Cemeteries and monumental inscriptions reading list

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Inscriptions on gravestones and memorials can be a rich source of information for the family historian.

The bulk of the recommendations contained in this reading list are published by British Association for Cemeteries in South Asia (BACSA), which is is the primary organisation collating transcripts of inscriptions from churches and graveyards across Asia. In addition to their published material, the archive containing all of BACSA's transcripts is deposited in the private papers collection (shelf mark Mss Eur F370) at the British Library, where it may be consulted by readers. The catalogue of the archive folders is available online.

FIBIS Guides

  • Morgan, Richard

FIBIS fact file No 6: Graves in British India

The guide is available from the FIBIS Shop. It is split into two parts:

Part 1. Sources for Indian Memorial Inscriptions and covers Early Transcriptions by each Presidency; Bengal Past and Present; Percy-Smith/Bullock transcriptions; BACSA - its books and archives.

Part 2. Looking for an Indian Grave: Preparation before leaving for India; Preparation in India; Transcription; Photography; the Chowkidar and the Parish Priest; Sharing the Material


Southern Asia

  • Christ Church, Polibetta, Coorg, India : burials 1892-1962, edited by Theon Wilkinson. London: BACSA, 1985

A typescript of the Burial Register.


  • Cooke, David

Christian cemeteries of Bimlipatam. London: BACSA, 1988

Transcripts of memorial inscriptions from British and Dutch tombs from 17th century. With 40 illustrations, plans and a map.


  • Cooke, David

Christian cemeteries of Vizagapatam & Waltair. London: BACSA, 1992

Covers the Old Cemetery; Mors Janua Vitae Cemetery; Waltair Cemetery; and church monumental inscriptions. The oldest dates from 1699. Over 70 illustrations.


  • Cooke, David

Vizianagram : cantonment cemetery. London: BACSA, 1988

British tombs from 1811. Twenty illustrations, plans and map.


  • Cotton, Julian James

List of European tombs in the Bellary District with inscriptions thereon, edited by Eileen Hewson. Wem: Kabristan Archives, 2008

First produced in India in 1894 as an A4 booklet listing memorials of army men and their families in this South Indian British cantonment.

Several years later Cotton produced his List of inscriptions on tombs or monuments in Madras [Presidency] possessing historical or archaeological interest as volume three in the Indian Monumental Inscription Series. This later book was republished in the 1940s by the Government Press in Madras and is now out of print.


  • Davies, Vincent

Garden Graves and isolated cemeteries in North Bihar. London: BACSA, 1990

Transcripts from tombs of people mostly associated with indigo and sugar factories in North Bihar. Includes 11 illustrations and a map.


  • Davies, Vincent

A short history of Patna & Dinapore and their British cemeteries. London: BACSA, 1989

In addition to the transcripts there are biographical notes, illustrations and two maps.


  • Davies, Vincent

A short history of Monghyr and its British cemeteries. London: BACSA, 2003

The 235 tombstones recorded tell the story of this 'Invalid' station from 1768. With the modern name of Munger this town is in Bihar. Includes illustrations, maps and plans.


  • Farrington, Susan

Chittagong Christian cemeteries, Bangladesh, compiled by Susan Farrington from research by John Radford. London: BACSA, 1999

Transcripts of monumental inscriptions and burial registers, this includes 70 illustrations and plans.


  • Farrington, Susan

Peshawar Cemetery : North West Frontier Province, Pakistan. London: BACSA, 1988

Around 900 monumental inscriptions dating from 1849. Profusely illustrated and with helpful plans.


  • Farrington, Susan

Peshawar: monumental inscriptions II : North West Frontier Province Pakistan. London: BACSA, 1991

This additional volume contains more inscriptions from churches and other cemeteries, and is once again profusely illustrated.


  • Farrington, Susan

Quetta : monuments and inscriptions : Baluchistan, Pakistan. London: BACSA, 1992

Covers the cemeteries, the town's history, the staff college, railways, churches and the horrifying 1935 earthquake. With more than 100 illustrations and plans.


  • Farrington, Susan

Rawalpindi : cemeteries and churches. London: BACSA, 1996

Covers the main Harley Street Cemetery, with additional monumental inscriptions from four other cemeteries and plaques from churches. Contains 40 illustrations and plans.


  • Galsworthy, Aylmer Jean

Dehra Dun : Chandranagar Cemetery. London: BACSA, 1993

Inscriptions and biographical notes: graves listed by year of death (1820-1912), plus endowments (1888-1951). Also lists of army personnel, civilians, stonemasons etc.


  • A Guide to the Christian cemetery, Gilgit, northern areas, Pakistan. London: BACSA, 2001


  • Harfield, Alan

Meerut : the first sixty years (1815-1875). London: BACSA, 1992

Monumental inscriptions and burial registers. Includes a complete listing of the British and Indian regiments there, along with a history of the garrison. Thirty illustrations.


  • Harfield, Alan

Meerut, the cantonment cemetery part II (1876-1939) : the Race Course Cemetery and military memorials. London: BACSA, 1999

The monumental inscriptions for both cemeteries, plus the Burial Registers of Cantonment Cemetery. With 22 illustrations and plans.


