Friday, December 25, 2009

Birth of our founder: 1876

Today marks the birth of
Mohammed Ali Jinnah or as he is widely known as in Pakistan as, Qaid e Azam (Great Leader).

Jinnah was born on 25th December 1876 and died on 11th September 1948

Keeping in mind the idea that Mohammed Ali Jinnah wanted for Pakistan, that Pakistan is for everyone irrespective of their colour, caste or creed, I would like to wish all Christians a Merry Christmas and a happy new year.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Inputting unknowns in family trees

What do you do when you don't know the name of an ancestor but you need to add them to your database? Well, previously I had been recording 'unknown' for both first names and surnames I didn't know. But then I decided I didn't want all these 'unknowns' crowding my family tree so I started to look around to find ways of cleaning up my database.

I'm currently using Legacy 7.0 as my genealogy software, as you all know. So, I've decided to go with the following rules (not set in stone, mind you!) :

First name unknown

If first name is unknown then add the relationship to the person you are linking them with e.g. if Azhar Yasin's wife is unknown add her to the database as "Wife Yasin"

Surname unknown

If the surname is unknown then add "--?--" e.g. "Rukhsar --?--"

Or, you can go find out the name of the missing ancestor :p

That should keep those pesky 'unknowns' out of your hair for a while but then you'll have to deal with the 'husbands', 'wives', 'brothers', 'sisters' etc. But for me, I think it's a better solution to adding unknowns to your database.

How would you standardize the unknown people in your database? Give me your feedback by leaving me a comment.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Eid ul Adha - 27th November 2009

I'd like to wish everyone a very happy Eid.

May Allah (swt) guide us on the right path and bring peace to Pakistan and its people, Ameen.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

In the footsteps of Ibrahim (Peace be upon him)

With only 2 days left til Eid I wanted to share the story of Ibrahim (PBUH) to remind us why Muslims across the world celebrate Eid ul Adha.

"A father and son make their way in the early light of dawn, to fulfill an obligation that weighs heavily on their shoulders. The father, Ibrahim AS, is facing the ultimate test of his faith. In the days which lead to this morning, he has had recurring visions which instructed him to sacrifice his own son.

Yet this is the child Allah had bestowed on him like a miracle. The boy they had named Isma’el, meaning God shall hear, because he was Allah’s answer to the Ibrahim’s AS supplication, when he was still childless.

Only a handful of years has passed between then and this morning. Isma’el AS is still only a child, but the child follows his father to his imminent death with immovable faith. As they near their destination, his forbearance is tested. Doubt manifests itself in the shape of the doubt-casters whispering, but he remains steadfast, hurling stones at the Devil. When they reach the place of sacrifice the boy does not hesitate. He lies face down in submission to his father’s knife, and with a heavy heart, Ibrahim AS presses the blade against his son’s neck.

‘Oh Ibrahim’ Allah calls out at that moment. ‘You have fulfilled the vision!’ Then, as a ransom for Isma’el AS, the angel Jibra’il brings them a ram to sacrifice in his place, shouting, “Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar!” to stop Ibrahim’s AS hand. Overwhelmed with relief, on beholding the angel’s arrival, Ibrahim AS cries “Laa ilaha illallahu wallahu akbar!” And his son Isma’el AS, rises to his feet, exclaiming in thanks, “Allahu akbar wa lillahil hamd.”

This is the story of Prophet Ibrahim AS and Isma’el AS, who were prepared to make one of human history’s greatest sacrifices. Allah comforted them with news of His pleasure in the strength of their faith, and he promised to preserve the symbol of their submission in the tradition of generations to come.

So every year we celebrate Eid ul-Adha, making and sharing our sacrifices with our communities, in the spirit of a splendid history."

Taken from Muslim Aid.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

My mother's mother's mother's mother

How well do you know your matrilineal lines? Unfortunately, I don't know the name of my 2nd great grandma (from my mother's side) but I know the next best thing, her daughter's name. So I have the name of my great grandma.

5) --?--

4) Great grandma
3) Grandma

2) Mum

1) Me

It's difficult to find women on many family trees created by Pakistanis as many researchers fail to include them. But should we be looking for our female ancestors in the same way as our male ancestors?
Click here to watch an online seminar I came across which covers aspects to researching your matrilineal lines. It's narrated by Julie Helen Otto, a NEHGS genealogist.

What if it were the other way round? What if the question was, who is your father's father's father's father? Would you have the answer?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Remembering our shaheed .. 5

I'm posting more announcements of our shaheed (martyred) who are fighting for our country, our people and our freedom. See my previous posts here, here
, here and here.

