The Latin or Italic language is that of the ancient Romans and had spread throughout the Roman Empire, from the upper Middle East to North Africa to most of Western Europe. A form of it were the Romance languages, which include Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, French, Catalan and Romanian. These languages are spoken where the Roman Empire dominated for years.
It was the Spanish, French and Portuguese who held colonies in a vast portion of the New World, the Americas. It was those regions of the Caribbean, Central America, Mexico and South America speaking primarily Spanish, French and Portuguese that are associated with the Latin culture, an essential note in Latin genealogy. The lands and islands south of the United States are referred to a Latin America.
It was these European colonial powers who made a paramount influence of the people and their cultures over several centuries. Besides the languages, of which Spanish is the principal one; the music, dance, foods, religion were all affected permanently. Not only the Native Indians of the regions, but those individuals who came to live in the Americas and their descendants developed into this unique Latin culture. Further mixing came with the slaves who were brought from Africa to work in the colonies.
With the ethnic mixing over the years, the descendants of Europeans and Native Indians are known as Mestizos. Those of African slaves and Europeans are referred to as Mulattoes. Then, Zambos are descendants of former African slaves, Native Indians and Europeans.
Into the 20th century new emigrants arrived from Germany, Italy, Russian, Poland, Ireland, Ukraine and Wales, as well additional immigrates from Spain and Portugal. With such an assortment of racial and ethnic diversity, the region is termed Latin America, but just those of the ancient Roman or Latin heritage are termed Latin or Latino.
A person with Latin or Latino heritage means that they are descendants of a family from Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America or South America. The term Hispanic refers to those people who come from a country where Spanish is spoken.
In examining Latin genealogy the common bonds for Latinos are the languages (Spanish, Portuguese and French), the Roman Catholic faith, food, history and cultural traditions. Within the Latin culture, the elderly are respectively treated and consider themselves to be important members of the family and not ashamed to ask for help. Any problems or troubles for a family member are always handled within the family itself.
Latino gatherings always include music, storytelling, joking, dancing, and lots of laughter. Latinos gather very often, always ready to get together for parties and celebrations.