Thanks in part to pandits, FamilySearch has dramatically increased the number of online images of genealogy and family history information available for India. Over one million new images are now available online through two new collections: India, Hindu Pilgrimage Records, 1194–2013, and India, Jharkhand, B. Deoghar, Singh Darwaja, Pandit Dharam Rakshni Sabha, Marriage Records, 1958–2013.
These Indian records arise from the relationship of a family to a pandit, who is a scholar and religious leader in India, a type of family priest. When Hindus make a pilgrimage to a place sacred to the family, they visit the pandit, who records and preserves on the family’s history handwritten scrolls. The scrolls may be written in Urdu or Hindi and can include information about births, marriages, deaths, the person making the pilgrimage, and the purpose of the pilgrimage.
FamilySearch’s continuing work to preserve these records is important. Steven M. Law, a manager in Collections Operations for FamilySearch, noted that the records available through pandits are the primary source for family history and genealogy information in India. In addition, even though they are protected by pandits, the scrolls can be prone to loss from natural disasters or deterioration over time. “The work of FamilySearch in imaging these records is invaluable to ensure that the information is preserved should something happen to the originals,” Law said.
A full listing of available FamilySearch India collections can be found here.
The FamilySearch wiki also has detailed information on records useful for conducting genealogy research in India. Simply click here to view the wiki article on India.