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Has anyone in this list any experience building family trees for Hindu families?

I tried building one, and have encountered many difficulties. Would like to exchange notes with anyone who has experience in this kind of project.

  • We have no uniform system of naming ourselves. Let me explain: In many countries, we have a structure for names of individuals: first name, mid name, surname /family name. We don't follow any such convention. To make matters worse we keep changing the system all the time. For instance, my father: had his village name, followed by his father's name, followed by his own name. Strangely, his father's name was (part 1) standing for his village and his sect (part 2) and his name (part 3) respectively. To add to the confusion, my own name carries just my name (Parthasarathy) preceded by my father's name. Since there is no common surname or family name, there is no easy way to trace ancestors, descendants and relatives.
  • We confuse official names with nicknames, familynames, and maiden names. Often, girls change their personal name, after marriage. No trace or record is maintained anywhere.
  • Names are usually Sanskrit based or based on some Indian language (e.g. Tamil). There are many variants in spelling (even in the native language). To add to the confusion, transliteration of such names into the standard Latin (i.e. English) alphabet is not uniform.
  • Hindu marriages are usually only religious marriages. There is no civil procedure of registration. Unlike other religions, there is no written record maintained for Hindu marriages by any religious institution (e.g. no Church register)
  • Births and deaths are not registered systematically in any central place. Even in those rare cases when these events are registered, the registration details are not known.
  • The older generation followed the traditional Hindu calendar (with many variants) for recording dates. So it becomes very difficult to reconstruct a chronology.
  • Hindus cremate their dead. So there are no family tombs, tombstones or similar objects which can provide any clues.
  • In addition to all the above, designing such a family tree is full of technical and mathematical risks.

Thanks for sharing your knowledge with me.

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    Hello, and welcome to G&FH.SE! I've edited your question to change the formatting, since the indentations were causing some strange effects. You can use the edit link under your message to change the formatting to something you like better. I also removed your signature because your posts are automatically signed with your username and avatar. – Jan Murphy Jan 8 '15 at 3:54
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    Also please note in our help section What topics can I ask about here? we ask "You must not include here in any circumstances information (including name, date and place of birth or any other details) that would allow identification of any living (or possibly) living individual by somebody reading this site. In practice, this means details about anyone born in the last 100 years, whether they are believed to be deceased or not, and whether or not they have given their permission." To preserve your family's privacy I have taken out the names. – Jan Murphy Jan 8 '15 at 4:03
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    Welcome to G&FH SE! I'm not sure how many Hindu users we have on our site but hopefully someone may be able to assist with your question which is currently very broad. In the meantime have you tried consulting the India, Hindu Pilgrimage Records at FamilySearch.org? – PolyGeo Jan 8 '15 at 6:18
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    I'm voting to close this question, because it is asking for people to share their experiences of working with Hindu family trees, instead of asking a specific question. We are very glad to see you posting questions here but this site works differently from discussion forums (meta.genealogy.stackexchange.com/questions/1939/…). – PolyGeo Jul 25 '15 at 23:48
  • If I could vote as an ordinary user, I also would vote to close. – Jan Murphy Jul 27 '15 at 18:19
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There are now at least six online or downloadable genealogy programs listed at GenSoftReviews. http://www.gensoftreviews.com/index.php?s=india

I personally have not tried any of them, but some of them may address a few of the valid issues that you mention.

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I'm very interested in this post because I also have the same problems that you described.

I don't think you will have problem in building a tree although names don't properly match in a father-child relation. It's okay to have errors unless the tree has been used for some legal matters which I think is not the reason you are building a tree. When you find more facts about your ancestors, you keep adding them. You can consider other facts (location, family name, school, behaviors) in addition to the names to find an ancestor. Still, it is a guess in my opinion.

The problems that you described exist in other cultures or countries also. If you look at the history of family tree documentation, there are trees drawn on papers 500 years ago. There was no computer or Govt. system or church documentation at that time. Somebody researched the facts and put it on paper as a tree. It may not be 100% accurate.

I'm trying to create the family tree with a software that I bought from the market for $69.

I surely welcome other genealogists opinion on my approach to family tree creation.

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    I've downvoted this answer, because it does not answer the specific question about sharing experiences of Hindu family trees. We are very glad to see you posting answers (and asking questions) here but this site works differently from discussion forums (meta.genealogy.stackexchange.com/questions/1939/…) and the benefit comes from being very focussed about Q&A rather than discussion. – PolyGeo Jul 25 '15 at 23:51

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