Resources for Ancestry Research: British India

Interact with the Anglo-Indian Project

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Back in January 2015, I started researching my ancestry. Knowing where to start was a challenge, but through some basic searches using the Google search engine I discovered a number of organisations claiming to be the best for ‘discovering your ancestry’. Most of these were (expensive) subscription services through commercial organisations (motivated by profit not actually assisting you with your ancestry research – contrary to many of their advertisements through popular media outlets).

A number of organisations, however, provided much more. After a few more refined online searches I uncovered some organisations which focused specifically on researching your ancestry in British India and they provided valuable individual support too. In addition, they were (and remain) low cost, high value organisations for anyone conducting research on their family history in British India. As a result, I made rapid progress on the initially challenging task of discovering my ancestors.

Approach

The Anglo-Indian Project seeks to discover the family history of Elaine Cynthia Hassett, my Nana, whilst researching the broader context of her life in India and England. This blog provides an accessible platform to distribute the findings in a concise and visible format. Many different resources have been used, and many more are being discovered, to assist this research. Future planned outputs and resources will be shared as they are utilised, but below is a list of eight key resources used so far.

Useful Tools and Resources

1. Families in British India Society (http://www.fibis.org/): (highly recommended)

…an [charitable] organisation devoted to members with an interest in researching their ancestors and the background against which they led their lives in ‘British India’.

The Society was formed in November 1998 to provide a resource for people researching families and their social history in India from 1600 up to, and even after, Indian Independence in 1947.

Membership is a very reasonable £15 per year (at the time of writing), which provides access to the FIBIS databases and a very helpful community of fellow ancestry researchers and experts.

2. British Library, London (http://www.bl.uk/reshelp/findhelpregion/asia/india/indiaofficerecordsfamilyhistory/familyresearch.html): (highly recommended)

The Asian and African Reading Room is where they store the records for the India Office Family History Search. A valuable resource for researching your ancestry in British India. The staff are very friendly, helpful and knowledgeable on British India (and wider Asia and Africa).

Membership is free.

3. Find my past (http://www.findmypast.co.uk/):

All British India records are digitized on Find my past. However, the digitized records do not necessarily have the documents available electronically (you can access these in the British Library – see (2) above).

A subscription service, but free if accessed in most public libraries.

4. Anglo-Indian-Central (http://www.anglo-india-central.co.uk/): (highly recommended)

free online library of links and resources for Anglo-Indian research.

5. Family Echo (http://www.familyecho.com/):

Very useful online tool for building an interactive family tree.

6. Census Records (http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/help-with-your-research/research-guides/census-records/):

UK-based census searches. Useful for finding details of relatives in the UK.

7. Family Search (https://beta.familysearch.org/): (highly recommended)

A non-profit organisation collatingthe largest collection of genealogical and historical records in the world.’

8. Society of Genealogists (http://www.sog.org.uk/):

Charitable organisation which ‘has many unique unpublished manuscript notes and printed and unpublished family histories. Its library contains Britain’s largest collection of parish register copies and many nonconformist registers. Along with registers, the library holds local histories, copies of churchyard gravestone inscriptions, poll books, trade directories, census indexes and a wealth of information about the parishes where our ancestors lived.


AIP_with web address2

Interact with the Anglo-Indian Project

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