‘The sun never set on the British Empire’ was a saying referring to all the British colonies across the globe that the United Kingdom once held, so many that the sun was shining somewhere on British property at any given time. One of the biggest and most important British colony was that of India in the continent of Asia. Not just the British military were stationed there, but numerous British families lived there for decades. Some were connected with the British government, others with the military and a large number with the business and economic side of the British influence in the large country.
So it is very possible if your have British ancestors living in the United Kingdom between the late 1800s and for the first half of the 20th century, they may have lived at one time in India. The online site titled Families in British India Society offers a variety of digitized resources for anyone looking for information on ancestors who were in India.
You can start with the search box ‘Find person’ and place a surname. A selection of items ranging from newspaper articles, to military units, marriage records, census records, photographs, school records, baptisms and directories will be listed with that surname. If you find one of interest click on ‘view’ to the left. There might be one or more individual items in that category with the surname.
Another good method to search is using just the category titled 1881 British Census. This will have the names of all people in 1881 who are citizens of the United Kingdom who were born in India. Their family might have been in India in the 1870s, a child born and the family moved back to England by 1881, in time for the census. Use the search box in the upper right to help narrow the search for a certain surname.
For general scenes in British India the category of ‘Photographs’ is good to use. The topics range from buildings, people, military, places and ships plus additional topics. These images can be enlarged for greater detail and a description is also provided. Most images are labeled with individual’s names, not always, but you just might find an ancestor’s photo in the large collection.
Photo: 1915- Students at Medical College in Calcutta, India< Return To Blog