Monday November 9th 2009

'Terrorists fired rockets at security forces check post in Makeen, resultantly 4 soldiers embraced shahadat and one got injured ' (The News)

'Tribal sources said a convoy of security forces was on its way to Baizai Tehsil when a group of militants attacked it in the Chamarkand area in Safi Tehsil. As a result, two soldiers were killed and eight others sustained injuries.' (The News)

A soldier was killed and four others, including two security personnel, sustained injuries during clashes in various areas of the Bajaur Agency on Sunday. (The News)

Thursday November 12th 2009

15 soldiers were killed in fighting, while a roadside bomb killed two soldiers in Sararogha area further east. (Dawn)

'Eight soldiers and a passerby were killed when their vehicle was blown up by the mine detonated by remote control in Dwa Jungi ... two soldiers of the Frontier Corps were killed in clashes after a convoy was ambushed in Manzari Kandho on Tuesday night.' (Dawn)

Note: I can only provide you with names if I find them in the news articles I browse. If you think something needs correcting, please do leave me a message. I try my best.

We should all pray for these men and their families and recognise their courage and sacrifice for their country.

Are you related to a soldier? Do you have memories of a loved one dying? Do you have a message for the soldiers fighting? Leave me a comment.


I feel now more than ever we should be supporting our army who are fighting the Taliban as we see the terror and destruction they spread in places such as Islamabad, Lahore and Peshawar.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Allama Iqbal Day

It's 132 years ago today that the Urdu poet, Allama Iqbal was born. Here's a recital of a poem he wrote in Lahore in 1911:

To learn more about him, click here.

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Randall Style

I've been reading Randall Seaver's
blog for some time now but never participated in his weekly fun games but this week I thought I'd give it a go. (Yes, I do realise it's Monday not Saturday :p)

The task was to find the geographical distribution of your surname by visiting which shows you a map with colours that reflect the high or low frequency of a particular surname. I typed in my surname and clicked on United Kingdom and my region - it came up with these results:

(a snapshot of the webpage)
Top countries:

United Kingdom

Top regions:

Yorkshire and Humberside, United Kingdom
West Midlands, United Kingdom
Oslo, Norway
North West, United Kingdom
South East, United Kingdom

Top cities:

Birmingham, West Midlands, United Kingdom
Bradford, Yorkshire, United Kingdom
London E1, South East, United Kingdom
Manchester, North West, United Kingdom
Wakefield, Yorkshire, United Kingdom

Top forenames:


Interestingly, there were no female names in the top 5. Men rule, eh?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Seven lives lost

Sunday November 1st 2009

The names of the seven soldiers killed by a roadside bomb were released in a statement by the Frontier Corps. The slain personnel belonged to the Mehsud Scouts.

Naib Subedar Gran Zada of Landikotal in Khyber Agency
Sepoy Ashfaq Khan belonging to Nowshera
Sepoy Rasool Khan from Hangu
Lance Naik Shan Gul from Tank
Lance Naik Haider Khan from Kalaya in Orakzai Agency
Naik Muhammad Jan from Landikotal
Lance Naik Muhammad Jamil from Bara.


Saturday, October 31, 2009

Heritage Foundation Pakistan

Whilst browsing I stumbled upon this organisation on the web:
Heritage Foundation Pakistan. It's helping to safeguard the nation's treasures - historical monuments and such. Admirable work.

"The Foundation has been instrumental in saving a large number of heritage treasures and, as UNESCO team leader 2003-2005, oversaw the stabilization of the endangered Shish Mahal ceiling of the Lahore Fort World Heritage site."

Yes, even buildings need saving. I posted last month about a hostoric building in danger, see here. So would you care if someone thought it would be OK to demolish a place that held valuable memories for future generations? Do we need to place more importance on the preservation of history in Pakistan?

If you live in Karachi or want to drop by, here are the contact details:

Heritage Foundation
E-6, Fourth Gizri Street
DHA 4, Karachi
Tel: (92 21) 5834215, 5837521; Fax: (92 21) 5863474

Remembering our shaheed .. 4

I'm posting more announcements of our shaheed (martyred) who are fighting for our country, our people and our freedom. See my previous posts here, here
and here.

Monday October 19th 2009

Two soldiers
embraced shahadat (martyrdom) in the clashes at Makeen. Another soldier embraced shahadat in an operation north of Shakai. The army lost two soldiers
south of Razmak. (The News)

Friday October 23rd 2009

A soldier was killed when militants attacked security forces in Boay Naray, located west of Sherwangai on Wednesday night. Another soldier was killed when militants fired six rockets on the Razmak Army Camp. (The News)

Brigadier Moeen Ud Din Ahmed embraced shahadat after an attack on Thursday.
Funeral prayers were said at Chaklala Garrison

"Brig. Moeen of Sindh Regiment was serving as Deputy Force Commander of UN forces in Sudan. He is survived by widow, three sons and a daughter...
On Thursday morning while on his way to Rawalpindi from Islamabad, the vehicle in which he was travelling was ambushed and fired by pillion riders in G-11 sector. He was critically wounded and later, succumbed to the injuries while on way to hospital." (PakTribune)

Saturday October 24th 2009

Three soldiers were reported to have been killed in the overnight fighting overnight in Kotkai in South Waziristan. On Tuesday morning seven soldiers were killed as army checkpoints were attacked by the Taliban. (BBC News)

Saturday October 31st 2009

"A roadside bomb killed seven Pakistani soldiers in the northwestern Khyber region on the Afghan border on Saturday, hours after warplanes struck suspected Taliban positions in a neighboring tribal area, officials said." (Reuters)

Note: I can only provide you with names if I find them in the news articles I browse. If you think something needs correcting, please do leave me a message. I try my best.

