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.