Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Genealogical Mysteries

Recently, I have become interested in a show called “Who Do You Think You Are,” which traces the genealogy of famous people. It fascinates me because I have always wondered about my roots, and I am envious at how easy it is for many on the show to trace them through paper trails. It is almost impossible for me to discover more about my mother’s and father’s families because of the lack of consistent records in Southern India. My family is also not very interested in our ancestors and how far back we could trace our roots.

What I do know about the four sets of great grandparents is that they all could not generate and sustain proper incomes to support their families. One of my great grandfathers on my father’s side lost two wives (one to illness, another to a poisonous snake bite) and had no financial stability, and this forced my twelve year old grandfather to leave home to support his younger brothers and sisters. According to family reports, my grandfather worked in factories and moved from place to place in India until he joined the British Army during World War II. He never saw action; instead, he learned how to edit films for soldiers who were so far away from their homes. My grandfather was never formerly trained, but through his interactions with other Englishmen involved in film during that time, he learned to edit film so well that he became an award-winning film editor in Kerala. He even won a national award for film editing in the 1960s.

What interests me about these stories from my family history is that I sometimes wonder if there are some characteristics that were passed through the generations to me, my siblings, and/or my cousins. We will never know the whole truth, but that is fine with me. What I know is that my genetic, cultural history is complex, and that my story isn’t so different than many others.

Do you know or care to learn more about your family genealogy?

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