We should all pray for these men and their families and recognise their courage and sacrifice for their country.

Are you related to a soldier? Do you have memories of a loved one dying? Do you have a message for the soldiers fighting? Leave me a comment.


I feel now more than ever we should be supporting our army who are fighting the Taliban as we see the terror and destruction they spread in places such as Islamabad, Lahore and Peshawar.

Updated: Added the BBC News link

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Which genealogy software should I use?

I'm blogging again after a short absence since my laptop decided to give me a panic attack..

Until recently I wasn't aware there were computer softwares that were available to family historians. But having looked at various genealogical websites, blogs and forums I realised
people were actually using computer software to input their family trees and creating databases to store and organize their information. Well ofcourse, I had to check it out. Someone kindly suggested that I download Personal Ancestral File (PAF) which is a free genealogy software available from I used PAF for a short while and since it was my first time using a genealogy software I had to start my family tree from scratch. Later on I would learn that all genealogical software use a certain type of file called a GEDCOM file.

However, PAF have not introduced any new versions and the software itself does not display a visually pleasing interface. It seems bland and compared with new software that it's in the market seems to lack in features. Therefore I went in search of a new software that would liven things up a bit. Something that would provide a fresh new look to my boring software.

I found .. Legacy 7.0.

I downloaded the standard edition from their website (click on the above link) and set up my family tree by importing my not-so-big GEDCOM file from PAF. This meant that I could just transfer whatever data I had input into PAF to Legacy without any fuss.

These are some of the features I liked:

1) Creating reports for individuals and families
2) Ability to view the ages of your ancestors at various events of their life
3) Marriage lists for couples
4) Ability to create charts from the data

5) Research guidance shows you what to search for and includes a to-do list

6) Ability to add pictures, sounds,
videos to individuals in your tree
7) Ability to write notes for individuals in general, or research notes or medical notes
and much much more!

Here's a snapshot of a family sheet of one of my ancestors (first names have been blocked out):

I think I'll stick with this software as it seems to do the job and I'm still working out how it all works since there is so much on offer. However, there are other softwares that are available such as Family Tree Builder and
Family Tree Maker. (Funny how they have similar names)

Note: Some of the features can only be accessed by upgrading to Legacy Deluxe Edition.

If you'd like to try out Legacy too, then click here for a beginners video. Let me know what you think by leaving me a comment.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Muslim Tommies

Muslim Tommies
is a BBC program that was aired on the 2nd of September. Now, like me you're probably thinking 'what are tommies?' So before I go on I'll explain the term 'tommy'.

Tommy is a common term for a soldier in the British Army, usually associated with World War I.

What I learned from watching the program..

* The Indian army was mobilised Sep 1914 in Europe
* Soldiers were known as 'sepoys'
* The hardships of these men have been lost in history
* Accounts written by the men were translated and are now available
* The soldiers usually came from poor rural communities
* On 30th Oct 1914, Sepoy Khudadad Khan was awarded the Victoria Cross (it was the first ever to be awarded to an Indian soldier)
* The first purpose built mosque in England is in Woking (Shah Jahan mosque)
* A graveyard was built near the mosque for the burial of Muslim soldiers
* In 1968 the remains of the soldiers were removed to Brookwood cemetry nearby where nineteen first world war and five 2nd world war soldiers now rest
* In May 1915, soldiers moved from France to present day Iraq to fight Germany's Turkish allies
* They had to fight Muslim Turks
* They refused, and so 429 soldiers received long prison sentences
* 8,500 troops had died by the end, 1/3 wud have been Muslims
* A unique ceremony is held at Brighton to commemorate their bravery and remember the Indian troops who died
* It's called the Chattri memorial

Soldiers mentioned were:

Amir Khan - 129th Baluchis, France 1915
Subedar Muhammed Agia - 57th Rifles, May 1915
Havildar Abdul Rahman - 59th Rifles, France 1915
Juma Khan - 40th Pathans, France 1915
Sepoy Abdul Ghani - 125th Napier's Rifles, France 1915
Naubet Khan - 107th Pioneers, France 1915
Mohamed Ali Bey - 20th Deccan Horses, France 1915
Abdul Jabar Khan, Sep 1917
Mahomed Mazafar Khan - 19th Lancers, France, Oct 1917
Jemadar Shamsher Ali Khan - 34th Poona Horse, France, April 1917
Dafadar Fazi Khan - 19th Lancers, France Oct 1916
Havildar Ghufran Khan - 129th Baluchis, aug 1915
Abdul Ali Khan - 6th Cavalry, France Aug 1917
Rajwali Khan - Brighton, Sep 1915 (at hospital)
Raja Khan - 38th CIH, France oct 1917
Jemadar Hasan Shah - Hodson's Horse, France 1916
Kesu Shah - Rouen, May 1916
Rahimdad Khan - 19th Lancers, France, May 1916
Fateh Ullah - June 1916

All in all, this program really opened my eyes to the life of the Indian soldiers that fought the war for Britain. It's something that I was not taught in school which makes me think about other children who are studying about war at school and yet being unaware of the role played by these men who share their ancestry. Is it fair that their part in the war should be left out? Why shouldn't we acknowledge the loss of these men?

