Anglo Indian Project Review: part I

Getting lost in the avalanche of information?

This is a quick entry to take time out, reflect and summarise progress so far, focusing on:

(1) Where is the #Angloindianproject up to?

and

(2) What next for the #Angloindianproject?

——

(1) Where is the #Angloindianproject up to?

It started in 2014, when I decided to finally research my family history, with initial focus on the Anglo-Indian heritage of my late Nana, Elaine. I then set up a website to document progress. Six months later I finally made it to the British Library in London to track down official records of ancestors. This led to writing up some contextual information beginning with What is an Anglo-Indian? and an overview of the Presidencies of British India: Bengal, Bombay and Madras.

Day one in the British Library revealed a lot more information than I expected. Firstly, I found the records of my late Grandparents, Stanley Wheeler and Elaine Cynthia Hassett. This led to further information on their parents, David Vincent Hassett and Edith Aileen Wharton and additional names and records on more distant generations. The discovery at this point of apparent Portuguese names Pereira and De Silva was an exciting find.

Records about Elaine Cynthia Hassett’s brother Leonard Havelock Hassett also provided further insight into the family, but sadly not enough records have been located about ‘Uncle Lenny’ yet. The most interesting discovery on day one in the British Library centred on Edith Aileen Wharton – Hassett – Smith, particularly surrounding her apparent tragic early childhood experiences and insight into her later life in India and the UK.

Further contextual information in the form of (1) a great book that has aided my understanding of Anglo-Indian history, and (2) the birth of the Anglo-Indian community, focusing on the Portuguese and British influences from the late 15th century onward.

The most fascinating discovery so far has been The Curious Case of John Pereira. His offspring from two marriages, Martha and Sophia Charlotte, went on to marry James Hassett and William Bernard Wharton, respectively. The Offspring from these two marriages, step-cousins, David Vincent Hassett and Edith Aileen Wharton, went on to marry each other.

That is where the #Angloindianproject is right now.

Some people mentioned so far have not been addressed in any detail yet and in addition, a number of others have been identified throughout the #Angloindianproject, so far, and not mentioned yet. These will be addressed, in detail, in future entries.

(2) What next for the #Angloindianproject?

The information presented so far is only a tiny piece of the overall information gathered to date. There are key individuals to be presented in closer detail. A few snap shots:

1. James Hassett and Martha Pereira

2. The Wharton’s

3. ‘Generation 7’

4. David Vincent Hassett and Edith Aileen Wharton (yes, there’s more)

5. William Hassett and Isabella De Silva

——

What about the family research process? A few highlights of things to come:

1. More information on gathering information on family history

2. Useful resources for researching ancestry

3. Overcoming (apparent) obstacles and brick walls in finding information

——

There are also many contextual areas of interest. To name a few:

1. What was (and is) life as an Anglo-Indian in India like?

2. What next for Anglo-Indians?

3. What is Anglo-Indian food? (I know this is good from personal experience – recipes will follow!)

4. How was life in Bombay?

——

Not forgetting the unanswered questions from the family research so far. Again, just a few:

1. How far back do the Hassett’s go?

2. Who was the first full Indian citizen in the family?

3. How many family members are there in total?

——

Moving further forward, a few plans:

1. Still mining data and searching for additional names and information

2. Production of a ‘family map’ – where ancestors lived, worked, settled, were buried, and a few other notable points

3. A trip to India. Planned for 2016, using the ‘family map’ as a guide, which will hopefully provide further information, but at least it will provide some visuals to accompany the records and the write-ups.

That’s just a snap shot (18 things), there’s plenty more planned. There’s currently 21 draft write-ups sitting in the #Angloindianproject, with more planned. Hopefully this summary is a useful point to pause and reflect.

Now for more.

Cover picture credit: Laura Bui

Interact with the Anglo Indian Project

Twitter: @angloindianproj or search #Angloindianproject

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