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Baig Genealogy and Baig Family History Information

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About the Baig surname

History and origins

The name "Baig" is derived from the Turkic word Beg, or Bey, which means chief or lord (i.e. leader/commander). Baig was a title given to honorary members of the Barlas clan, and was used as the family name for their children. The Barlas clan was the main clan of the Timurids. The Timurids belonged to the Islamic faith and were descendants of Timur, the grandson, through several generations, of the Mongol conqueror Gengis Khan. They were seen as a hybrid Turkic-Persian ethnic group, as they were initially influenced by both Persian and Turkic cultures. The chief clan of the Timurids, the Barlas clan, created the Mughal Empire in India/Pakistan and modern Afghanistan in the early 16th century. The members of the Mughal Dynasty belonged to the Barlas clan and "Begs" were the highest ranking military leaders and advisors to the Royal Aristocrats.

Beg was also subsequently used as a military rank in the Ottoman Empire. (See: Bey). It was also used during the Qing Dynasty in China. When the Qing Dynasty ruled Xinjiang, Begs administered the province as officials. High ranking Begs were allowed to wear the Queue.

Today, although large amounts of Begs remain in Central Asia and Eastern Europe, the majority of Begs/Baigs are found in South Asia. This is due part to the expansion of the Mughal Empire and the migration of Turko-Persian Mughal's, which caused the Barlasi 'Beg' population to shift mainly to the Indian Subcontinent (Mostly the Punjab, Delhi & Sindh regions). Begs occupied the upper echelons of society in the conquered parts of South Asia.

Variant spellings

Although 'Bey' was the original Turkic word and 'Beg' was the naming form used by the Mughal Empire, many different spellings can be found today, when the name is transliterated into English from the native Turkic language.

Baig is seen as the most common spelling among the Begs who settled in the Indian Subcontinent. The spelling 'Baig' was most probably popularized, for ease of pronunciation, during the British colonial rule of the Indian Subcontinent, when the use of the English language became more common. Most use 'Beg' interchangeably with the spelling 'Baig'.

The spelling Bey is rarely seen as a name, but if so, is found mostly in Turkish language. The spelling Beg is still common among the Barlas in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. There are also several other alternate forms of spelling found in South/Central Asia and Eastern Europe, when 'Beg' is transliterated. For example: Begg, Beyg, Beigh, Bick. These transliterations can sometimes be found with the Persian suffix of 'zadeh' or 'zada' or Slavic suffix of 'ov' or 'ovic' i.e.: Begzadeh or Begović. Both the Persian and Slavic suffix mean "son of". The latter was most probably popularized during the Soviet rule of Central Asia and Eastern Europe.

Today

The diaspora of Begs/Baigs can be found in South Asia notably in Pakistan, India, Iran, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan/Kazakhstan/Turkmenistan etc., Turkey, Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Balkans. With sizable immigrant populations in Canada, US, UK, and Europe. Further, the surname Baig/Beg continues to be used by the descendants of the Barlas (under the various spellings and naming styles shown above). For Example: Alija Izet-begović or Asmir Begović or Mirza Asadullah Baig Khan

References

^ Timothy Brook, Bob Tadashi Wakabayashi (2000). Opium regimes: China, Britain, and Japan, 1839-1952. University of California Press. p. 148. ISBN 0520222369. Retrieved 2010-11-28.

^ Jonathan Neaman Lipman (2004). Familiar strangers: a history of Muslims in Northwest China. Seattle: University of Washington Press. p. 69. ISBN 9050295976446. Retrieved 2010-11-28.

^ James A. Millward (1998). Beyond the pass: economy, ethnicity, and empire in Qing Central Asia, 1759-1864. Stanford University Press. p. 204. ISBN 0804729336. Retrieved 2010-11-28.