British siblings in Bihar in search of roots

January 11th, 2009 - 3:15 pm ICT by IANS  

Patna, Jan 11 (IANS) A British brother and sister are in Bihar in search of their roots. They are trying to find places visited by their great grandfather who worked for the East India Company and also trace their other siblings in India.Mark Davies and his sister Emma, both in their 40s, say they are the sixth generation descendants of Mathew Leslie, who served and died in Bihar in the early 19th century.

“We are here to trace our roots and would love to identify and visit places associated with our great grandfather,” said Davies, a historian from Oxford.

Emma said they were carrying some documents as proof to establish their blood relation with Leslie. “We have with us a copy of Leslie’s will, dated 1803,” she said.

Documents mentioned that Leslie died on his way to Varanasi from Patna near Bihia (now Bhojpur district). However, there is no information about his grave.

Davies and Emma said the documents mentioned that in 1811 there was a small township Leslieganj, named after Mathew Leslie, near Patna.

“We will spend some days in Patna and try to locate the place which was Leslieganj,” Davies said.

“We will meet government officials on Monday and seek their help to fulfil our mission of tracing our roots in Bihar,” Emma added.

Leslie married three Indian Muslim women and had half a dozen children from them. “Our mother was also an Indian Muslim and we wish to know about our other brothers and sisters,” she said.

According to East India Company’s directory, Leslie was the third Judge of Appeals in Patna in 1798, second Judge of Appeals in 1800 and later became a senior judge of Benares (now Varanasi).

Davies and Emma also visited Kolkata and Jharkhand in search of more information about Leslie before coming to Bihar.

“We did not get much information from Kolkata and Jharkhand. Our last hope is Bihar as our great grandfather lived and died here,” Davies said.

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