I am delighted to introduce guest author Smita Biswas. She is a Team Leader at the West Auckland (New Zealand) Research Centre where she specializes in Indian genealogy. She is an expert in family history research in India as well as an accomplished lecturer and author.
NOTE: Some of the images in this article were reduced in size in order to fit in this newsletter’s format. To view a full-sized image, click on the small image within the article.
Here is Smita’s article:
Photo donated by Sheth Family, Lalbhai Bhogilal Lallubhai Sheth family photo, 1932, Shahibag, Ahmedabad, India
The culture of India has been shaped not only by its long history, unique geography and diverse demography but also by its ancient heritages. Regarded by some historians as the oldest living civilization of Earth, the Indian tradition dates back to 8,000 BC and has a continuous recorded history for over 2,500 years. But due to the influence of Western culture and migration of Indians to foreign shores, the rich culture, values, and family history of India are disappearing.
There is a lack of awareness in the migrant Indian community in New Zealand about the importance of documenting their family history. Most Indian family history has been traditionally maintained only within families and has been often passed down from generation to generation, with children hearing the stories from their “elders” from early childhood.