This includes records from 1194 to 2015 pilgrimage records are kept by Pandits in India. The records can be for people and families making pilgrimages from numerous places throughout India. These records are created and updated when family members pass on. No women are mentioned unless their deaths are referred to indirectly.
The ancient custom of keeping family genealogies is not well-known today to Indians settled abroad. Professional Hindu Brahmin Pandits, popularly known as "Pandas", kept detailed family genealogies over the past several generations at the Hindu holy city of Haridwar. The registers are handwritten, having been passed down to them over generations by their Pandit ancestors, and are classified according to original districts and villages of one's ancestors. Special designated Pandit families are in charge of designated district registers, including ancestral districts and villages that were left behind when Hindus had to migrate from Pakistan to India after the Partition of India.
Haridwar from opposite bank of the Ganges 1866
In several cases, present-day Hindu descendants are now Sikhs, Muslims, and even Christians. It is not uncommon for researchers to find details of up to or even more than their past seven generations in these genealogy registers.Hindu ancestors have visited the holy town of Haridwar for centuries for various religious and cultural purposes, including:
* Religious pilgrimage
* Cremation of their dead
* Immersion of a kin member's cremated remains into the holy river Ganges
For centuries, Hindu ancestors who have visited Haridwar for any of these purposes also visit the Pandit in charge of their family registers and update the family's genealogical family tree with details of all marriages, births, and deaths in the extended joint family.
In present-day India, people visiting Haridwar are dumbfounded when Pundits unexpectedly step forward and invite them to come update their very own ancestral genealogical family tree. The news of a visiting family travels quickly to the Pandit in charge of their district.
With Hindu joint family system having broken down into nuclear families, the Pandits prefer visitors to Haridwar to come prepared after getting in touch with all of their extended family and to bring all relevant genealogical events, such as:
* Ancestral district and village
* Names of grandparents and great grandparents
They also ask for as much information as is possible about the families they are marrying into. A visiting family member is required to personally sign the family genealogical register furnished by his or her personal family Panda after updating it for future family visitors and generations to see and to authenticate the updated entries. Friends and other family members accompanying on the visit may also be requested to sign as witnesses.