Welcome .. Namaste...Hello...
Welcome, family, to the second edition (rev2) of my "India" story. The work is designed, primarily, to instruct and amuse my children and grandchildren, and me. It is restricted to the years in India, so you will find little of our life in England or Canada or the US.
For those of you who are interested (or bored) after reading some of this work, the credit goes to Janice, the blame to me. Janice has kept a steady pressure on me for some time now to write my "India story" for posterity. So, posterity--here it is. It may be a little long. Or perhaps a lot long. But then you don't have to read it all. One of the purposes of this preface is to guide you around this probably overly long screed so that you can choose what you want to read -- and print.
In this rev I have taken the time to look more deeply into answers to questions which have long intrigued me:
In addition, I have taken the time to refresh my memory and to answer the more personal questions:
This is the frame on which this work is hung.
Superficially, the first set of questions is easily answered. The Genealogy section covers the details. On the male side we are descended from two British soldiers, Thomas Blanchett and Robert Roberts who went to India in the early years of the 19th century. These men married women in India and raised their families in India. The genealogy of their wives is unclear. Judging by their names, and doing a little historical extrapolation, it is likely that the ancestors of our early 19th century female progenitors were Indo European and/or Indian women who married Europeans, and the offspring of Europeans.
In this document I trace the lineage and history of only the direct descendants of the two male ancestors of my mother and father who went to India from England. This covers the period from approximately 1780 to 1949. I particularly want to thank cousins Richard Blanchette, George Edmiston and Cecile (Baptiste) Hinton for their patience in putting up with my frequent requests. In addition to the data in this memoir, I have a lot of old family photographs and documents from them and from a variety of other sources which I plan to add to this memoir as time goes on.
The second question fascinates me the most (surprise! surprise!). Here I have developed a wealth of data. Some of these data are scattered through the sections "Preface", "Genealogy", "An Indian Childhood", and "Colonialism and The Raj".
I have chosen to answer the third question by describing my 16 years in India in what to me is excruciating detail. You will find this narrative in "An Indian Childhood". If it is too much I apologize--Janice made me do it! If it is not enough contact me and I will consider adding more. To those who participated in these years and are old enough to remember things differently I apologize. Memory limits and distorts. I attempted to refresh my memory of India during a three week trip Paddy and Janice and I took to India at the end of 1998 I have updated some of the 1940's recollections with the results of our visit 50 years later.
My siblings and my cousin Richard Blanchette shared the life I describe here, yet I mention them only very occasionally. I decided on this strategy for many reasons. Russell is the only one of my siblings with any even vague recollection of India. Also, I have rendered some very personal judgments on Indo-British matters and in no way do I want to associate any one else with them. And, most important, I have a lousy memory and don't remember a lot about my siblings in India.Site Organization and Navigation
As those of you who have read rev1 know, I found that organizing the site and setting up a navigation system around the site was a non trivial exercise. In rev1 I was very conscious of the fact that most readers would have "dial up" connections, so I kept photos small and to the minimum and web pages as small as possible. In rev2 I have pandered more to those readers with broadband connections and to those who can copy content to, and read CD's or DVD's.
From the Table of Contents on your right, you will see that I have organized the information into four major sections. The first is a "Preface" which you are now reading. The other three are "An Indian Childhood", "Genealogy" and "Colonialism and The Raj".
The Preface "contains" four short summary sections -- "Full Circle", "Empire", "The Raj and Us" and "India". For navigational purposes I will call these "child" pages of the Preface. I recommend you first read this "Preface", and then "Full Circle", "The Empire", "The Raj and Us" and "India" in that order. The other two major sections, An Indian Childhood and Genealogy should make a lot more sense that way. Each of these sections contains many child pages.
"Colonialism and The Raj" is a short stand alone section. It is intended to provide a historical context for the development and demise of the Empire, The Raj and Anglo-Indian life. This section is very much a work in progress and is only in the early stages.
A Printed Copy?
Several family members have requested a printed copy of the Memoir. In this version I have designed the width of each "web page" I have written so that most readers can print each of them on an 8.5 inch wide sheet. Each of these web pages will provide somewhere between 2 and 9 printed 8.5x11 inch pages.
I used the phrase "..each web page I have written.." because almost every web page I have written is linked to several other pages (and images) I have not created. These linked pages and images are not identified in the Table of Contents (TOC) and are not always easily printable. There are also a hell of a lot of them and they will only grow with time! The 29 TOC pages contain in the region of 2 Megabytes, or less than one thirtieth of the total memoir of near 60 Megabytes. The 29 TOC web pages add up to approximately 100 printed pages. Printing the entire memoir would entail printing in the region of 2000 to 3000 pages!
If you want to eventually read some of the links and look at decent sized color photographs, you are just going to have to put up with a computer screen!! For those of us who much prefer the printed page, printing out the particular web page which interests us and looking at the links on screen is probably the best compromise.
Since this is a private communication I have shamelessly copied some "copyright" material off the web and added it to this site as linked pages. I have done this mostly to avoid "link rot". In all cases I plan to add the url of the page I have copied. The copied sections are obvious--as you will see. When you click on the links to take you to these copied pages, you will need to use your back button on your browser to get back to the page you were reading. These "non original" pages have yet more links which will take you into the world wide web and off my site. Here too using the back button on your browser will (eventually) bring you back to this site.
I will be adding references--there are an awful lot-- as time goes on This is a work in progress and I fully intend to add and amend as the spirit moves me. Meanwhile you all know my e-mail -- firstname.lastname@example.org so don't hesitate to write. On to Full Circle