Genealogy is the study of families, family histories, and tracing of lineages. Information can be discovered through oral interviews, historical records, and genetic analyses.
The purpose of the narrative was to use genealogical data to create my own family history. Using 23andme I was able to trace the ancestors of my maternal haplogroup as they moved out of Africa approximately 60,000 years ago. My most recent maternal haplogroup is M3a2. Family interviews were also conducted to acquire information on my genealogical tree, as well as family histories and photos. I also used genealogical databases, including myheritage.com, in order to build my family tree.
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Lineage from my Mitochondrial DNA
Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is an important tool to show the last common female ancestor of an individual. My maternal line starts with a single woman who lived in eastern Africa between 150,000 and 200,000 years ago. From a haplogroup of L, another branch arose of haplogroup L3 from a woman who lived in eastern Africa between 60,000 and 70,000 years ago. A small group of African descendants crossed the Red Sea, likely across the narrow Bab-el-Mandeb into the tip of the Arabian Peninsula. The next closest branch that extended out was haplogroup M. Haplogroup M is one of two groups that branched from haplogroup L3 soon after humans ventured out of Africa about 60,000 years ago. They ventured into southern and eastern Asia, and more branches split off from them as well. Haplogroup M migrated along the coast of the Indian Ocean, reaching southeastern Asia within a few thousand years. After the Ice Age, people migrated inland, such as along the Indus River. The inland groups gave rise to more groups throughout Asia. Today, I share my haplogroup with the maternal-line descendants of the common ancestor of M3a2. I did not test a Y chromosome so I do not have a paternal haplogroup.
My ancestry composition says I am 100% south Indian. It shows that I have strongest connections to the state of Andhra Pradesh and second strongest connections to Telangana. However, all my grandparents from both parents’ sides are from Telangana.
My maternal grandfather Ekamber Dundoo was born on March 21st, 1936, and died on October 31st, 2005. My maternal grandmother was born on June 27th, 1940. My grandparents were married on December 9th, 1950, when she was 10 and he was 14. During that time period, child marriage was prevalent in India and was often considered the norm.
For the past 7-8 generations the Dundoo family has been living in Secunderabad, Telangana in India. Their ancestors before that were from Dundoowada.
My grandparents had 4 children: 3 girls and 1 boy. Of my grandparents’ children, my parents were the first and only ones to move out of India. My mother was the second out of her whole family to move to America and become a doctor. They had my brother in India, and then they moved to London, New York, Michigan (where I was born), and then finally settled down and got jobs as physicians in Maryland.
Great Grandparents (Maternal)
During the Razakar period between 1947 and 1948, my great grandfather Balanarsiah Dundoo fled to Bangalore, Karnataka, with his 8 children. His family lived in a rented house near my aunt’s present-day house. The Razakars were a militia who oppressed the landholding Hindus and wanted the Nizam to accede to Pakistan, which supported the Razakar movement. My great-grandfather fled the state out of fear of being killed or forcibly converted by Islamic Muslims. They lived in Bangalore as refugees for around 8 months. During this time, they attended a public school due to its free cost of tuition and to keep a low profile. This also meant they had to attend the same school as their servants’ kids. My great grandmother Kantamma and her family fled to Mysore, Karnataka. Hyderabad did not accede to the dominion of India in 1947, when India got its independence from the British, because it was a princely state (Britannica, 2019). Many princely states became part of India in 1948, whereas the rest of India became independent on August 15th, 1947. Princely states were ruled by kings and Nizams. During that time, the state of Hyderabad included Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, parts of Maharashtra, and Madras Presidency, which were ruled by Nizam Mir Sir Osman Ali Khan of Asaf Jah VII dynasty. Asaf Jah was the viceroy of the Deccan under the Mughal Empire. Soon, the Razakars finally took over Hyderabad. Many Hindu families, like my great grandfather’s, fled from the Muslim Razakars disguised in Burkhas. In September of 1948, India invaded the State of Hyderabad through Operation Polo and overthrew the Nizam (Britannica, 2019). Once Hyderabad was declared independent, they returned to their home. Fortunately, all the properties of the Dundoo family were safe guarded, ironically and mostly, by their Muslim friends.
The Dundoo family belonged to the business community. They were initially into trading of grains and also supplied to the British. The Dundoo mansion, which is in Hyderabad and is where the majority of my family stays when I visit India, is almost 100 years old. Later, they went into trading rice mills, oil mills, and hotels. They owned almost the whole of Rashtrapati Road, a metropolitan area.
The family supplied steel to the South-Central Railways. They were the only two families in south India that made steel toilets and berths for the southern Railways.
In addition, the family sold burgers at midnight when many people would come to eat after watching movies at the theater. The burgers were cheap and convenient and became famous.
Balanarsiah and Kantamma had a dozen children, but four of them died during child birth or while young children from plague, which was rampant during the 1930-1940s. A house across from Dundoo Mansion was used to isolate plague patients.
