24    Mar 20095 comments

From India to Dubai: The Saleem family’s online

This Story was sent to us by Hasan Altaf Saleem, who has managed to get 221 relatives as members on his family site. Next are plans for a family reunion. Read his story here:

The Saleem Family on MyHeritage A couple of years ago I was away from home, thinking about where my family came from and who actually constitutes the "whole" family. I made a basic immediate-family website but was not satisfied with it. With renewed resolve I started out making a little overview using charting software (omnigraffle and visio) and soon, I had my immediate family all mapped out and wanted to grow it. In order to keep it organized and readily accessible, I went online for some genealogy services. That is when I came across MyHeritage.

My immediate family has been living in Pakistan since before India's partition. My earlier ancestors, however, moved from India to what is now Pakistan. They moved to, and set up industry in a city called Chinyot. I was born in Multan, and brought up in Faisalabad not very far from Chinyot (though, I have never been to Chinyot). In 1992 my family moved from Faisalabad to Lahore where we have lived ever since.

I don't know if I'd call myself professional just yet, but I am certainly the family genealogist right now. Once I developed a serious interest in my family's history, I used a tree of a distant uncle who had around 40 people in his tree, and grew it to the present tree containing nearly 1000 people. Of course I got a lot of help from family members for "research" purposes. It was mostly my grandfather (from my mum's side) and my father and uncle (for my dad's side) who helped me. For the most part 4-5 people helped me put it together. Though not all are active, I now have 221 members on the family site.

I learnt that Mian Ali Sher Shaheed is the farthest traceable ancestor of our family. He lived in Delhi and Agra during the regime of the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb Alamgir. His family/clan are called Rajput Magoon. Mian Ali Sher was martyred on 14th January 1761 at the Third Battle of Panipat (the link gives details about the battle) where he is buried in Mazar Bu Ali Qalandar, Panipat, India. His specific role in the battle is not well documented except that he participated and was killed in action. I belong to Ali Sher's eighteenth generation of descendents.

I discovered new people in the family when they started getting in touch through email or web-based networks when they heard of the genealogy project. One of these people who contacted me when she found out that I am working on this, gave me her name and told me she 'knew' me. I talked to my father and asked if he knew her since she claimed to know my family well. It turned out it was his first-cousin's daughter who had married and been living in Dubai---coincidently, I was also working in Dubai at the time. I had known her brothers and sister but I never knew she existed.

I like MyHeritage because it is a highly interactive website and I love it in many ways. Whenever I come up with a new feature idea I'm sure to share with with the MyHeritage team and always receive a positive response. I have had many smart-matches on my tree, however, many are a result of other people basing their family trees on the one I started.

As for further research, I have to depend on family members to keep updating their information and adding more since there are no extensive birth/death records or census databases that are accessible in order to find historic records. I would like the family to take an even more active part on the site by adding more pictures etc. A few of us have been trying to put together a grand family reunion, hopefully we'll manage to get more people involved and make it happen.

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Comments (5) Trackbacks (0)
  1. Very interesting information.
    Great job done
  2. The idea was superb! However, there is much more that can be done. This can become a community for the descendants of Haji Pir Muhammad. To make people more active here you will have to introduce something new otherwise facebook and MSN messenger are preferred. The only use I can figure out so far is for tracing links for different people, although important but members in this case will not be active. Images won't do the trick rather communication can be worthwhile, celebration of events, etc etc.
  3. wow thats an inspiring story, i am gonna start making a family tree too
  4. I found your research very interesting. Good job my friend and good luck
  5. Great Effort, unless U have a will, there is no light at the end of the tunnel.
    God bless, U. i started few weeks ago, and am addicted to it, keep on writing emails to all people around the globe with same surname. U get a joy, when U get replies, but then U start looking at yet another angle, and that all what U need to go about it.
    Let us hope lot many people come up, so that before the end of this century, we Asians also have complete genealogy available, not with only pandas but for the world to progress the research. A Talwar, AKL, NZ

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