This post is part of the Anglo-Indian Project Holiday Season series 2017
The discovery of generation seven raised the question: Was everyone called John in early-19th century India?
John Pereira’s father (of the same name) John Pereira, Isabella De Silva’s father John De Silva and Mary Ann Lee’s father John Lee. Also found was William Hassett’s father [???] Hassett – first name unknown, but based on the gathered evidence so far, it wouldn’t be far-fetched to assume it was John Hassett (although there is no evidence of this, yet).
John was one of the most popular English names in the 17th century through to the mid-Twentieth century. John is a ‘traditional’ and ‘Biblical’ name, which enjoyed enormous popularity in Europe throughout the Christian era, being given in honour of St. John the Baptist, precursor of Christ, and of St. John the Evangelist, author of the fourth gospel. It is not surprising that India saw an increase in the name John during the early nineteenth century given the influence of the East India Company and the British Raaj from the mid-nineteenth century.
The oldest names discovered so far are:
1. John Pereira (snr) – the father of John Pereira (jnr) can be found on the marriage record of John Pereira (jnr) and Mary Ann Lee.
2. John Lee – father of Mary Ann Lee can also be found on the marriage record of William Hassett (snr) and Isabella De Silva (as above).
3. (?) Hassett – the father of William Hassett (snr) can be found on the marriage record of William Hassett (snr) and Isabella De Silva.
4. John De Silva – father of Isabella De Silva can also be found on the marriage record of William Hassett (snr) and Isabella De Silva.