  • Hewson, Eileen

Assam and North-East India : Christian cemeteries and memorials 1783-2003. London: BACSA, 2005

A comprehensive list of monumental inscriptions from churches, graveyards on tea estates and hospitals, plus transcripts from church records. There are biographical notes. Arranged district by district.

This book together with Hewson's Digboi War Cemetery and Guwahati War Cemetery provides a complete record of all memorials to be found in the graveyards of Assam and North-East India.


  • Hewson, Eileen

Darjeeling and the Dooars : Christian cemeteries and memorials 1842-1995. London: BACSA, 2006

Monumental inscriptions from the area of India bordering on Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan and Bangladesh. Many tea planters, particularly from Scotland, lived and died in this corner of India.


  • Hewson, Eileen

Digboi War Cemetery, Assam India. Wem: Kabristan Archives, 2007

Transcripts of 200 memorials, in addition to information extracted from written records and surveys of those who died on the Indian-Burma border during World War 2. There are some biographical details of the deceased.

This book together with Hewson's Assam and North-East India and Guwahati War Cemetery provides a complete record of all memorials to be found in the graveyards of Assam and North-East India.


  • Hewson, Eileen

Graveyards in Ceylon, Vol. 1 : Colombo. Wem: Kabristan Archives, 2008

Containing transcriptions of about 775 memorials found in the capital of Sri Lanka, plus some biographical details extracted from surveys and records.

This supplements J. Penry Lewis' List of inscriptions on tombstones and monuments in Ceylon, of historical or local interest, with an obituary of persons uncommemorated which was published in 1913 and is now out of print.


  • Hewson, Eileen

Graveyards in Kashmir India. Wem: Kabristan Archives, 2008

Transcripts of European and Indian Christian memorials in this area of the Himalayas, together with information from burial records. Includes details of the victims of a massacre at Baramulla convent by Afghan insurgents.


  • Hewson, Eileen

Guwahati War Cemetery, Assam India. Wem: Kabristan Archives, 2007

In addition to transcripts of 500 memorials, this includes information extracted from written records and surveys of those who died on the Indian-Burma border during World War 2. There are some biographical details of the deceased.

This book together with Hewson's Assam and North-East India and Digboi War Cemetery provides a complete record of all memorials to be found in the graveyards of Assam and North-East India.


  • Hewson, Eileen

Himalayan headstones from Ladakh Kashmir. London: BACSA, 2002

Transcriptions from the few remaining graves of explorers, sportsmen and missionaries from the mid-1800s, with biographical details. Includes 20 illustrations and a map.


  • Irving, Miles

Soldiers of the Raj, compiled by Miles Irving and George William De Rhé-Philipe. Uckfield: Naval & Military Press, 2002

Inscriptions from graves and monuments of some 1100 soldiers, mostly officers, together with additional biographical notes. Originally published as volume 2 of the Indian Monumental Inscription Series, this covers the Punjab, North-West Frontier Province, Kashmir and Afghanistan.


  • LaBouchardiere, Basil

French Cemetery, Calcutta. London: BACSA, 1983

This cemetery was cleared in 1977 and a complete record made of all inscriptions. The 28 page booklet contains eight illustrations and four maps/plans.


  • The Malabar Coast : the burial registers of St Thomas' Church, Quilon and Christ Church, Trivandrum, edited by Peter de Jong. London: BACSA, 1992

The burial registers of St Thomas' Church, Quilon (1829-1961) and Christ Church, Trivandrum (1863-1961)


  • Munnar, Kerala, India : burials 1894-1959, edited by Theon Wilkinson. London: BACSA, 1990

A slim volume containing a typescript of the burial register. With six illustrations.


  • Radford, John

Tombs in tea : tea garden cemeteries in Sylhet, Bangladesh, by John Radford and Susan Farrington. London: BACSA, 2001

Covers the tea areas in the valleys of Luskerpore, Balisera, Manu/ Doloi, Lungla and Juri; also the oldest cemetery in Sylhet town. With 45 illustrations, maps and plans.


  • Ranchi, Bihar : burials, edited by Vincent Davies. London: BACSA, 1987

A typescript of the Burial Register covering 1894-1959.


  • South Park Street Cemetery, Calcutta. 4th ed. Calcutta: APHCI ; London: BACSA, 2006

A register of the graves and standing tombs from 1767.


  • Volkers, Robin

Agra cantonment cemetery : Uttar Pradesh, India. London: BACSA, 2001

A record of over 5,000 burials from 1806-1990s, including all existing monumental inscriptions, with plot diagrams indicating the shape and location of the tombs.


  • Yalland, Zoe

Kacheri Cemetery, Kanpur : a complete list of inscriptions with notes on those buried there. London: BACSA, 1985

Comprehensive list of the epitaphs at Kacheri Cemetery.


Southeast Asia

  • Beavington, Ed

Seremban (Malaysia) graves in St Mark's Churchyard, and the Anglican section of the Seremban Cemetery, by Ed Beavington and Justin Corfield. London: BACSA, 2000

Headstone inscriptions.


