Ancestors from the Indian subcontinent
Religion and records in India
There has been a lot of migration into and within the Indian subcontinent.
It is important to know where your family originated from, and religion and names are important in establishing this.
A useful book for understanding naming patterns is V Hallan, Asian Names: Guide to Assist Understanding of the Naming Systems of People from the Indian Subcontinent (Walsall, 1993).
Indian National Archives
The following records can be found at the Indian National Archives:
- Records created by Indian local rulers
- Hindu temple records
- Records from Islamic shrines
- Records from Sikh gurdwaras
- Waqf authority records
- Census details 1871-1923
- Indian army personnel records
- Copies of LDS films
A digitisation project is under way, but the best chance you have of finding records relevant to your family history is to employ a local researcher.
Apart from the records held at the national archives, there are others in local libraries and museums and a local researcher will have good knowledge of where to find the appropriate records.
There are various offices across India for the National Archives - see their main website for contact details:
- National Archives of India , New Delhi
- Record Centre, Puducherry
- Record Centre, Jaipur
- Regional Office of Bhopal
- Record Centre, Bhubaneswar
- Each Indian state has a regional passport office which holds passport records
- Births and deaths registers are held by the district registrar’s offices (although deaths are only registered in circumstances where there is a legal case, where land or money is left, where there is a pension to be claimed, or where the death was in unusual circumstances)
- Local register offices hold some wills
- Local Marriage Registration Offices hold records of legal marriages
- Churches hold records of Anglo-Indian and Goan marriages
- Mosques hold records of Muslim marriages, but survival of these records is patchy
- Some Hindu temples hold records of Hindu marriages, but again survival is patchy
- Wealthy families usually announce marriages and deaths in local or national newspapers - The Hindu has had an obituary column since 1878
- Post-1947 censuses are held at: The Central Secretariat Library (CSL), Indian Official Document Collection, G Wing, Shastri Bhavan, New Delhi, 110001, India