My grandmother’s father was a lawyer and my grandfather’s father was a graduate in Arts. My grandfather was a post graduate from Osmania University and got my grandmother to study for her home science diploma after marriage.
Initially into trading of food grains, under the guidance and management of my great great grandfather Augiah Dundoo, my great grandfather Balanarsiah Dundoo, and Augiah’s nephew Pentaiah Dundoo, the family ventured into industry. They created the Dundoo Rice Mills for polishing rice. In collaboration with Birlas, they manufactured a substitute for margarine. Dundoo Metal Industries was created to manufacture rolling steel, metal sheets, and other allied items. The Dundoo Oil Industries at Wanaparthy was also formed. Another oil mill was started at Azambad, Hyderabad, where refined groundnut oil was manufactured and sold under the brand “Chakram.” This brand became famous for its purity and ethics. My grandfather also worked in the family business and my aunt said that she would not see him for days sometimes as he would travel to Bombay, Delhi, and other cities. Another industry was Venkateshwara Roller Flour Mills, which manufactured Maida Sooji, Atta, and Bran- Indian flour types. It was the number one flour seller in the former Andhra Pradesh. Following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, my grandfather Ekamber Dundoo formed and managed Hotel Parklane, a major business that was the first star hotel of Andhra Pradesh. Many international and national icons visited, such as Mohammad Ali, Omar Shariff, Amitabh Bachchan (famous Indian actor), many politicians, movie stars, industrialists, etc. Parklane was considered prestigious to visit or host celebrations in. Being centrally located in the commercial hub of the twin cities Hyderabad and Secunderabad, the hotel was a popular place among the young and many others as well. The Dundoo family were full of forward thinkers and great businessmen.
The wives in these stories performed domestic roles. However, with the amount of aunts, uncles, children, and siblings, they cooked for about 60 people a day. Their roles as caretakers were extremely vital in tending to the needs of the whole mansion.
My great-great-grandparents were also avid philanthropists. They conferred the title of Rao Saheb Dewan Bahadur, which was a title bestowed during British rule in India to individuals who generously donated to the community. Donations included gold, silver, diamonds and land to the poor. They performed a ritual that is not common nowadays called Thula Bharam. During this ritual, they would sit on a weighing scale and place an equivalent amount of gold, silver, diamonds, or other goods on the other side of the scale. This amount would then be donated to charity. In addition, they provided land to the poor for shelter, founded a temple named Geetha Bhavan, and created schools for the less fortunate. My great grandparents also created Veda Patshalas, which are schools for the Brahmin, or priestly caste of Indians, to continue learning scripture.
My paternal grandfather Murali Manohar Gattu was born on July 7th, 1937 and my paternal grandmother Sneha Prabha Madisetty was born on November 23rd, 1943. They had four children: my father, my two aunts, and my uncle. Each of them married and had one child. They were married on May 10th, 1959. They also had an arranged marriage at an early age, and they currently live in Karimnagar, India. My grandfather is a pediatrician, just like my father, and my grandmother takes care of the home and tends to the needs of her family.
Great- Grandparents (Paternal)
My great-grandfather’s, or my father’s maternal grandfather’s name was Lakshmi Narayana Madisetty. Originally, he was born in a reputed business family in Jangoan village in district of Warangal. They were the Jagirdars for 6 villagers, which means that they were appointed by the nizam to collect taxes from the villagers and take care of the village. They had rice mills in Jangaon. At the age of 16 he moved to Warangal due to family issues. By then he was married to a girl named Shyamala from Warangal. After leaving his native place he started his own business in Warangal. He tried his luck in many businesses like Dunlop Tyres Agency, Burmashell Petrol Bunk, Cinema Theatre, and so on. He was successful in his business, but his sons could not take over like him. Additionally, he served as member of Madras film chamber, and he maintained very good public relations. He died in 1978.
My great-grandmother was born in the Siddamsetty family of Warangal. Her name was Mallanna Siddamsetty. They were into the wool business, which was the only leading company in the former Andhra Pradesh. They earned a lot in that and spread their wings into many other businesses, such as rice mills, movie theaters, etc. She was very fond of education, but in those days girls were not permitted to go to schools, especially in rich families. However, without her grandfather’s knowledge, she used to attend school by spending her pocket money when he was in his prayer ceremony. She was my aunt’s inspiration for studying home science. She was a very pious lady, and she died in 1979.
My other great-grandfather’s name was Narayana Gattu. His father‘s name was Pullanna. They were from Jagitial, Karimnagar district. They were basically agriculturists. My grandfather was a self-made man. He earned a lot by his hard work and discipline. He was mainly in the gold business and was a cloth merchant too. He earned a good name in society. Unfortunately, he lost his wife at an early age, and he led a principled life as a philanthropist until the end. He died in 2000.
My other great-grandmother was also from the same place. I could not obtain much information about, but her name was Satyamma, and she died in her forties when my aunt was in 2nd grade.
Gattu, Rishma, "Uncovering the Past: My Family History" (2021). Genetics and Genealogy Family History Narratives. 18.