These pages provide guidance to family historians on how to use sources from the India Office Records such as occupational descriptions or types of documents (wills, pensions or ecclesiastical records for example).
The biographical sources in the India Office Records cover mainly employees of the East India Company, the India Office, and the Burma Office. There is however a limited amount of information on private individuals who travelled to or lived in India during the same period while the Company or the India Office existed. The non-official inhabitants can be divided into the following categories:
European travellers or inhabitants (general sources) | Merchants and Planters | Free Mariners | Distinguished Asians and Eurasians (Anglo-Indians, Portugo-Indians etc) | Missionaries
The following is a guide to the sources available in the India Office relating to the non-official individuals:
- List of European inhabitants sometimes appear in Factory Records [IOR: G], and Proceedings [IOR: P]
- Applications for permission to travel to India up to 1833 are recorded in Court Minutes [IOR:B] and in the records of the Committee of Correspondence [IOR: D]. Announcements of permission granted were made in Despatches [IOR: E].
- Personal Records c.1794-c.1841 [IOR: O/6/1-20] are a series of memoranda including notes on non-official Europeans. Each volume has an index and there is a cumulative index [IOR: Z/O/6/1-2].
- Returns of non-official European inhabitants in Bengal 1793-1830, Madras 1702-1828, and Bombay 1718-92 [IOR: O/6/26-31], also for Madras 1702-16 [IOR: L/F/10/111].
- List of Europeans and others in the English factories in Bengal at the time of the siege of Calcutta in the year 1756. By Samuel Charles Hill. (Calcutta, 1902). - this is a published work on the persons involved in the Black Hole of Calcutta. [IOR 920.054]
- List of European merchants, Free Mariners and Grand Jury in Calcutta, Jul 1775, in the Home Miscellaneous Series. [IOR: H/121 (pp.203-220)]
- Lists of Europeans in Calcutta and the country districts, showing year of arrival and ship in which arrived, Bengal calendar 1790.
- Bonds for non-official Europeans proceeding to India 1800-34 [IOR: O/1/207-367], and indexes [IOR: Z/O/1/7-11]. These give the names and addresses of two sureties.
- Parliamentary Papers (House of Commons) 1812/13, nos 150-151, list all persons licensed to proceed to India between 1793 and 1812.
- Lists of European inhabitants in the Bengal, Madras and Bombay Presidencies appear in the East India Register from 1800 to 1837.
- A census of the European inhabitants of the Bombay Presidency (excluding Bombay City and Island), dated, 30 March 1851, appears in Bombay General Proceedings, 3 September 1851, no 7531 [P/350/59]. It gives information on individuals similar to what is found in the UK Census.
- Lists of European and Eurasian inhabitants are recorded in Bengal directories 1814-84, Madras directories 1800, 1803. 1811-1935, Bombay directories 1816-1950 and Thacker's Indian directory 1885-1942.
- The planting directory of India and Ceylon, 1879, [IOL: T10348]
- Planting directory of Southern India, 1896, 1924-25, 1928, 1937, 1940, 1965 [IOL: ST1447]
- D'Vauz's Burma pocket almanac and directory, 1886-87, 1889, 1891 [IOL: ST1403]
- Hyderabad almanac and directory, 1874-76 [IOL: ST 1449]
- Lahore directory, 1923 [IOL: ST1448]
- Hayes' Mysore and Coorg directory, 1884-85, 1904 [IOL: ST 1402]
- The Tenasserim and Martaban almanac and directory, 1857 [IOL: St 1430]
- Travancore directory, 1910, 1932, 1938, 1949(1). Lists of European and American residents [IOL: ST1429]
Census Information: Surname Index for the Returns of Europeans Residing in Bombay Presidency in 1851.
- List of European merchants, Free Mariners and Grand Jury in Calcutta, Jul 1775, in Home Miscellaneous Series [IOR: H/121, pp.203-220].
- Some free mariners are recorded in the East India Company's Marine Department Records. [IOR: L/MAR/C/674-78]
- Bengal directories Protestant missionaries from 1835, clergy of all denominations from 1837.
- Madras directories Protestant missionaries from 1833, Catholic clergy from 1838.
- Bombay directories Protestant missionaries from 1839, Catholic clergy from 1852.
- Thacker's Indian Directory clergy of all denominations 1885-1942.
- The Indian missionary directory: memorial volume. [IOL: T8760] contains biographical sketches of Protestant missionaries to 1886.
Mundus Gateway - Missionary archives in the UK
- Thacker's Indian directory from 1887.
- Madras directories, Asians are recorded along with Europeans until 1903, after which there are separate lists.
- Bombay directories, there are separate lists of Parsee inhabitants in Bombay from 1875, and of Hindu and Muslim inhabitants from 1883.
- Asians also appear in the commercial sections of the above directories.
- Biographical dictionaries of eminent Asians and Eurasians:
- The Indian biographical dictionary, C. Hayavadana Rao (Madras, 1915).
- An oriental biographical dictionary, Thomas William Beale (London, 1894).
- Dictionary of national biography, ed. S.P.Sen (Calcutta, 1972-74) covers distinguished Asians, living and dead, in undivided India from the 18th century to 1947.
- The national biographical dictionary of India, Jagdish Saran Sharma (New Delhi, 1972).
- Who's who in India (Lucknow, 1911-1914)
- India who's who, current issue. etc.
- For politically active Indians, see confidential/political compilations in the Military Department Library [IOR: L/MIL/17], the Political and Secret Department Memoranda and Library [IOR: L/P&S/18, L/P&S/20], and Official Publications [IOR: V]
- Marriages between Europeans and Asians and Asian Christians are occasionally recorded in the Ecclesiastical Returns [IOR: N]
- Wills and Administrations Series [L/AG/34/27 and 29] also cover Asian inhabitants.