11 July 2014

Uttar Pradesh to Help in Ancestor Search

While speaking on the radio in New Zealand, Uttar Pradesh State Minister Madhukar Jetley said their state government will soon be launching a website that could help Indians abroad gather information about their ancestors from India. Many Indians that came to Fiji in the Girmit era are believed to come from UP (my husband's family included). It seems they will be making NRI cards available to Fiji-Indians for the purpose of genealogy work.
Jetley said “Everybody will be having an opportunity to get a card, printed in their own home, through the computer, through the website in which they will be able to connect and re-connect and they will be able to join in the movement where they can go back to their roots and discover where they came from.”

- See more at: http://www.fbc.com.fj/fiji/21295/nri-card-to-track-ancestors

16 June 2014

Family History Scrapbook

Along with researching my husband's Fiji/India roots, I am also working on stuff from my own family history. I won't bore you with all those details on this blog, but I was so excited about this one project I had to share.
My father is also a genealogist, and has been doing it for at least 25 years. He is the reason I got into it. So, for Father's Day, I made him a digital scrapbook of his genealogy. I only did 5 generations, because after that, information is a little sparse. I had the 10x10 inch book printed at Shutterfly (with an amazing 50% off deal). We don't have a lot of family photos, so I filled it with the actual records, including translations of everything not in English.
In the book I included what few family photos we have, identifying the people in the photos, family group sheets for his grandparents, immigration and naturalization information and papers, family trees that include siblings, census records, a timeline from 1800-1960, and a large 9 generation fan chart at the back.

04 February 2014

Another Immigration Pass

In December I posted about getting a scan/photo of Parbhu's immigration pass. His wife, Ramdai had come to Fiji with him on the same boat. Our cousin had one immigration pass, but not the other. So, we set about trying to get a copy of it. We already knew the name of the boat, the date, the name of the passenger and even the passenger number (thanks to death and birth certificates that listed the info). You'd think it would be an easy thing to find.
First, we looked online. We knew the LDS church family history library has the microfilm that contains these records. But, it turns out, for no known reason, they don't allow you to 'check them out' from the main library. So, unless I take a trip to Salt Lake City, I'm not gonna see them.
So, we called Salt Lake. The people at the family history library were very friendly, but not helpful in the least. At first they didn't seem to understand the problem. They thought we needed help to order the film. Then they thought we needed help to find the film number. Then they thought maybe they could transfer us to some other department for help. The second department couldn't figure out our problem either and wondered why we were transferred there in the first place. An hour on the phone, remote computer support, and still no one could just take ten minutes, find the film, take a photo of it and e-mail it to us.
As a last resort, we e-mailed Fiji. The Fiji Archives were very helpful and nice. They found the info and returned our e-mail in less than a day. All we needed was a family member to pay the 60 cent finding fee and they'd e-mail us a copy. So, an uncle visited the archives and paid the fee for us.
Long story short, we now have the immigration pass for Ramdai, Parbhu's wife!

16 January 2014

Mata Din's marriage record

After having been 'backordered' for months, I finally got the Indian marriage records for 1952. It took going through the entire roll of microfilm to get to the one I wanted. I didn't know the exact date of marriage, so I had to look at every record. Most were in English, but some were in Urdu, some in Hindi, and a few in what I think was Tamil. But, finally, the 7th record from the end of the roll, I found the one I was looking for.
This is the marriage record of Mata Din and Suruj Pati. They were married on the 1st of November 1952 in Nasinu, Suva, Fiji.

04 January 2014

Know India

India has a program called Know India Programme, that invites youth diaspora to come to India and learn about it. It is a 3 weeks program that teaches the kids (mostly college students) about Indian culture, economics, politics, science and technology and other industries. It's a great program for people of Indian origin to connect with their roots as well as other diaspora from all over the world.

This year Fiji is sending 19 youths. They will spend time visiting major historical and tourist sites, as well as meeting with political and business leaders.


29 December 2013

Old Maps of Northern India

With the finding of the emigration pass from India to Fiji, we now know the village/town that one great-grandfather is from. The name is Domariyaganj, then from there is a smaller village of Prasahwa. On these maps, from the 1800's you can see Basti (or Bustee), and Domariyaganj (with various spellings). Also, in his travels my husband has met other Indians, one of whom is from that area and may know someone in those villages who can find out some info for us.
Enjoy the maps! (click to view larger)

1777 map of northern India, with area highlighted

close-up from map above

02 December 2013

Immigration Pass!

When Indians came to Fiji, they were each issued an immigration pass. The LDS church has microfilmed them, but for some reason (unknown to apparently everyone who works there) they don't loan out those particular microfilms to local family history centers.
So, I have been putting my husband to work contacting family members to get more genealogy information. And, one of his cousins happens to be visiting India right now. This cousin also happens to have a photo of one of the immigration records as well as several birth certificates and marriage certificates. So, now we have a copy too.
Yay! Happy dance!
Great grandfather Parbhu Lal came from the Basti region of India in 1908, and here is his immigration record. He was 14 years old, and from the village of Prasahwa.