Merriam-Webster Dictionary’s simple definition of heritage states that it is, “the traditions, achievements, beliefs, etc., that are part of the history of a group or nation (Heritage).” It is very easy, therefore, to confuse the definition of heritage with that of culture. The difference between the two is that a person’s heritage is more specifically associated with physical products and symbols that are passed down from previous generations. For example, time-honored secret family recipe, or great grandmother’s wedding ring. Heritage can also be used to describe something inherited at birth, such as personal characteristics, status, and possessions (heritage).
The image to the left is one of me, my mother, and my grandmother (her mother). My mother and I inherited specific physical characteristics from my grandmother, especially the shape and color of our eyes, the texture of our hair, and our facial bone structure.
Social scientists use anthropology and history to study inherited traits within families. As a dog breeder, when I chose to breed my dogs, I am looking not only at the physical traits of the dog and bitch themselves, but also analyzing what traits were consistently passed down from two or three generations in the past. This includes physical aspects such as structure and eye shape, but also biological traits such as hip dysplaysia and cataracts. Being aware of my dog’s heritage allows me to reduce the possibility of doubling up on negative traits and also to enhance the desired ones.
“Heritage.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 5 May 2016.
heritage. (n.d.). Dictionary.com Unabridged. Web. 5 May 2016