Tom Kemp, from GenealogyBank.com forwarded this story, which will bring tears to the eyes of any family historian:
FAMILY RECORDS OF MAITHIL BRAMINS LOST--------------------------------------------------------
By Pranava K Chaudhary
SAURATH (MADHUBANI): Maithil Brahmins, who have a rich cultural legacy,
still fix marriages of their children after getting a nod from "panjikars"
In fact, in India any one can trace the ancestral background of Maithil Brahmins by scanning genealogical records (hereditary tree) of the community. But many will now find it difficult to do so.
The reason: Lakhs of rare "talpatras" (palm leaves) with ancestral details of thousands of Maithil Brahmins have allegedly been sold by a local middleman to a US agency.
"A middleman of a nearby Mangrauni village has sold almost all my records of last 10 generations, numbering about 70,000 pages, of Maithil Brahmin families to an American on the pretext of documenting them, said an octogenarian "panjikar", Hare Krishna Jha.
"All my records have been lost for ever. Now, I am not in a position to reassemble them because of hearing problem," he said.
Jha said a local gang is engaged in the business of selling historical records to a US agency. "I am not the only victim, the same person had also taken away priceless collection of generation old palm leaf records of other known "panjikars" like Khurkhur Mishra, Vishwa Mohan Mishra and Bishni Mishra," Jha said.
"The middleman gave me Rs 4,000, at the rate of 10 paise per leaf, to get my all records printed. After sometime, he dumped the records in gunny bags at my home, without handing over the printed version. Later, I found many pages were torn and hundreds of them missing," he alleged.
For the rest of the story see:
DearREADERS, this story points out the necessity of preserving our family heritage including photos, old documents and our compiled family history. Since you all have computers, you've got the tools necessary to get the job done. Have you got enough GUMPTION? Let's begin anew to get those documents scanned, so that damage to the originals won't leave us empty-handed like Jha in this sad story above.
Happy family tree climbing!
Your friend in genealogy.
(c) 2007 All Rights Reserved.