The British Library’s India Office Family History Search is a must for genealogists. The India Office Records is a collection of several archives: East India Company (1600-1858), Board of Control (1784-1858), India Office (1858-1947) and the Burma Office (1937-1948). It covered a vital part of the British Empire from 1600-1947 in what is today India, Pakistan, Burma and Bangladesh. Other areas connected to British India, such as Southeast Asia, Central Asia, the Middle East and parts of Africa are also represented. In total representation is over 300 collections and over 3000 smaller deposits of Private Papers relating to British India.
British Subjects Documented in the Records
Within these collections is a wealth of genealogical information concerning the European and Eurasian population of British India. Biographical information can be found for officials and non-official residents. Since the East India Company and India Office had staff also based in Great Britain, these records also document them. Employees included civil servants, military, mariners, medical, chaplains, railway workers and law officers. Non-officials included merchants, planters, free mariners and missionaries.
Types of Records in the India Office Database
The “India Office Family History Search” is free of charge. It includes 300,000 births, baptisms, marriages, deaths, burials and biographical notes taken from a variety of sources. The database has scores of Irish born officials and non-officials. The website provides a “Dictionary and Glossary” of terms and abbreviations found in the records.
Even if only one relative of your family who immigrated to North America or elsewhere was in British India, then those records may preserve where that one person was born. If you cannot find where your branch of the family came from using North American records, for example, then switch to the sibling or cousin who went to British India. With a collection of this size with a searchable online database, the chances of finding a long lost relative is very good.