Tracing the family tree


The afternoon sun streams through the grilled window, forming a golden criss cross on the mosaic floor.

In one corner of the room, I sit with my father in law. We are staring intently at the computer, as we try to bring some semblance of structure to our family history and family tree.

My father-in-law embarked on this project a couple of years ago – collecting bits of information and family stories, pulling out faded books from his childhood and patiently transcribing family diaries and notebooks that were passed on to him by his older siblings. Thus began a journey of discovery that traced our family’s history to about a couple of hundred years ago.

Image courtesy – Clipart Panda

Snatches of interesting incidents that have been passed on orally – stories that are being repeated to this very day, when the family gets together.

The family tree is wide, long and deep. The roots were dropped in a small village in South India. Today the branches have spread around the world – children, grandchildren, great grand children.

In some places the trail runs cold, we don’t know what happened to certain branches of the family.

I am helping my father-in-law transfer and structure the content on Powerpoint, so that he can share it with other family members.

I smile, as I type and make charts. My father-in-law marvels at what technology can do. I am more impressed by our family history.

There are hundreds of people, who had dreams, lived their lives in the ancestral village – their children then moving out for better prospects, carrying their rich culture, tradition and family memories with them to different corners of the world.

My father-in-law is more focussed on getting the flow chart right, he checks and double checks the threads that go down and connect the family. I am amazed by the fact that each box represents the life of an ancestor – a life lived, many stories told, many new branches created.

At the end of the family tree, the names of our family (my husband,children and me get added) – my husband is the youngest in his family, so we are ‘that’ last box on the chart.

I realize that we are not a small independent family, but a family backed by deep roots, wonderful ancestors, thrilling stories and lots of love.

The document finally gets done. My father in law is happy, I am happier!

12 thoughts on “Tracing the family tree”

  1. Tracing one’s roots or family tree can be fun. My paternal cousin traced back our family to the 1800s. There are also two family Bibles going back to that time with births, marriages and deaths written within. I was also able to find and trace my Great, Great Grandfather’s name who fought in the Civil War on a trip to Washington, DC. Plus I have several photographs dating back to just after the Civil War of my Dad’s side. It is fascinating to see how people dressed in the 19th Century. Fortunately my Grandmother was very good in putting names to the photos except one. Perhaps that name fell off. Both my paternal grandparents were born in the 19th Century.

    Finally a few years ago when 23andMe was offering a Free search for African Americans I took the DNA test which shows that my maternal ancestors were from Mozambique and some from Nigeria. I’m also 5% Irish and 3% Asian which is probably Native American. I’ve not yet found a test that will yield results from my Dad’s side. When I took the test (saliva sample) 23andMe explained that only women carry Mitochondrial DNA therefore you can only get results from your Mother’s side of the family. One of my paternal cousins would have to take the test for my Dad’s side.

    I don’t have much information for my Mom’s side even with using Ancestry.com however I have found some cousins I did not know I had.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks!! I Love hearing about your family so very much. The test is now about $100 U.S. Dollars. National Geographic also offers DNA testing as well as other places. Not sure what is offered in India but since the demand has increased I’m sure there is an organization that will do the test. One day I hope to make a pilgrimage to Africa to see the land of my ancestors.

        Liked by 1 person

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