Greetings from England!

August 5, 2008


I thought that you may like to see this, the original of which has come to light from amongst papers discovered during the course of my research into my family history.


I am certain that the item dates from 1846, and invites one of two of my great great-aunts, or possibly my great grandmother, (all Miss Burroughs at the time), to the family celebration of the event referred to in the biography of Khwaja Alimullah on your website:


“In 1846, Khwaja Alimullah made a waqfnama turning all his property, landed and otherwise, into an indivisible family concern. He appointed his second son Khwaja Abdul Ghani Mia Mutawalli (Administrator) of the waqf.”


The Miss Burroughs referred to would be one of Caroline Letitia Mary Burroughs or Clara Traill Burroughs (my great great-aunts), or Emma Louisa Burroughs (my great grandmother).  It is, possibly, most likely that the invitation was Caroline’s – she was aged 10 in 1846, whereas Clara and Emma were just 8 and 7 respectively.


Their father (my great great grandfather) was Frederick William Burroughs (a Captain at the time, later Major General) of the 17th Native Infantry, and their elder brother was Frederick William Traill Burroughs (eventually a Lieutenant General). Captain Burroughs is known to have been stationed in Dacca (Dhaka) around this time.


The children with the forenames of Traill are so named after the second husband of Captain Burroughs’ grandmother (Mary Colebrooke, the sister of Sir Henry Thomas Colebrooke) – he was George William Traill, who, in 1817, became the second British Commissioner of Kumaon at the age of 24, and remained in that post for the next 19 years.


I hope that you will find this to be of interest. I would be pleased to let you have a higher resolution copy (275KB) of the original of the invitation should you so wish.


Yours sincerely,


William Tracy 


5 Responses to “Greetings from England!”

  1. Anas Khwaja Says:

    Thanks for sharing the invitation card. This is very interesting.
    However I disagree with you that the invitation card ifs from 1846.

    Nawab Ahsanullah was born on the 22nd of August 1846 (refer to Wikipedia). This invitation card is dated 18th of April. If that is true than the invitation date precedes the birth date.

    It is also less likely to extend invitation card to a minor -Caroline (10), Clara (8) and Emma (7).

    I believe this card must be from a later year.
    Thanks again.
    Anas Khwaja

  2. William Tracy Says:

    I see your points

    I had noted the birth date of the Nawab Ahsanullah, who you mention, from Wikipedia or elsewhere, but had assumed that there was an earlier born member of the family with the same name.

    Notwithstanding, we believe that Captain (later Major General) Burroughs and some of his family remained in India until about 1870 (including 3 daughters who remained unmarried at that time, and could therefore be correctly addressed as ‘Miss Burroughs’) – and so the alternative must be that the invitation dates from about 1868, when, according to the biography of Nawab Ahsanullah on your website, he took over the management of the family estate – presumably succeeding K.Abdul Ghani.

    This, in actual fact, would also ‘fit’ better with the fact that we have family photographs taken in, or of, Dacca – photography was, of course, unheard of (or nearly so, perhaps) in 1846, but had become relatively commonplace by the 1860’s or thereabouts.

    What a pity it is that the invitation does seem to mark the original making of the waqfnama – but, nevertheless, I still hope that it will be of some interest.

    William Tracy

    PS I must correct a mis-statement in the penultimate paragraph of my first email (of 5th August). The paragraph should have read:

    The children with the forenames of Traill are so named after the son of Captain Burroughs’ grandmother (Mary Colebrooke, the sister of Sir Henry Thomas Colebrooke) by her second husband, William Traill – he was George William Traill, who, in 1817, became the second British Commissioner of Kumaon at the age of 24, and remained in that post for the next 19 years.

  3. Anas Nasarullah Says:

    very interesting. It would be great if we can get to the the photos taken at that time.

  4. Anas Khwaja Says:

    The year is 1870. I am quoting from a book by Dr.Alamgir who is the subject matter expert.
    Anas Khwaja

    11 September 1868:
    Khwaja Ahsanullah was appointed the Motawalli of the Estate by Khwaja Abdul Ghani with consultation of the other family members.

    18 April -19 April 1870:
    Party was thrown at Ahsan Manzil to elegize Khwaja Abdul Ghani’s retirement and Khwaja Ahsanullah’s appointment as Motawalli.

    Page 30, Ahsan Manzil O Dhakar Nawab By Dr Md Alamgir

  5. William Tracy Says:

    Thank you very much indeed for this information.

    It is very pleasing to be able to pinpoint the date of the original item in my family’s archive with such accuracy, and I also hope that the copy of the invitation will be a welcome addition to your collection.

    As I said in my first message, if you or anyone else would like to receive a higher resolution (275KB) version than that sent previously (which was about 35KB), then please let me know.

    In response to the post by Anas Nasarullah (5 August) regarding the photographs that we have and which are believed to have been taken in Dacca at around the same time that the invitation was sent to my great great-aunt, then I am afraid that, apart from a couple of small portraits of members of our family, there are only two.

    One is of a Mrs Reily, who, we believe, may have been the widow of a Dacca based Indian Civil Service official, and the other is of her house – the notation says that it is in Dacca, but no more than that.

    If either of these are of any significance to anyone, then, again, I would be pleased to provide a copy or copies.

    Lastly, please note that William is my given name, and Tracy is my surname.


    William Tracy

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