Pakistan Church Records
Before partition in 1947, Pakistan was part of India and, therefore, all pre-1947 records will be Indian. In fact, these records cover present-day India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka (Ceylon), Myanmar (Burma) and Bangladesh. For this reason, much of the information about tracing family pre-1947 refers to India.
Church records were kept locally. You must know your ancestor’s religion and the town where he or she lived. You must also determine the parish of your ancestor’s town so that you will know which registers to search. For information on finding a parish, go to Pakistan Gazetteers. Pakistan Directories also gives information about finding a parish.
The Family History Library Catalog lists by Place Search the following Church Records:
PAKISTAN - CHURCH RECORDS
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 adminstrative 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.
Start a search in indexes to these records at: http://indiafamily.bl.uk/UI/
All of the church record transcriptions and indexes have been microfilmed and are available on microfilm at the Family History Library. In addition, over 200,000 transcriptions of indexes to church records are available for viewing at : http://members.ozemail.com.au/~clday/churches.htm.
They are mostly Bengal Marriages and cover the period 1854-1865 and 1874-1896, but there are also other indexes available. To look for names in any of the web pages on this site, please use the search facility at the top of this page.
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 Pakistan Maps for more information.
The Family History Library has a good collection of church records for India, usually listed in the Place Search of the Family History Library Catalog under:
INDIA - CHURCH RECORDS
Locating Church Records
To find an ancestor in church records, you should know his religion and the parish where he lived. The Place Search of the Family History Library Catalog usually uses the parish names as given in The Imperial Gazetteer. See Pakistan Gazetteers for this source and for other help in finding a parish.
The Family History Library is always adding records to its collection. The catalog is updated periodically. If you need a record that is not at the library, you may write to the minister or to a repository to request a search.
Another way to access some church records and indexes is through the Internet. On the Internet there are lists of people who volunteer to search various types of records for certain areas free of charge.
The Family History Library has a collection of ecclesiastical returns and testamentary records of the British East India Company to 1948 (FHL book 954 V23cs).