Family heritage means the background that you come from. For example, you may be of a German, Chinese, or Kenyan heritage. It is likely that your heritage does not consist of just one culture because ancestry is often mixed. To celebrate your family heritage, learn about your heritage, get involved, and make items that have something to do with your heritage.
EditLearning About Your Family Heritage
- Review your family tree. If your family already has a family tree, take time to review it. Ask your family about the people that you don’t know on the tree. If you don’t have a family tree, ask your family if they would like to work on one with you. Or, work on a family tree in your own time by gathering information and photos. If you aren’t positive about your ancestry, there are ways that you can trace it. You can join a genealogy project, trace your history on websites like ancestry.com, or even get a DNA test to learn your exact ancestry.
- To make a family tree, you can draw a tree and extend a branch for each family member. Put their name and photo (if you have it) on that branch.
- Research the culture represented in your family tree. Once you have learned what cultures are represented in your family tree, learn more about them. You may begin your research with a fair amount of prior knowledge, or you might know very little about what culture(s) you come from. A good place to start your research would be the internet. Look up information about the history, religion, dress, etiquette, and holidays. You can also go to the library to check out books and documentaries about whatever culture you’re looking for.
- Keep a notebook with you so that you can take notes.
- Talk to relatives. Talk to your family about ancestors that they remember. Ask them to share memories about your family members. If you have family that emigrated to the country you’re living in now, ask for them to share memories and details of their home country.
- Ask family about where they grew up, what kind of foods they made or make, holidays they celebrate, and what traditions they practice(d).
- Look at old photos. Bring out photos that you have of family members. Ask your family to bring out old photos as well. Share them and talk about them. Ask about the people in the photos that you don’t recognize. If the photos aren’t organized, put them in a photo album to be reviewed in the future.
- You can also scan the photos to create a digital album.
- Go to the cemetery. This may seem like a morbid thing to do, but it is actually quite informative. Visit your passed on family members’ gravestones. If you know where your ancestors’ gravestones are located, visit them with family. Take photos of them, transcribe them, and document them for future generations.
- You can also visit the cemeteries with people that are interested in genealogy.
EditLearning Your Family’s Culture and History
- Take a field trip. If your family has history near where you live, ask them to take you to spots where the grew up and hung out. Seek out locations that reflect your cultural heritage if your family does not have personal heritage near where you live. For example, go to museums and restaurants that reflect your culture. If possible, plan a visit to your ancestral hometown—at least one of them.
- It can cost a fair amount of money to visit your ancestral hometown, especially if it is far away. Plan months or even a year in advance to make the trip.
- Share your findings on social media. Social media, if used correctly, is a great tool to share things that matter with you and connect with the world. It is also a good tool for celebrating your family heritage. Reach out to family members on social media that you may not talk to often. Upload photos of your family on social media accounts with your contacts and family members. You can also create photo albums on social media about your family heritage.
- If the family members that you are sharing photos of are alive, make sure you have their permission before posting photos of them.
- Reach out to people that share your culture. If you don’t know people outside of your family that share your heritage, try reaching out to them. You may know of some people at school or work that share your heritage. Or, reach out to people in your community by asking if they’d like to share some of their family history and background. You can also become pen pals or reach out to people through the internet, but be careful if you do.
- Be sure that the person is from the cultural background you think they are before reaching out to them.
- Try to learn the language. You may already speak the language from your cultural background, but if you don’t, a great way to celebrate your family heritage is to learn the language. There are several ways you can learn the language. If you’re in school, there might be opportunities to sign up for language courses. Even if you’re not enrolled in school, you can enroll in languages courses at your local community college. For a cheaper approach, utilize free courses on the internet and download language apps, like Duolingo.
- You can ask for help from friends or family members that already speak the language.
- Join a genealogy society. Genealogy societies consist of people that have an interest in researching and learning about their family background. Locate one in your area and become a member. A genealogy society is a great place to learn more about your family history and share it with others.
- If you don’t know how to locate a genealogy society, type in genealogy society in “your town” into a search engine and look through the results.
EditMaking Items Involving Your Heritage
- Research the cuisine of the culture(s) represented in your family tree. Food is an important part of culture. It is something that can be shared with family and friends, and it can remind you of a place that may be far away. Buy or borrow cookbooks that give recipes and information about your culture’s cuisine. Start by trying to make some of the basic recipes from a cookbook. Once you feel comfortable with the basics, attempt to make some traditional dishes. 
- Your family may already know how to make some traditional dishes. Ask for help and advice if you need it.
- Put together a scrapbook. Take the photo album a step further by creating a scrapbook about your family heritage. Take time to pick out a scrapbook that appeals to you and decorate the pages with things like glitter or ribbons and choose nice fonts for your writing. Then, add in things like photos, birth certificates, marriage certificates, and any other items that you find relevant.
- You can also pay to have a scrapbook made for you on websites like MyPublisher and MixBook.
- Dress in a traditional outfit from your culture. You may already know something about traditional outfits or costumes from your research. A great way to take your research a step further is to make or buy an outfit or costume from your heritage. You can begin by asking your family if they already have a traditional outfit or costume that they would allow you to borrow. If not, research where a traditional outfit can be bought. You can also attempt to make your own outfit if you’re particularly crafty.
- For example, you can dress up in a sari if you’re from an Indian background, and a kilt if you’re from a Scottish background.
- Craft an item or decoration. Look into crafts or decorations from your heritage. Specifically, look for crafts and/or decorations that you could make. For example, if you’re Japanese, look into making origami. You could also make a Chinese Lantern for decoration if you have a Chinese heritage.
- Your decoration could also involve body art. For example, if you come from an Indian background, you could learn about henna. Henna is typically painted on the hands, feet, shins, and insides of arms for special occasions.
- Plan a party. After all of your hard work and research, the ultimate way to celebrate your family heritage is to throw a party. You should begin to plan the part at least a month in advance and send out invitations accordingly. Invite friends and family to share in the music, cuisine, dress, and spirit of your family heritage.
- Talk to friends or other people that share the same cultural heritage. Share stories about your family and heritage with them.
- Watch books and movies about your cultural heritage with your family.