Researching men who served in or were recruited from India

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Re: Researching men who served in or were recruited from Ind

Postby BingandNelsonFan » 15 Mar 2014 19:15

A note on the burial records from the British India Office . . .

The burial records are the Ecclesiastical Returns, sent back to the India Office, so they are not the actual record book from the church or cemetery. Many (if not all?) of these returns have been transcribed onto the FamilySearch website and are visible for free. The scans are now available for $$ on FindMyPast.

A LOT of the returns have grouped towns/cemeteries/churches on one sheet. The heading will say "Ootacamund, Pallaveram, Poonamallee --- followed by a list of burial records that are not specifically assigned to any of the above mentioned burial grounds. The transcriptions on FamilySearch will end up grouping all of the burials on the page under "Ootacamund". So, your ancestor may or may not be buried in the place mentioned on the transcription. The only way that I have found, so far, to figure out which place each burial took place is to find one burial that you know the location of and check the name of the Chaplain or Officiating Minister. Of course, those names changed a lot . . . so, it's a little tricky.

The original records also state the "Rank or Profession" of the deceased, as well as the cause of death. Only a few of the records that I have seen come through without that info.

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Re: Researching men who served in or were recruited from Ind

Postby Maureene » 18 Mar 2014 01:32

Sarah, it was interesting to read your comments about the transcription of place names on FamilySearch.

Regarding service records, It is now known that some service records from the Indian Army are available from the National Archives of India in Delhi. Someone on WW2Talk Forum reported that he had obtained a relative’s WW2 service records from this source, indicating that records for both Europeans and Indians are available.

I emailed the National Archives of India about a WW1 record, for a European in the Indian Army who died in Mesopotamia. After about seven weeks they wrote back and said they did not have a record. However at least I received a reply. The National Archives of India website has a contact email ... type=upper

A researcher visiting India recently was advised to contact the Adjutant General's Office in Delhi. Eventually she found the actual address to be Adjutant General's Office, Indian Headquarters of the Ministry of Defense (Army), Room No. 280, South Block, New Delhi 110011. Email address given in this link ... 1393710362
The files are filed by the service numbers, so it is necessary to have this information She was unsuccessful in having a file located as she did not have the service number.

I suspect that the files accessible through the National Archives of India are the files at the Adjutant General's Office, but I do not know if this is so.

For either source we have no details of years covered, whether death in service are included or anything else. Given the vast numbers of Indian who were in the Indian Army at various periods, I cannot image that more than a small percentage of files would be available. Given the comments in my earlier post, I suspect that the records in any event to be found in Delhi would be post 1895 when the Indian Army came into existence.

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Re: Service Papers for Indian Soldiers?

Postby swordcollector1 » 18 Mar 2014 10:35

Liz wrote:Richard Holmes (author of Sahib) may be another and perhaps our academic advisor Mike Snook could make further inquiries with him about this?

Don't expect an answer from Richard any time soon, as sadly he died in 2011. :(

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