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Tracing South Asian Roots
Perspectives on UK Records
Military Service Records
Records in Other Countries
Pulling It All Together
In 1510 the Portuguese Governor of India, Alfonso d'Albuquerque encouraged his countrymen to marry Indian women in order to establish Portuguese authority in India. The offspring of these mixed marriages between the Portuguese and Indians were known as Luso-Indians.
In its early days, the East India Company's Board of Directors did not allow families or wives to travel along with its officials and soldiers to India. The English missed the companionship of their women and many of them had relationships with Luso-Indian and Indian women.
The offspring of these mixed marriages and relationships are known as the Anglo-Indians. In 1687, the EIC encouraged marriages between European soldiers and Indian women, and even paid the mother of mixed offspring five rupees on the day the child was christened.
Until 1911 Anglo-Indians were universally known as Eurasians. For occupational purposes and as a point of differentiation from the Europeans and the Indians, they were designated Statutory Natives of India; while for the defence of Empire purposes, they were called European British Subjects.
Lists of some births, marriages and deaths in India are given in the Anglo-Indian newspapers of the time; also (from 1808 to 1844) some appear in the East India Register, which is held at the British Library, Oriental and India Office collection.
Selected extracts from the India Presidencies of Bengal, Bombay and Madras Ecclesiastical Returns of Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1713-1948 include Anglo-Indian details as well, which are held at the British Library, Oriental and India Office Collection.
The relevant church record transcriptions and indexes have been microfilmed by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS).
It is also worth checking the other printed works that are held at the British Library, OIOC:
These works include the names of the European and East Indian inhabitants, as well as details of Anglo-Indians who served in the Indian civil service.
If you know the place name where your ancestor was stationed before 1858, then try to establish which presidency it came under, and consult the relevant presidency's printed sources as they may give more additional information.
The East India Company's army officers' and soldiers' service records and EIC's merchant seamen's service records are mainly held at the British Library, Oriental and India Office Collection. However, the service records of European British subjects (Anglo-Indians) who served in the Madras, Bengal and Bombay European regiments of the East India Company may be found in the National Archives record series WO 97.
During the First World War the European British subjects served in the:
Anglo-Indians had a reserved place for their community in the Indian Medical Department, which was an integral part of the British Army in India.
Under the Army Instruction (India) No. 325 of 1922 the Anglo-Indians who served in the Indian Defence Force were eligible for the award of the British War medal. They also served in the Mercantile Marine Services.
After independence many Anglo-Indians left India to join relatives in the United Kingdom. Many took out British citizenship in the period 1947-50 and then remained in India.
In India many were employed in the Union railways and customs, postal and telegraph services.
During the Kashmir campaign, they comprised over 50% of the fighter pilots in the Indian Air Force.
Anglo-Indian women worked as nurses, and most of Indian Airlines Corporation's stewardesses were Anglo-Indians.
Cathy Day's website has an excellent guide to the cemetery records at: members.ozemail.com.au/~clday/bacsa
Also contact the British Association for Cemeteries in South Asia (BASCA)
Creators: Abi Husainy
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