The East India Office Company had many people employed in their trade empire in India and Asia. Because of all the activity they were engaged in, the East India Company generated a vast collection of historical records. The records were created by individual government divisions called “presidencies.” These presidencies were established in India during the early 1600s and continued as late as 1967.
The records created by the presidencies help family historians find vital information about ancestors who were established in the prosperous trade industy between India and London. The key is knowing which presidency the ancestor lived in. There are three presidencies, namely: Bengal, Madras, and Bombay. Oh, there are also several semi-independent Indian States with special treaties with the East India Company to choose from. But if you don’t know a specific location, there is a great tool that you can use in locating the illusive ancestor.
The wonder tool is called the India Card Index, 1785-1926. This index has names of individuals from various genealogical sources. They are arranged by surname in alphabetical order. Each card lists the individual, date of event, and name of source. Surnames vary in spelling, but are grouped together according to the primary spelling for the surname.
Once you have the source information, you can then use the Family History Library Catalog to find and use the records available at the Library. These records are currently available on microfilm. There are also many records at the India Office, London, that the Family History Library does not have, so it’s important to check them, as well.