The British India Office Collection is a rich resource for those with ancestors who lived and worked in India. The records they hold date from the seventeenth to the twentieth century and include military personnel, civil servants, records of the East India Company, as well as other professions such as surgeons, railway workers, law officers and non-official inhabitants like planters and merchants.
The India Office Records is the custodian of the archives of not only the East India Company from 1600 to 1858 but also the Board of Control (1784-1858), India Office (1858-1947) and Burma Office (1937-1948). There are biographical sources for official and non-official inhabitants of the many overseas areas where the East India Company and India Office had influence and also for home staff based in Britain. The main British Library website includes details of all India Office Records, not just those of interest to family historians.
The returns of baptisms, marriages and burials, now available on Findmypast, enabled the government at home to know who was in India and were an authoritative source if information was required to resolve legal issues. These documents and the copies of numerous wills reveal the lives of people such as planters, entrepreneurs, missionaries and others in India who were not associated with the Company or Government of India.
The focus of the India Office Records is in the territories now included in India, Pakistan, Burma and Bangladesh and their administration before 1947. The records also include source materials for neighbouring or connected areas at different times, covering not only South Asia, but also South East Asia, Central Asia, the Middle East, and parts of Africa. The official archives of the India Office Records are complemented by over 300 collections and over 3000 smaller deposits of private papers relating to the British experience in India.
The India Office Records are administered by The British Library as part of the Public Records of the United Kingdom and are open for public consultation.