India Office Records

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The India Office Records are held in the Asia, Pacific & Africa Collection (APAC) at the British Library. They are the documentary archives of the administration in London of the pre-1947 government of India and are made up from the archives of the East India Company (1600-1858), the Board of Commissioners for the Affairs of India (1784-1858), the India Office (1858-1947), the Burma Office (1937-1948) and many other related British overseas agencies. Records may be viewed in the Asian & African Studies Reading Room.

If your ancestor was employed as a civilian in any arm of government, such as the police, post office, railways or civil service, then his records are most likely to be kept at the IOR collection. This also applies if your ancestor served in the East India Company Army, but not the British Army.

A number of indexes and transcribed records can be found online on the FIBIS database and other websites. However these are merely a snapshot of the whole collection. Many of the records have also been microfilmed by the LDS and can be made available for examination at local Family History Centres. However, generally, a visit would have to be made to the British Library to obtain the full background to your research.

Searching the catalogue

The catalogue may be searched either through the British Library's Archives search, or through the National Archive's Discovery search.
Refer External Links below.

Digital records

  • Some records have been digitised and are available online through the commercial site findmypast.co.uk, including baptisms, marriages and burial records.
  • Some records have been digitized by the British Library, to search for these records see “Digitised Manuscripts” below
  • Some records in respect of the Iran, Iraq and the Persian Gulf are available on the Qatar Digital Library
Refer External links below for details.

Visiting the archive

See the British Library article for visiting and access information.

Related articles

External Links

  • The India Office Records catalogue may also be searched through the National Archive’s Discovery catalogue (which has now replaced the previous Access to Archives (A2A) search). Note also entry to British Library Archive search shown above as, in some cases, this will give additional scope.
Discovery Advanced search. In the section “Held by” select “Search other archives”. Type India and the option "British Library: Asian and African Studies (previously Oriental and India Office Library)" will appear. Select this option
Note: Currently (November 2014) some India Office Records are missing from Discovery, and until this problem is fixed, it is recommended that you use the British Library Archive search above.