28 January 2017

DNA and Genealogy

At Christmas my Indian husband took a DNA test with Ancestry.com. He just got the results. They weren't too surprising. It said his DNA was 78% South Asia and 14% Asia East. This is not uncommon for Indians in the northern states, since they are more likely to intermarry with other east asian groups. Many of the indentured laborers sent to Fiji were from Uttar Pradesh (a state in the north), his ancestors included (the ones we have found so far anyway).

What was a little surprising is that his DNA also contained 7% Melanesian and 1% Polynesian. So, one of his ggg-grandparents might have been Fijian, which we had never heard before. But, since at least 2 of his gg-grandparents were born in Fiji, although they have Indian names, it is possible that one was only half Indian. Time to do a little more climbing in the family tree.


  1. My husband is also Fijian Indian and he got very similar results with his ancestry DNA test. We've been working on his family tree for a couple of months now.

  2. Very interesting.

    My wife is also from Fiji, and we have known some info about her maternal grandfather (from one of the Girmit centenary special papers from 1979). He was from the district of Gonda (adjacent to Basti), but only a week ago I was talking to my brother-in-law who had looked at the archives in Fiji and could not find anything about his grandfather (it appears the spelling of his name was different to the article in the paper and what the family knew him as). I met him briefly in 1974 or 1975. But my brother-in-law found some information about the maternal grandmother that was new to us. According to her emigration pass she came from Basti District, Chauni sub district and village Malauli. I could find no record of Chauni, but found two adjacent villages (Malauli Gosai and Malauli Dubey) in the sub district of Chhawani, so this might be the right place (translation error when she signed her girmit. The maternal grandparents met on the boat to Fiji (SS Chenab, voyage 3, 1916), so this was the penultimate girmit voyage to Fiji before the practice was stopped. They served there five years on a copra plantation on Taveuni where my mother-in-law and her brother were born.

    On the paternal side the granfather most likely came to Fiji in the 1890 and married a Fiji born Indian (so the family story goes), and they had 6 or 7 children. One married an India born Indian and returned with him to India (or most likely Pakistan) sometime around or after partition. There is no record of her ever communicating with her family again.

    My brother-in-law and his wife are planning to visit the Basti and Gonda districts when they go to India later in 2018 or in 2019.

    1. That's awesome to have found so much information. I am still working on finding more family and every place they come from in India. We hope to visit there someday, but have no idea when. Good luck in your search for family!