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Saturday, Oct 23, 2021
Outlook.com

My Grandad's Dossier

Oral cues, village records, colonial files—it's a glut of material

My Grandad's Dossier
Abhijit Bhatlekar
My Grandad's Dossier
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

How does an expat Goan go about tracing his roots? Says Dr Teotonio R. de Souza, former director of the Xavier Centre of Historical Research in Goa and now a professor in Lisbon: "Start with oral traditions in the family or in the village. They provide clues for further research on family links." One start could be made from the village 'comunidades' (age-old land-controlling village groups) or 'vangods' (extended clan). Hindu Goans are connected with a temple deity which could be another line of inquiry. Judicial records like 'inventarios' (family-property inheritances), priestly ordination records and land registers (called 'forais', 'tombos') are other important sources for tracing families that owned lands in various villages right from the 16th century. Then there are civil registration records, church data and marriage certificates.

In Portugal, de Souza recently came across a "whole dossier of the Inquisition from the mid-19th century" which mentioned many north Goa families. (Goa's Catholic Inquisition is believed to have been among the...

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