Get in touch. Did one of your ancestors serve in the World War I or World War II? Do you have written accounts of the war from one of your great grandparents or grandparents?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - Muhammad Ayaz Malik and Wendy Leigh

The Geneabloggers website has some interesting daily themes for bloggers to write about in their own blogs. If you don't know what Tombstone Tuesday is, then click here for an explanation. Although I have no tombstone pictures of my own, here's my contribution:

I came across this picture of a Muslim tombstone on Flickr. It was taken by Hammad Mian at Indianapolis in Indiana
so thanks to him for letting me share it with you.

'[Arabic script] To God we belong and unto Him is our return. (Qur'an 2.156)

Muhammad Ayaz 1957 Wendy Leigh 1962'

I wonder who they were. The man has a Muslim name and there is a verse from the Quran on the headstone. How would you go about learning more about these people?

What do you think? Leave me a comment.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Remembering our shaheed..3

I'm posting more announcements of our shaheed (martyred) who are fighting for our country, our people and our freedom. See my inital posts here and here

Thursday August 20th 2009

Suleman, a soldier from the Bajaur Levies was shot dead in the Shago area of Bajaur. The unidentified men who shot him also killed his father, Lali Jan and brother, Ibrahim who worked as a water carrier in Bajaur Scouts. (The News)

Sunday August 23rd 2009

Three soldiers
were killed in a suicide bomb attack in the Kanju area in Swat on Saturday. (The News)

Monday September 7th 2009

'Two soldiers have been killed by a roadside bomb in South Waziristan near the Afghan border.' (BBC News)

Friday September 11th 20

Two FC soldiers
were k
illed in a rocket attack on the Jandola fort in Frontier Region (FR) Tank on Thursday. (The News)

Tuesday September 15th 2009

Subedar Siddiq
of the Mehsud Scouts (Frontier Corps) was killed on Monday in Karawal area of Malak Dinkhel, Khyber Agency. (The News)

Note: I can only provide you with names if I find them in the news articles I browse. If you think something needs correcting, please do leave me a message. I try my best.

We should all pray for these men and their families and recognise their courage and sacrifice for their country.

Are you related to a soldier? Do you have memories of a loved one dying? Do you have a message for the soldiers fighting? Leave me a comment.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

What is a repository?

Genealogists or family historians usually use a repository to look up information regarding their ancestors and it's common practice to note down the source for the information that you find. So what exactly is a repository?

The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines it as:

a place, room, or container where something is deposited or stored. (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

A genealogical repository is where historical records are kept and preserved that are useful for information such as births, marriages, deaths, wills etc. There may be archives and libraries for example that provide original documents like these. It's easy to think that everything you'll need to find out about your ancestors will be online but that's not the case. I've seen many posts on genealogical forums asking for a person's whole family tree when all they've provided is their name. It's as if they're expecting someone else to have done all the hard work for them and will be willing to share it all with them. Even if that were true, how would you prove that the information you find (or is shared with you) is true unless you knew that information was from a credible source. I guess that's where repositories come in to the picture.

A few weeks ago, I came across this article on Sarhad Conservation Network about the imposed demolition of an 150 year old
Muhafiz Khana (records office) in Peshawar, Pakistan. The article states that the 'Muhafiz Khana has served as a repository of priceless (British-era and post independence) historic records of lands and court verdicts in criminal, civil and revenue cases among others'. Apparently record keeping was suspended in June 2003 as the building needed maintenance with the building in poor condition and the government planned to demolish it. Further digging found that because of a petition in 2006 by the Sarhad Conservation Network and the Hindokush Conservation Association UK, the building had been saved from its destruction. (The Dawn). This is great work by these organizations.

I'm unsure about the building's status as of now but it seems such a shame that the government intended to demolish it. Because of it's poor condition some of the records that were kept there were damaged. Some questions that arise from hearing about this historically important building are:

1) What records, specifically, are kept at Muhafiz Khana?
2) What is being done to preserve the records?
3) How are the records organized?
4) Are the records available to the public?

..which brings me to my next question:

What needs to be done?

1) The building should be maintained properly so that the building itself is not dilapidated as well as the records
2) The damaged records should be repaired or restored if possible
3) The records should be microfilmed for preservation
4) The records should be indexed.

