26 December 2020

Drawing my Family Tree During the Lockdown

 One of the few satisfying things I have done during the last lockdown was working on my family tree. It was one project my cousin and I planned to do a few years ago but we neither had the time nor the expertise to get that done. The very thought of putting together the details of so many people on a sheet of paper overwhelmed me. 

It may sound petty but I was wondering how many A4 papers I would have to stitch together until I could get all the names up. I was even considering a wall to stick all the names. But deep down I had a strong feeling that there should be some software to create a family tree. It seemed like a big task and we pushed it aside. 

The Black and White Picture
Babu Dorji Tshering

One day, my Asha sent me a black and white picture and said the man in the picture was my great-grandfather. He suggested that we traced our bloodline as far back as possible. This was the second time someone in my family proposed to draw our family tree. This time the black and white picture was truly inspiring. I began looking for software and landed an online site called Family Echo, which was free, powerful and easy to use.

A small part of My Family Tree created using Family Echo

I began working on what seemed like a massive project, but within a few days, I had run out of people. Family Echo helped me organize everything in one small window and make all the complex mapping as I move from one generation to another. The exercise gave opportunities to call older member in the family and dig deeper into their memories. Some of them we so touched that we were doing it and that we reached out to them. 

My Angay and Late Jojo whose name was Angay


As the family tree grew bigger I had the option to invite people in the list to contribute to expanding the tree. This has connected and reconnected many of my cousins. It has helped solve a few confusions I had and gave me lots of surprised when it comes to discovering how I was related to a lot of people I grew up with without knowing that we were from the same bloodline. 

My Mother

I have traced 167 people across 8 generations of my family, five backwards and two downward after me. Before this exercise I could not even name my grandmothers, now I at least know the name of my great-great-great-grandfather. His name was Dumcho Tandi. And the man in the black and white picture was Babu Dorji Tshering, my great-grandfather. It's quite an irony that there was a camera in his time, and there is not a picture from my childhood. 

2 comments:

  1. Even though it's fanciful, I feel a sense of unity when I saw your great grandfather's name had 'Babu' in it. Although different by nationality and born generations apart, the feeling of oneness is so palpable.

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  2. My dear friend @Chrysolyte,
    Apparently for the lack of better word to describe the new generation of people in the country who were educated outside the country and came back with world knowledge, the natives called them Babu. It's a hindi word I guess. It meant the educated one.

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