Information pertaining to ancestors with a Danish connection.
The Danish East India Company was established in 1616 and a Danish settlement was established at Tranquebar in 1620. There was also a Danish settlement at Serampore near Calcutta. These settlements were more important for the missionary activities carried on there than for commerce. They were perhaps the first perceptable cultural impingement of the Protestant West on India.
In June, 1801 the Danish were defeated at Tranquebar by the Scots Brigade and in 1845 the whole Danish colony was sold to England. This ended the Danish presence in India.
Peter Rasmussen of the University of Copenhagen wrote a term paper in 1996 entitled A history of the Danish East India Company 1616-1669. This is very interesting and has a number of references at the bottom for those who want to pursue the subject further.
The article "The Danes at Serampore", by F.B.Bradley Birt, Calcutta Review, No. 295, January 1919, (New [2nd] Series Volume 25), pages 92-118, is available at the British Library
Main article: Church records
Danish ancestors may not have lived in British India (i.e. that portion of India that was controlled by the British - this grew from a very small area in 1600 to almost all of India by 1947). In this case, the church records will not be kept at the British Library.
Some church records have been microfilmed by the LDS and are available at Family History Centres. The register of baptisms, marriages & burials of the Jerusalems-kirken; baptisms, confirmations, betrothals & marriages, and burials of Zions Kirke at Tranquebar 1707-1818 are available on microfilm #128836.
Thomas M. Robertson has kindly extracted from the Calcutta Annual Directory and Calendar of 1813 all the names of Danish residents of Serampore.
BACSA has published the following books which shed some light on the Danish presence in Asia :
- Memoirs of an Adventurous Dane in India : 1904-1947 by August Peter Hansen, 1999
- Protestant Cemetery in Bangkok by Justin Corfield, 1997. There are a lot Danish folk buried in this cemetery, as there was a substantial group of Danes who came to Thailand to train the Police and Customs Services.
The 1834 census of Tranquebar is available on microfilm at LDS Family History Centres. It is on two rolls on microfilm #39091 and #39092.
The Register af Blanketregnskaber 1800-1847 is available on microfilm #599136 at LDS Family History Centres. The microfilm description is "Register of applications pertaining to civil records including special burials, marriages without banns, divorce petitions, nonprobate will actions that should normally have been handled through a higher authority. Includes the various estates and baronies on mainland Denmark, and then the Danish possessions, Iceland, Faroe Islands, West Indies and Tranquebar, India."
- A History of India (Volume Two) (1978) by Percival Spear p.68
- Uno-Barner Jensen has created an impressive website which reflects his extensive research into the subject of coins of the Danish East India Company. It also has pages on the history of Tranquebar and many beautiful photos of the Danish churches there. The website is available in Danish and English.
- The Danish Factory in Calicut 1752-1796 by Maddy. historicalleys.blogspot
- There is a Timeline of Danish India on the WHKMLA website in the section relating to Danish India
- Danes in India did not intermarry much with local Indians, according to "Beyond "Cotton Mary": Anglo-Indian Categories and Reclaiming the Diverse Past" by Adrian Carton The International Journal of Anglo-Indian Studies Volume 5, Number 1, 2000.