Yes, this means investing money and that is the problem I guess. But we also need to make people aware that our heritage and history is slipping away. If we don't do something - it will be gone forever.

If you live in Peshawar or if you're passing by, take a look at the records office at:

Muhafiz Khana
Khyber Road

What are your opinions? Do you live in Peshawar? What do you know about the building?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

He was Mohammed S.A.W

Since it's Ramadan I'm sharing this nasheed (Islamic song) with you:

I think many Muslims are mistaken when they say that genealogy creates arrogance amongst people and that it creates conflict. If your intention is pure and right then I don't think there is anything wrong with learning about your ancestors and tracing where you came from. A person should ask themselves why they are researching their family history. In the Quran it says:

[Mankind! We created you from a male and female, and made you into peoples and tribes so that you might come to know each other. The noblest among you in Allah’s sight is that one of you who best performs his duty. Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware.]
(Al-Hujurat 49:13)

Genealogical research is a way of understanding our history and learning about the people that came before us, their way of living, the events in their lives and the world they lived in. This does not mean that we should glorify our ancestors or embellish stories of our ancestry to make ourselves seem important.

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is reported to have said:

You are sons of Adam, and Adam came from dust. Let the people cease to boast about their ancestors.” (Abu Dawud)

These genealogies of yours are not a reason to revile anyone. You are all children of Adam. No one has any superiority over another except in religion and taqwa (godliness).” (Ahmad)

Especially now in the age when families are separated by geographical distance, and the attitudes of the younger generation, it's important to keep in touch with our families. Genealogy is a way for people to connect with relatives and share their heritage. More people need to understand this.

What's your opinion on this subject?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Remembering our shaheed..2

I'm posting more announcements of our shaheed (martyred) who are fighting for our country, our people and our freedom. See my first post here.

Sunday July 19th 2009

unnamed soldier lost his life in Jandola in the Bannu district. (The News)

Tuesday July 21st 2009

Six unnamed soldiers dead in Northwest Pakistan. (Yahoo News)

Thursday July 23rd 2009

An unnamed soldier was killed in a mortar attack in North Waziristan.

'Pakistan says more than 1,800 militants and 166 security personnel have been killed, but the death tolls are impossible to verify independently.' (The Nation)

Note: I can only provide you with names if I find them in the news articles I browse. If you think something needs correcting, please do leave me a message. I try my best.

We should all pray for these men and their families and recognise their courage and sacrifice for their country.

Are you related to a servicemen? Do you have memories of a loved one dying? Do you have a message for the soldiers fighting? Leave me a comment.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Looking for Answers

It's been nearly a week now since I posted the quiz so I'm pretty sure your heads must be hurting by now! Here are the answers:

1) What was the name of Mohammed Ali Jinnah's father?
Jinnahbhai Poonja

2) How many sisters did he have?
Mohammed Ali Jinnah had 3 sisters.

3) What was his mother tongue?
Gujarati. He also spoke Kutchi, Sindhi and English.

4) What was the name of his first wife?
Emibai Jinnah. She was his distant cousin. Unfortunately she passed away a few months after the marriage.

5) Name the occupation of his father.

He was a merchant.

One of our readers, Abbas, mentioned that this was a difficult quiz but I did mention that you might need to do some digging around on the internet. I'm sure many of us are a bit rusty on the facts of Jinnah's life.
Abbas, better luck next time!

So how did you do on the quiz? 5 out of 5? Let me know by leaving me a comment.

Happy 62nd Birthday Pakistan

Jashne-e-Azadi Mubarak (Happy Independence Day)

Junoon se aur ishq se
Milti hai .. azaadi

Tanzeem, ittehad, iman (unity, faith, discipline)

Qaid ka pehgam

Tanzeem ittehad iman

Khaak-e-pak mehrban

Jese ruuh jism-o-jaan
Jaanta hai saara jahan

Junoon se aur ishq se

Milti hai .. azaadi

Qurbani ki baahon main

Milti hai azaadi

Junoon se aur ishq se

Milti hai azaadi

Tauheed ijtehad nizam

Moumin ki pehchan

Tauheed ijtihad nizam

Jab sab imtehan
Zahir ghaib ka nishaan

Sar zameen-e-Pakistan

Junoon se aur ishq se

Milti hai .. azaadi

Qurbani ki baahon main

Milti hai azaadi

Junoon se aur ishq se
Milti hai azaadi


Junoon se aur ishq se

Milti hai azaadi

Qurbani ki baahon main

Milti hai azaadi

Junoon se aur ishq se
Milti hai azaadi

Qurbani ki baahon main

Milti hai azaadi

Junoon se aur ishq se

Milti hai azaadi

Azadi by Junoon

I thank Mohammed Ali Jinnah for creating Pakistan for us. Pakistan Zindabad!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Interview at The Pakistani Spectator

Recently I was asked to be interviewed by The Pakistani Spectator. It was quite unexpected since I had never heard of the website and also because I didn't really think anyone would want to interview me. Haha. It seems The Pakistani Spectator interviews bloggers from across the blogosphere and posts them on their website which holds articles from Pakistani bloggers. Well I'm not sure if my interview was the most interesting (yeah right!) but I think I managed to get my point across about genealogy and family history. So please do go check it out and read up on the many Pakistani bloggers we have.

