranky at me when I don’t use “the [name_f]Queen[/name_f]’s [name_f]English[/name_f]” so there’s that. Haha!

Anyway, I guess my answer is I would like it to be important but right now it just isn’t priority. Oh! [name_f]My[/name_f] daughter’s name is [name_f]Rosalie[/name_f] though, and we found out after the fact that this name is more popular in the Netherlands and she has a great-auntie with the same name. But it was all an accident, not intentional.

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We live in the US and we teach our kids that first and foremost, we’re proud Americans. :us:

That being said, my husband’s family is very in to their [name_m]German[/name_m] heritage, and we have a super [name_m]German[/name_m] last name. Our kids (and my husband) have unmistakably [name_m]German[/name_m] first names, too. We attend our local [name_m]German[/name_m] American Club events (biergartens mostly haha), have traditional [name_m]German[/name_m] clothes, and I make a couple [name_m]German[/name_m] meals. It’s mostly for fun but it’s nice to feel connected to our heritage :slight_smile:

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I’m American, my ancestors have been here since the 1800s and some of them came across on the mayflower. My heritage is mostly English, French and German.

My husband is from Mexico, he’s half Mexican and half Salvadoran. He moved to the US when he was 10 and his family stopped doing traditions when they got here. I really wanted our kids to feel connected to their heritage so we started doing some of the holidays that they stopped doing such as 3 kings day, kids day and day of the dead. We are also teaching them Spanish.

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This is awesome! Thanks for sharing everyone! :grin::grin:


@northernlights Your family sounds like mine. [name_f]My[/name_f] [name_m]Dutch[/name_m] grandparents only spoke a [name_m]Dutch[/name_m] at home until my Auntie (their oldest) had trouble at school and the switched entirely to [name_f]English[/name_f]! I still think, why not both? :woman_shrugging: [name_f]My[/name_f] mum knows no [name_m]Dutch[/name_m], except for the names of dishes and the odd phrase (we still use “eet smakelijk!”) Her younger brother speaks some, but he taught himself like you would with any other second language (as opposed to leaning from family). [name_f]My[/name_f] grandfather cannot speak or understand [name_m]Dutch[/name_m] anymore, and my grandma has to translate letters he gets from his siblings that still live overseas. I understand they went through a lot of trauma during the war, and that they wanted to escape that… but it still makes me sad that they didn’t pass on much to their children.

Australia is a great place, but I also find it a bit nondescript. Since people come from all over, “being Australian” doesn’t really feel like an identity to me. Unless you’re Aboriginal, our foods, clothes, and traditions all come from other cultures. I love living here, but I also don’t feel particularly connected to it. It’s just the place I live. :woman_shrugging: I think “being Australian” is about our communal spirit more than the fact that we live in this particular country. The common use of “that’s so (un)Australian” says to me that our worldview is what people notice about us, not the land we stand on.

It’s interesting that you pointed out the more specific ethnic segregation in the US - I wonder why it’s different to here? Because they have a high immigration population like we do, you’d think the approach to multiculturalism would be similar.


@penelope_lynson Any heritage can be interesting heritage! :blush: Why do you feel as though being American or Australian would make you more interested in your heritage?? [name_f]Do[/name_f] you feel as though UK roots are boring? (no offence, I’m genuinely curious)

@floatinthesky I guess I could as you the same - you mentioned that your British heritage “isn’t very interesting”. Why do you feel that way?


@Hollyrow What a fabulous mix of heritage and cultures you have! If I may ask, are you Maori or Pakeha?? Your children will have such an adventure learning about their family background!


@nvrsobr That’s so special that you want to keep your [name_f]Indian[/name_f] culture alive in your family. [name_f]My[/name_f] bestie is married to a Sri Lankan (yes, I know it’s different to [name_f]Indian[/name_f] - don’t hit me haha!), and I love how they’ve incorporated both cultures in their marriage. It makes me sad to hear that non-Caucasian children in your area don’t feel like they can be proud of their heritage. [name_m]How[/name_m] awful. :disappointed: I really do hope and pray that everyone will be able to be proud and happy of where they come from one day. :heart:

No! I just “clearly” know how’s my culture. I was born in my home country, and my parents lived most of their life in UK, so we’re very connected to our heritage. Sadly, most people (not all) in [name_u]America[/name_u]/Australia etc. are separated from their culture, that’s why I said I’d be more interested in my heritage.
I love my mostly-UK based heritage, btw :blush:

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I meant this, actually. We lived in our homeland, and raised with our culture, so we feel “connected” to UK.
(We’re not currently living there, but it seems like we’ll return)

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@penelope_lynson That makes sense! I guess it does appear less interesting when you know it inside and out. :blush: Oh, I wasn’t doubting your love for your heritage, sorry.

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@_thelittlefairywren I agree with @penelope_lynson, its more that its just so familiar. I grew up in the same place as my parents and grandparents so there isn’t really much heritage to learn about and embrace. Where you might share Greek dishes as a way of connecting with your husbands heritage, I eat [name_f]English[/name_f] food every day just because it’s where I am.

The things I do love to talk to my mum about is all the different jobs my grandma has had, how my great-grandma used to take my mum to the wash house & then when the new currency came out it was my mum who had to teach her grandma how they worked, how the whole street used to share a toilet, and how my great uncle who was only 4 foot 11 built my grandparents’ kitchen extension and made all the doors too small :joy:. I guess that’s heritage, too?

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@floatinthesky I get what you mean. I guess that’s what it will be like in a few more generations of our family. Our living relatives are the ones that immigrated here, so I think that’s why it feels different.
Those are definitely some great stories! Hearing how different generations lived, worked, and did things is do fascinating! :blush: Still blows my mind that it cost my grandfather 3 cents to by lunch when he was young :frowning:

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I tend to agree with @penelope_lynson and @floatinthesky. When you’re British, Irish or (I assume) another type of European, your culture/heritage is something you’re immersed in since birth and it isn’t something you have to be consciously taught about. I can see why it would be different for Australians and Americans though, because of the geographical separation from your ancestors’ homeland.

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