Has anyone ever said that you speak exactly like your grandfather?
We often talk about resemblances and physical similarities between ourselves and our ancestors - perhaps it's the same smile as a cousin, or the identical eyes of a grandparent.
However, our physical appearance may not be the only connection passed through generations. Not only can we look like our ancestors, but we can act like them as well.
In the past, it was often common for several generations of a family to live together in one house.
For some it was a financial decision, while for others it was to enjoy the pleasure of having a large family together under one roof.
Today there are strong indications that multigenerational living is on the rise. According to a 2009 Pew Research Center study, 51.4 million Americans lived in a house with at least one other generation under the same roof.
A decline in employment and postponement in marriage has forced more adults to move back into their parent’s homes post-college. Known as “boomerangs,” 61 per cent of Americans aged 25 to 34 know of friends or family who have moved back with parents or relatives.
In the old days, when doctors were few and far between in rural areas, women with knowledge of medicinal herbs, of healing the sick and of midwifery were important community members.
In the American Southwest, among the old Hispanic families, there are many documented curanderas (healers). The older generations still tend gardens of special medicinal herbs and are the keepers, preservers and transmitters of generations of remedies.
In some countries, foods are classified as hot or cold in nature. People with certain ailments are told to eat one and not the other or vice versa. It is something a person is brought up with and never disregarded. Those who have not been raised with this system generally find "the rules" somewhat strange.
So do these remedies really work, or do we just believe that they work because that’s what we’ve been told since we were little children? In any case, this is part of our family history, of our heritage, and the details should be preserved.
New York filmmaker Francesco Paciocco did, and the result is a short documentary – Birthplace - about his ancestral home. Importantly, it addresses the importance of where our families come from and what it means to us.
No matter what background we come from, who our parents are or where we currently live, we only have one birthplace.
No matter where we live, our race, color or creed, we all have roots somewhere. History progresses, societies evolve, and people shift location. Origins, however, remain the same.
Past generations of our families crossed mountains and oceans to find better lives. But Paciocco asks how they felt about their choices, and what impact it left on future generations who today have only stories and old photographs to look through.
We often talk in terms of generations. The next generation, my parents’ generation, “talkin’ bout my generation”, and so on. But are there really significant and identifiable differences between us and those born at different times? Does the fact that someone was born just a couple of decades apart from you make them a different sort of person?
We know that different generations were raised under different circumstances. They grew up using different types of technology, watching different television shows, and against the backdrop of different political and social events in the world.