Here's the link.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Mohammed Ali Jinnah Quiz

It's August and the time to get all patriotic. So I'm starting a quiz about Mohammad Ali Jinnah and his family. In a previous post I noted some of his family members which might be useful as well as doing some digging around on the internet to find the answers to the quiz I've made.

1) What was the name of Mohammed Ali Jinnah's father?
2) How many sisters did he have?
3) What was his mother tongue?
4) What was the name of his first wife?
5) Name the occupation of his father.

Write your answers in a comment to this post.
Answers will be posted Friday 14 August 2009! Visit the blog to check if you got them right.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Are you a Mughal?

As I was browsing the internet, I came across an article that was published back in April in the Telegraph, about a trust being opened to bring back the remains of the last Mughal Emperor and for his descendants to be traced.

Dean Nelson writes:

'Calls for Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar's body to be returned to India and to be buried along with those of his royal ancestors have steadily grown since 2007's 150th anniversary of the Indian mutiny – when "sepoys" in British army regiments massacred their officers.

The rebellion was eventually put down with great brutality in a series of bloody battles and Bahadur Shah Zafar was sent into exile in Rangoon, Burma, where he died.

Although he has been described as the "Last Mughal", there have been numerous claims from alleged descendants that Zafar's lineage continues to this day. Now a powerful trust, including influential Muslim academics, businessmen and one of India's leading Urdu poets have joined forces to establish how many Mughals remain, and seek the return of the last emperor.

Professor Aslam Pervez, an historian of Zafar's reign and a founding member of the Mughal Trust, last night told The Daily Telegraph its main aim was not simply to reunite the remaining Mughal royals, but to bring back the last Mughal to Delhi.

"There is a move that we should bring back his last remains from Rangoon and make a grave for him here in Delhi, at Mehrauli, where his father and grandfather are buried.

"There are so many people who claim to be descended. The Mughals were scattered, many ran away from Delhi, to Hyderabad, after the mutiny and no-one knows who went where," he said.

Many are believed to have fled to Calcutta, where 70 descendants have been traced by the trust, and Aurangabad where a further 200 are believed to live. Others are believed to be living in Pakistan and Burma.'

I think it's a great idea but I'm unsure about the reasons of wanting to do this. Is it for historical purposes or just to find out who his descendants are so we can help them out? The article doesn't mention how the findings will be published so I'm not sure whether the public will be able to see this famous family tree. I imagine it's gonna be a difficult task of tracing descendants, perhaps they will be using new technology such as DNA.

Now I'm not claiming to be a desecendant here but my Dad is always telling us we are Meer Mughals so how does that fit in with this? I don't know but it's all very interesting.

What do you think about this? Do you have rumours of Mughal ancestry in your family?

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Remembering our shaheed..

I've been thinking about how the British commemorate and appreciate their soldiers whether they are veterans from World War I and World War II or even the most recent ones from Afghanistan and I feel that Pakistanis don't give enough credit or support to our servicemen. The ones that risk their lives for their country and it's people. I don't think we do enough to honour their lives and their sacrifice so that the future generations can be aware of the struggles that we endured for a better future.

Since this blog is about history and searching for your ancestors, I'm going to be announcing the
shahadat (martydom) of the Pakistan Army soldiers that have been reported in the media as best as I can. It's a small contribution to remember them and preserve their memory so that their descendants and indeed future Pakistanis may know of their heroes.

Monday 18th May 2009

Major Abid Majeed Malik embraced shahadat near Nazarabad village of the Swat valley. He left behind a wife and 2 children.
Burial: Cavalry Ground graveyard, Lahore

"Major Abid Majeed Malik, a third generation soldier embraced Shahadat during his heroic bid to evacuate his injured comrades in arm. The Shaheed was commissioned in the Punjab Regiment on October 12, 1997. He leaves behind a widow and two minor children.
Major Abid Majeed Malik was laid to rest besides the permanent abode of his late father Lieutenant Colonel (retired) Abdul Majeed.

Major Abid’s mother said her son had major her a proud. “My sons have saved the country from terrorists. One has adorned martyrdom, while the other is a Ghazi,” said the proud mother. Her son Major Khalid suffered injuries during the war with the terrorists.

Ishrat, wife of Major Abid, said her husband wanted to adorn Shahadat, and the Almighty had fulfilled his wish.

At the time of his funeral, people from different walks of life were also present. They were all praise for the family of Major Abid, which has rendered innumerable services for the country. People also went to the residence of the Major Abid and offered Fateha for the departed soul." (The Nation)

Friday 5th June 2009

5 Soldiers were killed in South Waziristan Agency:
The four slain soldiers were identified as
Sepoy Shahid Khan, Raza Mohammad, Naveed Khan and Sharifuddin. In a separate incident, an unnamed soldier lost his life near Angoor Adda - a border town between South Waziristan and Afghanistan's province, Paktika. (The News)

We should all pray for these men and their families and recognise their courage and sacrifice for their country.

