My Family, My Heritage

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If you were to print a map of the world, my heritage would be clustered on one continent. That continent is called Europe. Both sides of my family are a well mixed batch of european descendants. They, as many did during that time, left their birth country to move to unknown lands in hopes of having a more prosperous future. The heritage of my mother’s side is quite clear, as they were notorious for keeping records of their lives. Unfortunately, my dad’s heritage is quite murky. Due to severed family ties, many questions of our families heritage are left unanswered. With the little information we do know, I am left wondering about the family that exists, but is unknown. Despite that, I am proud to be related to all those who have come before my birth, and all those who will after my death.

On the eleventh of February 1888, the first of the Morgan family had made landfall on American soil. They had just finished a two week long voyage across the Atlantic, aboard a ship named the “Buffalo”. During the voyage, they experienced the roughest weather they had ever seen. Nothing however, would deter them from continuing forth with their next adventure. My great great great grandparents on my mother’s side had one goal in mind, and that was to become orange farmers. Once on land and through immigation, they traveled across the new country.

They made a home in the state of sunny California, with their small herd of wild children. There, they prospered and expanded their efforts into doing more fulfilling work. This in return, has led to six generations of Californians. In fact, there are actually seven generations with the recent additions of my cousins’ children. I am sure that my snobby great great great grandmother would have been proud to see the expanse of the family, along with the preservation of the history she created.

My father’s family as I have mentioned before, is a bit murky in regards to knowing the story of our heritage. My grandmother left her home at a young age–to escape the abuse of her alcoholic father–and all forms of communication were lost to my grandfather’s family. This was due to his premature and sudden passing. I believe that in both cases, the pain was too great, in regards to trying to maintain a relationship with their distant relatives. Hence forth, information about our heritage was lost. From what I do know, I can attest that there are some German and English roots that run in our bloodline. Along with that, it is estimated that my father is a fifth generation New Zealander.

From some family stories my grandmother learned from my grandfather, it is said that the first Osbornes to step foot in New Zealand came over in the early 1800s. They were farmers, seeking wealth in a new prosperous land. It has only been up until recently, that our family has ended their long career in agriculture. Both my father and his brother left the farm at a young age, in pursuit of higher education. By doing so, my father and uncle unknowingly created our families first cultural gap. This gap caused a separation of our families traditions and values, ultimately leading to some broken relationships. However, it is my hope that I will be able to mend some of the damage that has been done. Perhaps I will bring the family business back, as I am planning to major in Viticulture. Hopefully, by bringing agriculture back into the family, I can bridge the cultural gap that my father and uncle had created. In doing so, maybe I can come to terms with not knowing all aspects of my heritage, as I can remain connected to my ancestors by pursuing a career that was the cause of their immigration.

The only other instance of a cultural gap in the history of my family, has been the union between my mother and father. The reason the clash arose, was that my parents’ marriage would be considered an intercultural marriage. Being a New Zealander and having an intercultural marriage, were two things that did not mix well. It was believed that by marrying outside of one’s own country, the bloodline of New Zealanders would become impure. Though this stigma arose in the 19th century, many still believe that it is a valid case to be racist towards other ethnicities.

In the book titled Building Better Britains?: Settler Societies in the British World, 1783-1920, the author explains the evolution of opinions towards interacial marriage. She states that “ by the late nineteenth century, interracial marriage was seen as far less desirable, and such relationships became, for many, the source of stigma and shame”(Morgan 108). It was in fact, that very shame, that my grandmother did not want to be attributed to the family name. Fortunately, through many conversations, an understanding was made and the union between my mother and father happened. It still amazes me to this day that the union between my parents almost fell through due to the country’s name that is listed on their passports.

Though there have been bumps in my family’s history, no culture clash has been able to tear us apart. In fact, I believe that my family has done a tremendous job at blending their cultures together, along with being open to incorporating new ones. From growing up in Hawaii and embracing the American and New Zealand culture, I feel that our family has created a sub-culture of its own. We have become accustomed to the politeness and Aloha show from the locals in Hawaii, along with learning the joy of watching rugby while eating pavlova. We celebrate holidays from each place- Fourth of July for America, May day for Hawaii, and Anzac day for New Zealand- and are more than happy to incorporate and learn about more. That is why I am such a strong believer that one’s culture is constantly evolving. It gains new meaning from your heritage, traditions, and influences from the surrounding world.


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My Family, My Heritage. (2021, Jul 21). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/my-family-my-heritage/

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