  • Corfield, Justin

Bangkok : the Protestant cemetery, and notes on other cemeteries in Thailand. London: BACSA, 1997

Monumental inscriptions and a complete transcript of the Burial Register from 1861-1972 together with background information. Also covers ten other cemeteries in Bangkok. Thirty illustrations.


  • Corfield, Justin

Bogor, Indonesia : the cemetery in the Botanical Gardens. Rosanna, Vic.: Corfield & Co., 1999

Distributed in the United Kingdom by BACSA.


  • Corfield, Justin

Ipoh & Taiping : war graves and graves of Europeans in the cemeteries in Ipoh & Taiping, Perak, Malaysia. London: BACSA, 2000

Includes 27 illustrations plus plans.


  • Corfield, Justin

Java : British and Empire graves, 1743-1975. London: BACSA, 1999

Monumental inscriptions including those relating to deaths in World War II. With 70 illustrations and plans.


  • Corfield, Justin

Kota Bharu (Malaysia) : European graves in the Jalan Hamzah Cemetery. London: BACSA, 1999

Contains 23 illustrations and a plan.


  • Corfield, Justin

Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) : St Mary's Cathedral and the Jalan Birch Cemetery. London: BACSA, 2000

Contains five illustrations.


  • Corfield, Justin

Pangkalpinang : a guide to cemeteries : Bangka Island, South Sumatra. Rosanna, Vic. : Corfield & Co., 1999

Distributed by BACSA in the United Kingdom.


  • Corfield, Justin

Penang Western Road Cemetery : Graves of Europeans in the Protestant section. London: BACSA, 2000

Cover title reads: "Penang, Malaysia : graves of Europeans in the Protestant section of the Western Road Cemetery". With 27 illustrations and a plan.


  • Corfield, Justin

Teluk Anson (Malaysia) : European graves in the Jalan Anderson Cemetery. London: BACSA, 2000

Includes 14 illustrations and a plan.


  • Harfield, Alan

Christian cemeteries and memorials in the state of Malacca. Rev. ed. London: BACSA, 2002

From the Portuguese time in 1511, through the Dutch occupation 1641-1795 and from 1819-25 to the British period. Includes a short history with lists of churches and monumental inscriptions; also an account of the local wars with lists of casualties in the Malayan Emergency.


  • Harfield, Alan

Bencoolen : the Christian Cemetery and the Fort Marlborough monuments. BACSA, 1985

British graves in Sumatra between 1685 and 1825. Includes 35 illustrations and four maps/plans.


  • Harfield, Alan

Early cemeteries in Singapore. London: BACSA, 1988

A comprehensive record of all main cemeteries.


  • Harfield, Alan

Penang and Perak : Christian cemeteries. BACSA, 1987


  • Wood, Richard

De Mortuis : the story of the Chiang Mai Foreign Cemetery. Chiang Mai: Hudson Enterprises, 1992

Monumental inscriptions and notes relating to this cemetery in northern Thailand. Distributed in the United Kingdom by BACSA.


East Asia (the Far East)

  • McCabe, Patricia

Gaijin Bochi : the Foreigners' Cemetery, Yokohama, Japan. London: BACSA, 1994

Illustrations with biographical notes of over 4,000 graves from 1854 - the dead of 41 nations rest here - with the inscriptions capturing much of the history of Japan over the last 140 years. Over 100 illustrations and a map.


General

  • Hewson, Eileen

The Forgotten Irish : memorials of the Raj. Wem: Kabristan Archives, 2004

This contains "1194 entries [for Irish men, women and children], the vast majority drawn from cemeteries, churches or memorials in the sub-continent and Ireland (just over 500 from each), but there are also a few from Sri Lanka, Burma, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Sumatra, Japan, Macao, Java, England and Wales. The entries cover persons in all walks of life though the largest group are soldiers (both officers and other ranks)... The details given may often be fairly basic but for 400 individuals the author has been able to provide fuller biographies... Brief details of many of the places where the cemeteries and memorials are sited are also given. Among the ancillary information is a useful list of the names and numbers of the former Irish infantry regiments, and a helpful bibliography..." The full review by David Blake is on pp.50-51 of FIBIS Journal 13 (Spring 2005)


  • Hewson, Eileen

A Handbook for Irish war graves in India, Burma and beyond. Wem: Kabristan Archives, 2005

This sequel to The Forgotten Irish brings the coverage into the Twentieth Century. Over 650 entries from war graves and war memorials in India, Burma, Indonesia, Malaya and Ceylon, with the majority being deaths from the two world wars. "[T]he author has compiled another very useful work of reference for family history researchers whose ancestors come within her remit." The review by David Blake is on p.48 of FIBIS Journal 15 (Spring 2006)


  • Hewson, Eileen

Moravian graveyards in India and Jamaica, 1755-1971. Wem: Kabristan Archives, 2007

Transcripts of memorials to Moravian missionaries who travelled from Herrnhut in Germany and settled in the remote Himalayan areas of Ladakh and Lahoul. The inscriptions for colleagues who went to Jamaica to establish schools and clinics for the slaves on that island are also included.