October 1st, 2005
An accidental click took me to Kartooner’s blog, and specifically to his latest post about family history.
I have a family tree at home that traces all descendants from about a dozen generations ago. When I saw it for the first time, I told my father I didn’t believe we would have that many directly related relatives that we know about. He smiled and traced back a few generations, fondly remembering his distant uncles and fore-fathers and what they were famous for. Then he told me a surprising fact about our recorded family history.
This family tree was drawn by my distant cousin who got all the information from a group of people who track family lineages and record them. It is their job. They come from a village in Rajasthan, returning to our village every 25 years or so and noting down all the new births, etc. All my cousin had to do was track them down, go through their books and note down the information he wanted. My family’s tree can be traced back quite a few hundred years actually.
In my last trip to my village in Uttar Pradesh a few months ago, my Tau Ji (uncle) took me visiting all our ancestral havelis (mansions, houses… call them what you will). And in one he pointed downward and said, “This is where our family started in this village”. We belong to Alwar in Rajasthan and had settled down in Uttar Pradesh about 300 odd years ago. Most of the Rajputs from that belt are there because of that ‘requested’ migration.
Like Kartooner pointed out, it’s truly an amazing feeling knowing where one has come from, who the ancestors were and what they did, if they were famous about anything and if so for what. I know my history and am proud of it. I’m glad there were people who documented it. I’m glad the stories have been passed down the ages.
Many are not this lucky.