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Research: British India Ancestors
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This course gives an introduction to researching ancestors in India, during the time of British involvement and rule. The course focuses mainly on British ancestors, but includes records that are relevant to other Europeans in India, as well as Anglo-Indians.

In this course, the author will use primary and secondary material to demonstrate how to research ancestors in British India in depth.

Course Content

Module 1
History of the British in India
Additional Information
Recommended Reading
East India Company & Beginnings of British Involvement in India
1857 Indian Mutiny
India Office Records & direct rule from Britain
Rise of Indian nationalism
1947 Independence
Life (and records) from 1948

Module 2
Maps & Place Names
Changing Borders of ‘British India’
Princely States & other areas beyond direct British control
Variants in spelling & place name changes
Travel to & from India: changes over time
• Suez Canal
• Passenger Lists
• Ship Records

Module 3
Vital Events, Church Records & Probate
Online Indexes
Digital Books
Church records (Anglican & non-Anglican)
Civil registration
• Transcription Forms
• Baptism Record
• Marriage Record
• Burial Record
Christianity in India
• Schools & orphanages
• Cemeteries
• Probate in India
• Probate pre-1727
• Probate in the UK

Module 4
Armed Forces & Merchant Seaman
East India Company’s Armies
• Cadet Papers
• Other Records of Officers
• Printed Books
• Hodson’s Index
• Soldiers and NCOs
• Soldiers in the British Army who served in India
Indian Army
• Officers
British Army
• Other Ranks
Indian Navy & Royal Indian Marine/Navy
• East India Company Naval Service
• East Indiamen
• EIC Mercantile Marine
• Bengal Marine
• Bengal Pilot Service 1669-1948
• Bombay Marine 1613-1830
• Indian Navy (1830-1863) & Royal Indian Marine/Navy (1877-1948)
British Merchant Seamen
• Officers’ Records
Royal Navy
Royal Indian Air Force & Royal Air Force in India
Chaplains, Medical Service (and Subordinate), Veterinary Corps & Bandsmen
Indian Army Nursing Services & Women’s Auxiliary Corps
• Nursing
• India & Burma

Module 5
Main occupations of the British in India (outside of the armed forces)
Civil servants: covenanted & uncovenanted (EIC)
• Uncovenanted Civil Servants
• Civil Service from 1749
• Entry Papers: Index of Writers’ Petitions
India Office & Burma Office
• Civil Service records in the Raj period
Trade: tea, jute, coffee and other products
• Merchant Travel to India
• Country Trade & Free Mariners
Tea Trade
• Assam history
• Tea companies
• Coffee Planting
• History of the Railways
• Life as a Railway Worker
• Indian Railway Companies
• Staff Records
• State Railways
• Railway Companies

Module 6
Miscellaneous Records
Memoirs, letters & diaries online & in collections around the world
Directories: what exists and what exists online
Newspapers and online databases
• Newspapers
Family papers
Other published sources & how to access them
Case Study
Useful Addresses
• Archives in the UK
• Archives in India
Online Indexes
• General UK Genealogy
• British India
• Governors & Viceroys of India
• Governors-General of India (1773-1858)
• Viceroys of India (1858-1947)

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