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A Project To Record Our Ancestry Is In The Making

Sudhanshu Misra

"Generations fade, the traditions, culture, memory also fade,

But a residue remains for generations."


A project to record our ancestry is in the making.


A Repository of Indo-American (including Canadian) Family Heritage is in the making. This non-profit project aims at creating a web-based family history storehouse of the people who primarily trace their roots to the Indian Subcontinent (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Afghanistan; also open to others, especially generational Indian Diaspora world-wide). The Project is conceptualized by a longtime Boston-area resident, Sudhanshu Misra. "An effort will be made to include generations of Indian Diaspora settled in the Caribbean and other settlements outside India," Misra says in a statement.

Once complete, the repository will likely be a leading resource for Indo-American family history research and help the community improve knowledge and understanding of their family and its place in history. Defining the objectives of the project, Misra says, "...it intends to serve as a cross-cultural clearing house. The portal will provide a one-stop source for creating, researching, learning and exploring Indo-American family lineage for people who trace their origins in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Caribbean or elsewhere."

"The portal aims at providing a rich source of useful information to our descendants through all future generations, " Misra continues, "Italians, Irish, Armenians and other ethnic communities still relate to their parental traditions. A historical perspective of one's heritage serves as a guidepost about what we can expect in the future. Getting to know and trace one's roots gives us a sense of belonging."


Misra says he had conducted a mini survey of people hailing from some of the nations referenced above and a few Indo-Caribbean. The sample included both the first and second generation, and 5th-6th generation Caribbean-Indians. The survey, albeit unscientific, gave useful insights. For example, a frequently cited reason indicated that personal motivation would be their utmost driving force for such a project. To the question if there is any real importance to it besides satisfying curiosity and seeking some knowledge on their origins, an overwhelming majority of those responding to the survey said proving lineage to their children and grand, great-grand children will give them a sense of rootedness.

Misra adds, "The responses indicate that people have a basic desire to know where they came from and how they got to where they are now. Although the Indo-American community is fairly new; one can imagine the state of intensity for this longing two-three generations hence. Caribbean-Indian societies still relate with the wider India many generations later, and so do Irish, Italians, Scotts, Germans, and others with theirs. Thus, in some ways, we are the final end product of the many generations that came before us; as generations fade, the traditions, the culture, the memory also fades. But a residue remains for many generations." The project  is conceptualized to help forge that link with our past, the present and the future. It is hoped as a journey of many lifetimes woven together from the past, the present and (from our perspective) the future. The project, therefore, lies at the heart of our human condition.

Those interested to learn and participate in the project are invited to contact 


(Sudhanshu Misra has been a deputy news-editor with the Indian Express, Delhi between 1980-1992; migrated to America, furthered education, and worked as an executive in a behavioral health facility the Boston area. )

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