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Ancestors from the Far East

Sources in the UK

There are several institutions here in the UK that are worth contacting.

They hold some specific records which may help your research and more information about sources and archives in the country of origin.

  • The Oriental and India Office Archives – Part of the British Library, they hold a large collection of material relating to the parts of the Far East which were under British control. The East India Company ran the ships that sailed the trade routes between Britain and the Far East and there is an extensive collection of their records.
  • The School of African and Oriental Studies – This is part of the University of London, but has an extensive library which members of the public can visit and an online guide to their holdings. 
  • The National Archives (TNA) - If your ancestor was a merchant seaman who enlisted with British vessels, there may be a record among the 5th Register of Seamen. If your ancestor served in branches of the British military, there may be records. Some of these can be searched via Ancestry and Find My Past. These are subscription websites, but can be accessed free of charge at Norfolk Record Office (NRO), the Norfolk Heritage Centre (NHC) and King’s Lynn Borough Archives.
  • Familysearch  – This website has filmed a number of genealogical sources from China, Japan, Korea, Indonesia and the Philippines.