India Church Records

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Church records are an excellent source for accurate information on names and dates and on places of births, marriages, and deaths. Many people who lived in India have information recorded about them in a church record. Since civil authorities did not begin registering vital statistics until 1872, church records are the best source for family information before that date.

The first step in researching European or Anglo-Indian ancestry in colonial India is to use the church records. For administrative purposes, colonial India was divided into three Presidencies, Bombay, Madras, and Bengal. Protestant and Catholic churches began to keep records in India in 1698 (Madras), 1709 (Bombay) and 1713 (Bengal). Each year, these records were transcribed and sent to the capital of the Presidency, where they were indexed. The records and indexes were then sent to headquarters in London. This practice ceased at Independence in 1947. Learn more about family history in the India Office Records.

Parish maps can help you determine which parish to search. Maps will reveal neighboring parishes to search if your ancestor is not listed in the parish where you expected him or her to be. See India Maps for more information.

Locating Church Records

To find an ancestor in church records, it helps to should know his religion and the parish where he lived. The Imperial Gazetteer may help you find the parish. See the "Gazetteers" section of this Wiki for information about the gazetteer and for other help in finding a parish.

More than 200,000 transcriptions of indexes to church records are available on FIBIS Families in British India Society and India Office Family History Search. All of the church record transcriptions and indexes have been microfilmed and are available on microfilm at the Family History Library. They can be found by using the Place Search for India - Church Records.

Records in the Family History Library

The Family History Library has a set of films containing christenings, marriages and burials. Learn how to find these records in the Family History Library Catalog.

External Links

Wiki articles describing these collections are found at: