I am on a journey to discover my paternal family’s past, from early 19th century Colonial Burma until ….well, now. Come with me as I explore this exotic country in person; by reading articles and books, as well as researching online and in libraries. I will tell the stories, cook the food, show the sights and try to make that lost world come alive.

17 Responses to About

  1. Ruth Williams says:

    I love your blog and you write so beautifully. You are so lucky to be able to tell these stories for others to enjoy. My family were from Burma and India but mother never talked about her experiences there so us kids were never encouraged to probe any further. Sadly now in her 80s she has little memory of her Burma history and cannot remember details of “trekking out” with her family, luckily by plane to India. Her stay in evacuee camps went undocumented. Thank you for sharing your stories.
    I await your next installment.
    Ruth ABL member

    • Chinthe Chaser says:

      Thank you, Ruth. I have been a bit slow putting more on the blog but will try harder! I saw the photos you took of the church in Rangoon on the ABL site; they are excellent.


    • richard carlyon says:

      Have just found Chasing Chinthes. Am a direct descendant of Mackertich Minas/Minus.He was my grandmother’s grandfather. My doctorate in History deals with Armenian merchants in Asia.(Royal Holloway Univ.London) I think we have much to talk about. Please get in touch Richard C.

  2. Sofia says:


    Thank you so much for this blog and the amazing book list. I have extended family that lived and worked in Burma and migrated back to India and I am so keen to find out more. All I know at this point is my grandmother’s Khou Suey’s recipe she learnt from her relatives.

    • Chinthe Chaser says:

      Dear Sofia,

      Oh how I love kau swe, even if I don’t know how to spell it. I have an adorable little grainy B&W photo taken by my grandmother before she married, of a little boy with a tiffin carrier. On the back in her handwriting she notes it is the Kau Swe boy who delivered lunch to her husband-to-be’s office every day. Good luck in your family research.

  3. Prem Rao says:

    I am an Old Lawrencian ( Lovedale, 1959-67) and loved your piece on the school. I would be happy to stay in touch with you.

  4. Your blog is very impressive! I’m excited to read your posts.

    The group I was referring to is called Metta in Action. Metta is a Pali word which means friendliness or loving-kindness. It refers to a specific practice taught by the Buddha as an antidote to fear.

    Here’s a link to their website: http://mettainaction.org/

    You can read their latest update about the various projects they are supporting in Burma.

    best wishes,

    • Sharman says:

      Thank you for the link, Margo. I’ve been reading some of the entries on it and it is very impressive how much they have achieved since 2008. The stories are quite detailed, and the people involved have a deep understanding of the Burmese people, their desires and their dignity. I think some of the big NGO’s could learn a lot from Metta in Action.

  5. Michael Greig says:

    Very interesting reading the site. My mothers family lived in Burma from 1890 to 1947 when they left to come to New Zealand, four generations. My mother is 92 and still talks of her time in Burma and India where she evacuated to in 1942. Her family lived near Government House and some other places and would go to Maymyo with the Viceroy every year. My great aunt was an accountant and part of government staff hence the travel. My mother went to St. Philomena’s as a boarder and knew some of the Armenian families that were friends of the family . She mentioned (?) Mestrobe Gregory who lived in the flat above with a Mrs. Minus who had a daughter, Bertha. They had lved in Mandalay at some time and my grandmother knew them from there. Mum thinks Bertha flew out of Burma and she last saw her in Calcutta where refugees made contact when getting to India. Bertha would have been 9 at the time. I could send other details of the family’s time there. The great grandfathers name was Netto, Portuguese from Bombay, and the grandfather was Hyde (English from Aligath).
    There are some period photos we have that were saved. I will see if they have identified family friends.
    Regards, Michael Greig

    • Sharman says:

      Dear Michael, I have a great-aunt Bertha Minus in the family tree who married an Edward Seymour in 1916, who trekked out of Burma with her family. Her married daughter, Phyllis Fairley died on the trek as well as her own son, Terence Seymour, who I have a picture of. Bertha returned to Burma after the war and gave shelter to my uncle Arthur in 1946, when he did the journey from Calcutta to Rangoon by foot, horse cart and hitching a final ride on the train from Mandalay. He arrived skin and bone and nearly dead – she nursed him back to health. A cousin, Edith Minus, b. 1893, of my grandfather married a Bertie Clarence Gregory in 1932. All the Armenians in old Rangoon and Mandalay knew each other. I would be very interested in seeing any photos you might have.
      Cheers, Sharman

  6. Carl Carapiet Casimir says:

    I love your blogs. So many memories. I, an Armenian,was born in Rangoon and the whole family fled to India by boat. Thank God for that. I have heard so many stories about people who trekked out. I cannot imagine the suffering and hardship they went thru. Till the day she died my mother hated the Japs. I dont blame her. She lost her husband and son both of whom died or were killed by the Japs. My daughter is hot on ancestry and wants me to get a copy of my birth certificate. Is this possible? You mentioned that the registry is lost and that impostor and would-be priest, John Felix
    seems to have all the old documents hidden somewhere. Why is he allowed to do what he is doing. Can we not take this up with the government to stop him.
    Keep blogging and good luck. Carl

  7. Nina Baker says:

    I have bumped into your excellent blog whilst chasing down the father of a woman engineer (Rosemary Ethel Elizabeth Lambert, later Mrs West) whose biography I have been researching.
    The father in question was Edward William Lambert (1890-1953) who first went to Burma as a young lawyer in 1913 and was a barrister-at-law at 83 Phayre St., Rangoon. In the 1940 Burma Office List it said he had become a government adjudicator in the High Court in 1926. He rose to become Director of the Crown Office until it closed in 1947. I cannot find any records of him having travelled back to the UK although the family (wife and 3 kids) seemed to have done, apparently for the then usual reason of dumping the kids in boarding schools from the age of 7.

    However, the bit I am not finding any info on is the war years when for some reason, inexplicable to me, the kids were shipped from the UK back to Rangoon and Rosemary was in the Burma British Association School in 1941. She then was sent to a school in India from 1943-44.
    Do you have any information about the school?

    • Sharman says:

      Hello Nina,

      There were many boarding schools in India, and without a name or location it would be hard to know which one Rosemary went to. St. Paul’s Darjeeling has an alumni list on their website, in which I found my father’s name. Another set of schools were the Lawrence Schools in various towns, but they do not have an alumni list online. There were also religious schools, etc.
      What is really interesting in your story is that you think Edward Lambert remained in Burma, in his position, throughout the Japanese occupation. I would think it highly unlikely. Did he escape in 1942 before they occupied Rangoon? Have you checked the Trek lists on the Anglo-Burmese Library website? These lists are free to look at. Good luck with your research.

  8. David Dunn says:

    My grandfather D Dunn is in the picture in the top right hand corner. We know little of his activities in India. Any information you have would be appreciated. David Dunn

  9. Jadd Hallaj says:

    Dear Sharman,
    I am an architecture student currently starting my end of studies project in Paris, France. For this project, I am studying Yangon and mainly the area that’s between the Shwedagon and the river to the rest, so the coffee grove your dad grew up in is right in the middle of the site.

    I already really enjoyed reading your blog, and it helped me learn so much. However, you mentioned in a post that you had access to historical maps of the coffee grove area. Would it at all be possible to share these maps with me? It would really be a great help for my project.

    Also, I went to Yangon for three weeks this last month, and studied the area well and documented it through photography and drawings, maybe you would also be interested in having a look?

    I am looking forward to hearing from you,

    Jadd Hallaj

  10. Viranani says:

    @chasingchinthes, greetings form Minagladon. I just stumbled upon your website and am enjoying your posts very much. There are so many layers of history here, and there’s nothing better than learning about another one.
    Please, keep them coming!

Leave a Reply