A few days ago I decided to Google my paternal grandfather’s name. I knew he had lived in India and that my father was born there during that time but I was puzzled as to how I got my olive complexion. The family photos of my grandfather and his children suggested an Anglo- Indian bloodline but the records suggested that his ancestry and that of my paternal grandmother was only English.
There were various theories in our family including a suspicion my grandfather may have had a ‘relationship’ with a servant but although that might explain my father’s complexion his baptism records suggested his mother was English and it also didn’t explain why my grandfather looked distinctly Anglo-Indian too.
Now all has been revealed. The Googeling turned up a genealogy chart that traced my grandfather, Reginald Richard Bazley O’Hara back to my great great great grandfather, Lawrence O’Hara, who married an Indian woman. Her name was shown as Gungah, which I assume was her surname. They had one son, George, and that was the start of the Anglo-Indian chain.
Naturally, this news has caused some excitement within my family. Now the next question was why the Indian side was not being diluted with each new generation. By my calculations I would be 1/64th Indian and although there can be occasional ‘throwbacks’ it was more probable that I should be fair rather than olive complexion. My ‘skinny’ ankles were also described to me once as ‘very Indian.’
Since my discovery of this information I’ve posted the revelations on my Facebook page.
So here’s more on the family tree for those who are interested:-
I’ve been told by my newly-found relation who is researching the family tree that although George was the first of the Anglo-Indians in our family it’s likely that he married into an Anglo-Indian family too.
He said “Although I strongly suspect that it is not all down to George’s mother, as an anglo-indian brought up in the Lawrence Orphanage his (George’s) profession as an apothecary was pretty much determined for him and his life choices for marriage would have been pretty much only within the anglo-indian community. You will notice that George’s wife Elizabeth’s father was also an apothecary and most probably also anglo-indian. Only the British became surgeons! Your grandfather was born in Blacktown and the church he was baptised in was primarily an anglo-indian church.”
So it seems that once George was born he and his children and descendants for some generations were ‘limited’ in their choices of marriage partners and most probably married other Anglo-Indians. If that’s the case the effect would be to continue the Indian bloodline, and hence our beautiful olive complexion, rather than diluting it with every generation. So I could well be closer to half Indian than 1/64th. Fantastic.
This seems to be reinforced by his statement that the church my grandfather was baptised in was primarily Anglo-Indian. Also, photos of my grandfather and to some extent, my father, suggest there is still a strong Indian connection.