26 April 2007

India: Family records lost

Can you imagine losing your family's records covering hundreds of years?

Although not about Jewish records, this story will make any genealogist feel uncomfortable at the least.

According to this article in the Times of India:

"Maithil Brahmins are known to have followed the "panji prabhandha" (system of recorded genealogy) since 14th century. These records are maintained by "panjikars", who examined the validity and purity of marriage settlements.

"The institution of "panjikar" (genealogist) was established by Maharaja Harsimhadeva (1296-1323 AD) of Karnat dynasty at Saurath. In course of time, genealogical records assumed gigantic proportions and it was decided to make genealogists available at villages across Mithilanchal to facilitate marriages."

According to the story, the ancestral details of thousands of Maithil Brahmins, written on palm leaves for generations have allegedly been sold to a US agency which said it would document them and turn over a printed record.

Said one victim:

"The middleman gave me Rs 4,000, at the rate of 10 paise per leaf, to get my all records printed. After sometime, he dumped the records in gunny bags at my home, without handing over the printed version. Later, I found many pages were torn and hundreds of them missing," he alleged.

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