Are you related to a servicemen? Do you have memories of a loved one dying? Leave me a comment.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Family Tree Website

So you have the makings of a family tree with you, your parents and grandparents and it's all on pieces of paper but you're looking to share it with others and present it an easy format. Now all you need is somewhere to display it which brings me to a great website thats FREE: . You can build your tree with ease and update it with photos, dates, events and use features that allow you to make reports and charts.

To start a family tree, click 'Register' and you will be taken to a page where you will need to fill in details such as your name, country and email address as well as a website ID that will become part of your website address. Choose the ID carefully as you will not be able to change this later! Click 'Signup now' and you should be on your way.

You can limit who can view your website by changing the settings on 'privacy' so that guests may only see certain information.

I created my family tree 3 years ago and have been happy with the site, however the site is pretty basic with less features than say In the following posts I'll be telling you about other popular websites where you can not only display family trees but also share information with other researchers.

Have you got a family tree that you want to share with others? Can you suggest a better website than Tribalpages? Please leave a comment.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Pakistan National Census

I just read a news article that mentioned the national census which was planned to take place this year has been postponed to the end of the year due to problems in NWFP. Apparently this census has been postponed twice before so this is the third time. The displacement of so many people and the war against the Taliban mean it's just not possible to conduct a census within the country.

Hopefully we will get through this terrible time..

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Descendants of Mohammed Ali Jinnah

There has been a lot of confusion in the news lately about a supposed descendant of the founder of Pakistan, Mohammed Ali Jinnah. Aslam Jinnah claims to be his grandson however according to Liaquat Merchant, the grand nephew of Jinnah, there is only one grandson and his name is Nusli Wadia.

1) Poonja Gokuldas Meghji
2) Jinnahbhai Poonja (1857–1901)
3) Mohammed Ali Jinnah (1876-1948)
4) Dina Jinnah (1919- )
5) Nusli Wadia
6) Ness Wadia (1970- )

The above is the ancestry of
Ness Wadia who is the great grandson of Mohammed Ali Jinnah. Dina Jinnah who is married to Neville Wadia has 2 children, her son Nusli Wadia and a daughter.
Even if Dina Jinnah's daughter had children (I don't know if she does) their surname is not likely to be 'Jinnah'. Aslam Jinnah can not be a direct descendant of Mohammed Ali Jinnah. However he could be a distant relative but he would need to prove his ancestry to the government of Pakistan to claim any share.

Further information about the extended family:

Jinnahbhai Poonja had 2 brothers, Walji Poonja and Nathoo Poonja.
Descendants of Walji Poonja are Muhammad Ali, Jaffer Ali, Hussein Ali and Ghulam Ali.

Mohammed Ali Jinnah had 4 sisters and 2 brothers, Mariambai, Fatima Jinnah, Rehmatbai, Shirinbai and Bande Ali and Ahmed Jinnah.

Ness Wadia has a brother called Jehangir Wadia.

Are you related to anyone famous? Or do you know someone who has famous relatives? Tell me by leaving a comment.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Who do you think you are?

No, this isn't another post about identity - its the name of a British genealogy documentary series that follows celebritites in search of their roots. I've been watching this show for about a year now and its really interesting. Sometimes you get people on the show that you know really well and others well.. you don't know at all. Previously in February the sixth series was shown and now on July 22nd the seventh series will begin with Davina McCall (from Big Brother).

Well whats the Pakistani connection I hear you ask? There isn't one. It's just a really interesting show where you learn a few things!

Here's a clip from Youtube courtesy of the BBC:

Its on BBC One, probably at 9pm but not sure at the moment. And if you're not in the UK then other versions have been shown in various countries including Canada, Australia, Ireland and even Sweden and South Africa according to Wiki.

Updated 9 July: The new series is actually starting
15 July.

Monday, June 29, 2009

My Identity

I read an interesting blog post that reminded me that people sometimes distance themselves from their roots for one reason or other. I personally recall having to tell my high school classmates where I come from. Feelings of being an outsider amongst classmates from India crept in and I hesistated in telling them. There was a sense that my background was something to hide whereas they had no problem disclosing theirs. I hadnt visited Pakistan for 10 years at that time and probably felt out of touch with the place. It was as though I knew I was Pakistani but that had to be brushed to the side whilst in the company of non-Pakistanis. Living in England and being Pakistani is difficult whether you're with Indians or white people.

My thinking changed some years later when I returned to Pakistan and found my relatives to be overjoyed to see me and their eagerness to want to know me was as if I'd been away from home. The same typical trip home to our village and the heat that just hits you in the face brought back memories of past visits in my childhood. Having to speak in Punjabi fluently only having to pause and think every few minutes slowed down the conversations since English was the only language I'd ever spoken fluently. It takes a while to get the hand of it and in the mean time your cousins have a good laugh at your expense. Then came the time to go home and you didn't want to leave..

