While many people consider heritage and culture to be foremost in person's life, I never have. I think it can be important, but if you live in a unique culture of your own, I think that that influence is naturally greater than one(s) of pervious generations. But it can be a good and healthy thing to know something about your family's past, it may reveal some interesting things about you. That is what happened to me.
Much of my heritage is Native American, from tribes mostly in Texas. The names in my family (on both sides) are Spanish. This came from the 'missionaries' from Spain who sought to 'Christianize' the natives. Part of the Spanish 'programs' at their missions would be to rename the natives, therefore eliminating part of their culture and distinction. They were renamed Spanish names.
Case in point: a grandfather on my mother's side, many generations back was a Tankawa Indian, part of the Karankawa Tribe. Our family has uncovered records from a Spanish mission in San Antonio that indicate his residence there. His 'Christian' name is Eusabio R. Garcia. Along with new names, the Spanish gave the Native Americans jobs and occuptions to hold within the mission. Most would require training, etc. for their respective jobs. Unless the person had a special talent or gift in a certain area, especially the men, they were given laborous tasks.
My great-great-grandfather's name and occupation is listed in those mission records. But unlike many of his commrades who harvested fields, the mission records list his occupation as simply: musician.
to be continued...