As mentioned at the start of this series of posts on indentured Indian migrants in Natal, for a family historian to make progress towards a clearer picture of the ancestors’ lives is not a simple matter.
However, a good rule in any ancestry research is to think laterally, especially if you have limited basic information. Instead of attempting to pinpoint your migrant directly by unsuccessfully combing the Migrants Index, try beginning with the current generation, yourself and other living relatives, then the previous generation and gradually working back. It’s surprising how many clues such as an Indentured Number or a marriage record can be collected along the way which could lead to a correct identification of the migrant. Deceased estate files of any of the migrant’s direct descendants can provide useful detail; search for these on NAAIRS. You may have to be imaginative in your search terms if there is more than one possible name for the family members (a family name, a ‘house’ name, a nickname, even an alias).
|Grey Street taken from Queen St towards the Bay ca 1900; Grey St|
mosque at right.
*Madras had a harbour problem similar to Durban's:
'...vessels of heavy burthen are obliged to moor in the roads - about two miles from the fort. A strong current runs along the coast, and a tremendous surf breaks on the shore, rendering it difficult to land even in the calmest weather. In crossing this surf the natives use boats of a peculiar construction, built of very thin planks laced together, and made as pliable as possible. The boats from the vessels often row to the outside of the surf, and wait for the masulah boats to take the passengers on shore.'http://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/india-madras-chennai-fort-saint-112960023
Other useful links:
An Outline of Indian South African History 1860-1960