Newspapers & magazines reading list

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Newspapers and magazines form a rich resource for researchers. The article "Using newspapers and journals to research your family in British India" by Sylvia C.M. Murphy in The Journal of the Families In British India Society, no. 22 (Autumn 2009) pp.30-41 is an invaluable guide.

See also the list of Newspapers and journals online.


British news

  • Gentleman’s magazine [Online version] 1731-1899, 1906-1907

In addition to articles, this popular London based, monthly periodical included obituaries and "domestic occurrences" of notable people, many of whom were based in India or had connections to India. This page provides links to two browsable online sources. Note that FIBIS has already transcribed relevant marriages 1731-1850 and death announcements 1731-1831.


  • The London gazette. [Online version] 1665 -

This is the official publication of the British crown and government. Any use of the term 'gazetted' indicates that the information appeared in this newspaper or one of the sister publications of Scotland or Northern Ireland. It gives formal notification of official, regulatory and legal information. This is a treasure store for family historians as notices are as diverse as honours and medals awarded, declarations of bankruptcy and divorce, and name changes. The military, judicial, government and ecclesiastical official appointments and promotions can be invaluable. This makes it possible, for instance, to track the careers of British Army officers and senior civil servants, which after 1860 included those in the Indian Army and India Office. The online version is about 98% complete but the physical condition and typeface of the older originals means that the rendering often has errors. Use the Search facility, but be aware that, like much digitised material, if you do not locate what you expected to find it is always worth taking the extra time to search by date or issue number.


Asian news

  • The Indian mail : a monthly register for British and foreign India, China and Australasia. [Online version] London: W.H. Allen, 1843-

Allen's Indian Mail, as it came to be called, was a monthly newspaper formed as an offshoot of the Asiatic Journal. It aimed to provide factual, up-to-date articles based on news sourced from 'every part of India, Ceylon, the Straits, China, Australasia, and the Cape of Good Hope'. An 'analytical index' supported the editors' intention of providing information in a format that made it of lasting value; while now superseded by an online search facility this still provides a good overview of the material the issues contain. Included are BMDs, military and civil promotions, troop movements, battles, disasters, ships' passenger lists and courts martial. Editions to 1857 are fully available on Google Books. See our index to volumes.


  • The Pioneer. Allahabad: Pioneer Press, 1865-

This became the leading daily English language newspaper of northern India during the Raj. The Pi was founded by businessman and newspaper magnate George Allen and his junior partner and editor the Reverend Julian Robinson. An extremely conservative publication, its subscribers were people such as planters, mofussilites and businessmen. By gaining insiders' knowledge of the government's plans and postings the newspaper also became essential reading for senior civil service and military men. In addition to news it expanded to include a broad range of literary material - stories, poetry, essays and reviews - written by the British in India. At different periods Rudyard Kipling and his father were special correspondents as well as contributing stories and verse.

The Pioneer Press was at one time the biggest private employer in Allahabad, with the area where it was located being known as Allenganj (Allen Town). After 1880 the newspaper was moved to Lucknow.

This newspaper is available in both print runs and on microfilm in university libraries and specialised collections around the world.


  • The Times of India. [Microform version] Bombay: Times Press, 1861-

This daily newspaper was originally called The Bombay times and journal of commerce. With Quaker involvement in the early years it had a completely different ethos to its reactionary rival The Pioneer. Today it has the largest distribution of any English language newspaper in the world. Old issues are available on microfilm at large libraries. FIBIS has an ongoing project of transcribing the early birth, marriages and death entries. The APAC Reading Room at the British Library has a copy of the Index to the Times of India, 1973- but this does not appear to include domestic occurrences.


see also the Directories reading list