India, Hindu Pilgrimage Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)
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Access the records: India, Hindu Pilgrimage Records, 1194-2012 .
Title in the Language of the Records
भारत, हिंदू तीर्थ रिकॉर्ड्स
Whenever possible, Family Search makes images available for all users. However, ultimate rights to view images on our website are granted by the record Custodians. The India, Hindu Pilgrimage Records, 1194-2012 collection is available to members of the supporting organization, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Microfilms of these records are available for viewing at a Family History Center. Please see Using the Family History Library Catalog to find a microfilm and see Ordering Microfilm or Microfiche.
This includes records from 1194 to 2012.
The ancient custom of keeping family genealogies is not well-known today to Indians settled abroad. Professional Hindu Brahmin Pandits, popularly known as "Pandas", kept detailed family genealogies over the past several generations at the Hindu holy city of Haridwar. The registers are handwritten, having been passed down to them over generations by their Pandit ancestors, and are classified according to original districts and villages of one's ancestors. Special designated Pandit families are in charge of designated district registers, including ancestral districts and villages that were left behind when Hindus had to migrate from Pakistan to India after the Partition of India.
In several cases, present-day Hindu descendants are now Sikhs, Muslims, and even Christians. It is not uncommon for researchers to find details of up to or even more than their past seven generations in these genealogy registers.
Hindu ancestors have visited the holy town of Haridwar for centuries for various religious and cultural purposes, including:
- Religious pilgrimage
- Cremation of their dead
- Immersion of a kin member's cremated remains into the holy river Ganges
For centuries, Hindu ancestors who have visited Haridwar for any of these purposes also visit the Pandit in charge of their family registers and update the family's genealogical family tree with details of all marriages, births, and deaths in the extended joint family.
In present-day India, people visiting Haridwar are dumbfounded when Pundits unexpectedly step forward and invite them to come update their very own ancestral genealogical family tree. The news of a visiting family travels quickly to the Pandit in charge of their district.
With Hindu joint family system having broken down into nuclear families, the Pandits prefer visitors to Haridwar to come prepared after getting in touch with all of their extended family and to bring all relevant genealogical events, such as:
- Ancestral district and village
- Names of grandparents and great grandparents
They also ask for as much information as is possible about the families they are marrying into. A visiting family member is required to personally sign the family genealogical register furnished by his or her personal family Panda after updating it for future family visitors and generations to see and to authenticate the updated entries. Friends and other family members accompanying on the visit may also be requested to sign as witnesses.
For a list of volume numbers currently published in this collection, select the Browse link from the collection landing page.
- Native residence
- Names of family members
- Last occasion on which a family member came to this place of pilgrimage and made an entry in the register
- Ceremony performed at the time
- Offering made to the priest
How to Use the Record
To begin your search, it would be helpful to know the following information:
- Ancestor's name
- Year in which they made their pilgrimage
- Place of birth
Search the Collection
To search the collection image by image select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page:
⇒Select the appropriate "State"
⇒Select the appropriate "City or Town"
⇒Select the appropriate "Pandit"
⇒Select the appropriate "Description" which will take you to the images.
Look at the images one by one comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine if the image relates to them. You may need to look at several images and compare the information about the individuals listed in those images to your ancestors to make this determination. Keep in mind:
- There may be more than one person in the records with the same name.
- You may not be sure of your own ancestor’s name.
- Your ancestor may have used different names or variations of their name throughout their life.
No women are mentioned unless their deaths are referred to indirectly.
- Hindu Pilgramge Sites: an Interactive Map
- Other Hindu Geneological Records
- BBC Video Report of Meera Syal as she traced her Indian ancestry.
Related Wiki Articles
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Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections
Citations for individual image records are available for this collection. Browse through images in this collection and click on the "Show Citation" box: Hindu Pilgrimage Records, 1194-2012
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Citation for This Collection
The following citation refers to the original source of the information published in FamilySearch.org Historical Records collections. Sources include the author, custodian, publisher, and archive for the original records.
- "India, Hindu Pilgrimage Records, 1194-2012." Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2013. Citing Pandit Madhukar Balkrishan Akolkar, Trimbakeshwar.