Joe Biden had famously said at an event in Mumbai in 2013 that he had distant relatives in India, something he reiterated in 2015 too. Turns out that the Bidens -- not the American ones, the Indians -- have been residing in Maharashtra's Nagpur since 1873.
The President-elect had said that after becoming a senator in 1972, he had received a letter from one of the Bidens in India. He said that that's how he learned that his "great, great, great, great, great grandfather" worked with the East India Company. The letter was written by Nagpur-based Leslie Biden whose grandchildren continue to live in the city.
Leslie's granddaughter and psychologist Sonia Biden Francis said that Leslie came to know of Joe Biden while reading the Illustrated Weekly of India issue of March 28-April 4, 1981. Leslie then got in touch with Joe Biden through a letter on April 15, 1981 to which Joe Biden replied in a letter dated May 30, 1981. The duo then discussed the Bidens' genealogy, said Sonia. They apparently discussed a common ancestor John Biden and his wife Anne Beaumont.
"Leslie and Joe Biden thanked each other for corresponding and committed to continue corresponding with each other. However, Leslie Biden's health worsened and he died in 1983 in Nagpur. Leslie's wife was unable to pursue the family tree further," said Rowena, another of Leslie's granddaughter who lives in Nagpur too.
The family have kept the letters they said were part of the correspondence.
Leslie was the manager of the Bharat Lodge and Hostel, and Bharat Cafe before his death in 1983.
The Bidens from India extended their best wishes to the Bidens in the US ahead of the swearing-in ceremony.
Leslie Biden's family lives across Nagpur, Mumbai, the US, Australia and New Zealand, said Sonia. Leslie's daughter Evelyn Majumdar, grandson Duncan Biden and granddaughter Sheryl Dweltz live in Mumbai.