My next trip back was shorter and more intense since it was at the most hottest month in Pakistan. It was also the 14 August and I celebrated Pakistan's Independence with everyone, waking up at 6am in my excitement to experience every moment. But there was a shock to the system when someone pointed out that I wasn't born in Pakistan so why was I so happy? It stung me and for a short moment I was lost for words as anger took hold. Was I not Pakistani? Was I British and British only?

I wasn't born in Pakistan and neither were my siblings. My parents were born in Pakistan but we all hold Pakistan dear to our hearts so its sad to see when some Pakistanis trash talk about their country.

I am and shall always remain a British Pakistani. British because I was born in England and grew up here, Pakistani because I have the blood of my ancestors in me.

What are your views on your identity? Are Pakistanis ashamed to say they're Pakistani?

Friday, June 19, 2009

A 100 years ago

These are my ancestors that were alive in 1909..

Paternal side of the family:
My 3rd great grandad (age abt 39), my 2nd great grandad (age abt 19),
my great grandad (age abt 1)

Maternal side:
My great grandad (age abt 4)

P.S. These are only rough calculations.

Which of your ancestors were alive in 1909? Try finding out their age, who was in the family and where they lived.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Unrepresentative data?

Back to the discussion of censuses taking place in Pakistan and their validity, I came across a news article that claimed the past census of 1998 was seen to be flawed by certain members of the population. It seems if you're a fisherman of the Christian faith you're not likely to be on the census takers clipboard. Why is it that they're not bothering to do their job properly? Some people give political reasons as to why the government would want to 'exclude' certain religious minorities. But is that really fair?
If the census isn't taken properly, what's the use of it?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Family history video

I found this really cute and simple video about starting your family tree and I thought I would share it:

Saturday, May 16, 2009


What event or person inspired you to start your genealogy research?

For me it was my Dad and Uncle. Both began the first attempts to create a family tree of our ancestors and of relatives that were living presently in Pakistan and England. I began thinking about the branches of our family tree that were hardly mentioned. This fascination of the past led me to my interest in history that wasnt written in history books but had shaped my life and who I was. This was a personal history that linked me with many people.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Social Networking and Genealogy

I've been on Facebook for about 2 years now having only joined on a friend request from a friend. It seems the whole world has been taken over by Facebook fever that doesn't seem to be stopping or slowing down. So if you can find long lost 'friends' from your past on Facebook surely you can find long lost relatives. I guess that's the concept behind genealogists or family historians using social networking sites as a tool for their research. Keeping in touch with family from Pakistan or overseas can be made easy via Facebook. You'll find many groups that have been created solely for the purpose of keeping in touch with family members from all over the world. Some are primarily focused on creating a group especially for popular surnames such as 'Mir', 'Bukhari', 'Minhas', 'Malik', 'Khan' etc. Some even merging two surnames under one group for instance, 'Butt and Dar' and 'Baig and Mirza'. The numbers are growing for each of the groups as more and more people want to declare their surname as most popular and 'cool'.

My own group called 'My Pakistani Ancestry' is specifically for people who have an interest in researching their family history. The discussion board and the 'Wall' are great for interacting with like-minded people where you can share information with each other. I'm hoping more Facebook members will join the group in order to share and promote our heritage to the world.

Additionally there are now a rising number of Facebook applications that have been created with genealogists in mind. Some examples include, 'My Heritage', 'We're Related' and 'Family Tree'. Most of these applications allow you to build a family tree by connecting you to Facebook 'friends' that may be possible relatives. So do check these out!

What have your experiences been of using social networking sites?

Monday, April 6, 2009

Census and Yr2051

My first post on this blog ..

Did you know after Independence, the first census of Pakistan was conducted 9th February in 1951? It was decreed that a census would be taken once every 10 years. So in the year 2051 we should be able to see census information about our ancestors since it will be 100 years from the very first census. Due to privacy laws, personal information can't be made public to protect the privacy of living individuals. Its quite a long wait for anyone wanting to know about their ancestors at that time. Who knows if the Pakistan government will have kept that information safe..

What were your ancestors doing in 1951?

In 1951, my father would have been born in Pakistan. So I'm guessing he will be on the census or perhaps not if the census was not carried out properly. My grandfather and grandmother would have been in their early 20s having just recently been married.

Pakistan Census History
1) February 9 1951
2) 1961
3) 1972 - delayed due to war with India
4) 1981
March 8 1998 - population census begins in the country
6) 2002

Update: According to a news article the sixth National Census is to be taken in 2009, beginning with a
'House Listing Operation' from April 27 continuing till May 11. The second phase of the Census which will cover 'Population & Housing Census' will be carried out in October, 2009.
Does that mean the above information is incorrect? Was there no Census taken in 2002?