An ancestral home is the place of origin of one's extended family, particularly the home owned and preserved by the same family for several generations. The term can refer to an individual house or estate, or to a broader geographic area such as a town, a region, or an entire country. In the latter cases, the phrase ancestral homeland might be used. In particular, the concept of a diaspora requires the concept of an ancestral home from which the diaspora emanates.
One author has said of the phrase, ancestral home, that it "tends to conjure up images of European barons dining in chilly halls while dark portraits and empty suits of armor peer down silently". However, it is also possible that "[t]he family living in an ancestral home is surrounded by visible, physical symbols of family continuity and solidarity".
Ancestral homes are important in Chinese culture and society. There are sources that specifically describe these as the home of the patriline. Research showed that these home-place identities are crucial in identity negotiations and identity processes in the country.
Aside from speaking the Chinese language and "acting" Chinese (e.g. the worship and veneration of one's ancestors), having an ancestral home in China is part of being Chinese for those who live overseas.
Ancestral homes in the Philippines are kept by generations of the same family. They remain an important part of the Austronesian Philippine culture as they tie large clans and families, which sometimes spread over vast areas and abroad with the wider Philippine diaspora, to a single home and origin. Ancestral houses are linked to the concept of ancestral hometowns, common throughout Asia.
Ancestral homes are a symbol of a family or clan's longevity and continuity, and serve as central meeting places for family reunions, and for specific events, rituals, ceremonies, and functions. The matriarch or patriarch of the family usually lives in this home, who manages it's affairs; allowing for other family members in peril safe sanctuary. The most established of the Principalia and noble clans have well
They can either be of the bahay na bato architectural style (the colonial era architectural style popular between the 17th and 19th centuries: a mix of native-Austronesian, colonial Spanish and Chinese architecture concepts and sensibilities), the native Philippine-Austronesian wooden torogan or traditional bahay kubo and Cordilleran bale/fale styles which stretches back centuries before colonial rule; or a mix of a native base, with modern elements and extensions.
Some Ancestral houses are listed as national shrines such as the Aguinaldo Shrine, the Marcelo H. del Pilar Shrine, and Rizal Shrines of Calamba, Laguna, Intramuros (old Manila) and Dapitan, Zamboanga del Norte. Many ancestral houses that have been well or pristinely preserved for centuries are designated as heritage houses by the Philippine Registry of Cultural Property.
The Hungarians view their ancestral home as the Urals during the early medieval periods of the world. This is due in part to a Julian monk who found a Hungarian in the capital of the Volga Bulgar, and then took him to a Hungarian community living in the Urals. This interaction between the two was significant in Hungarian culture, and led to the establishment of the Urals being their eastern ancestral home. This territory was later known as Magna Hungaria (Great Hungary). This designation has been further used by modern historians and Hungarians living in recent times.
The traditional Thai house has acquired its own unique style after hundreds of years of evolution, made from wood and raised over pillars, it is adapted perfectly to its environment. Different architectural styles are displayed depending on the region of the country, differing mostly in the kind of decoration and finishes that are used locally. Thai houses have in common, no matter in which area of the country are built, the manner in which their platform is raised over poles offering a shield against rough weather, wildlife and dirt.
It has been noted that "[t]he term "ancestral home"—usually applied to manor-house and halls of the county—is far more applicable to [small] cottages", because wealthy families may die out or otherwise relinquish their land while poorer families continue to occupy the same homes for generations.
A UK based study took advantage of different drawings and imaginations of children of their "ancestral home" to get a better idea of where exactly they came from. There are many different African communities living in the United Kingdom that have family knowledge of their ancestral home, and this study allowed for researchers to evaluate what effect the ancestral home has on young humans. For these members of the UK community, it was a part of their identity and view it as their country of heritage.
- Russell King, Anastasia Christou, Peggy Levitt, Links to the Diasporic Homeland: Second Generation and Ancestral 'Return' Mobilities (2015), p. 1.
- Aaron Yankholmes, "The Articulation of Collective Slave Memories and 'Home' among Expatriate Diasporan Africans in Ghana", in Sabine Marschall, Tourism and Memories of Home: Migrants, Displaced People, Exiles and Diasporic Communities (2017), Ch. 11.
- Julia Lichtblau, The Old-House Journal (1984), Vol. 12, p. 167.
- Ernest Watson Burgess, Harvey James Locke, Mary Margaret Thomes, The Family: From Traditional to Companionship (1971), p. 450.
- Lew, Alan A. (2004). Seductions of Place: Geographical Perspectives on Globalization and Touristed Landscapes. Oxon: Routledge. p. 280. ISBN 978-1-134-65187-0.
- Dillon, Michael (2018). Chinese Minorities at home and abroad. Oxon: Routledge. ISBN 978-1-351-84603-5.
- Gunde, Richard (2002). Culture and Customs of China. Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 35. ISBN 978-0-313-30876-5.
- Belavin, A. M., Krylasova, N. B., & Ivanov, V. A. (2015). Urals and the problem of ‘eastern ancestral home’of hungarians. European Journal of Science and Theology, 11(3), 201-207.
- Country Life (1898), Vol. 3, p. 196.
- Ademolu, E. (2021). A pictured Africa: drawing as a visual qualitative research methodology for examining British African Diaspora imaginings of their ancestral ‘home’. Visual Studies, 1-15.