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In 1819, the British East India Company, led by Sir Stamford Raffles, established a trading post on the island of Singapore, which was used as a port along the spice route.

Singapore formed part of the Straits Settlements, together with Penang (Prince of Wales Island) and Malacca.


FIBIS resources


  • Ecclesiastical Returns: Baptisms, Marriages and Burials at the British Library. Prince of Wales Island [Penang], Malacca and Singapore 1799-1829 in IOR N/8. These records are included in the digitised records now available on the commercial site findmypast
The FamilySearch (LDS) film number for these records is 498606, item 2. LDS batch number for baptisms 1828-1829 C310051. Data for the baptisms 1828-1829 has been transcribed on the LDS website Family Search. Enter batch number C310051, and baptismal records for Singapore on film 498606 will be shown. It is not known whether the data is a complete transcription or not. These records are in the World category (All Records Collections) in a group of records called World Miscellaneous.
Returns are continued in the Bengal returns 1830-1868, N/1. For Malacca marriages 1820-1824, see also IOR: R/9/39/3.
  • The National Archives of Singapore has in its collection, viewable in Singapore, microfilms of registers of baptisms, marriages and burials from various churches, mainly in Singapore. In the Advanced Search , under source, look at the various churches listed, and check what records are available. Includes Roman Catholic churches. For Anglican church records the sources as listed include "Church of England, Diocese of Singapore" and "St Andrew's Cathedral (Organisation : Singapore)". The former category also includes some records from Bangkok and Java, as churches in these regions were (and still appear to be) part of the Anglican Diocese of Singapore.
Subsets of these records are available as digitised microfilms available on FamilySearch, viewable at FamilySearch Centres and FamilySearch Affiliate Libraries. Catalogue entries include the Anglican Parish registers, 1820-1972 St. Andrew's Church (Singapore) and Parish registers, 1870-1973 Church of St. Peter and Paul.
  • For other records available on FamilySearch (LDS), this catalogue entry based on keyword Singapore, and English language and online filter, includes details of digitised microfilm church and cemetery records available for Singapore. See FamilySearch Centres for viewing details.
  • The book Fort Canning Cemetery, Singapore by A.G. Harfield 1978 is available at the British Library BLL01008881762 . This book has an association with, although was not published by BACSA, but it is not clear whether the content is included in the following 1988 book, (although it seems likely it has) or is separate, or whether it is included in the BACSA database, see following item.
  • BACSA has published the book Early Cemeteries in Singapore by Alan Harfield 1988 (revised edn) "Comprehensive record of all main cemeteries. 400pp, over 150 illustrations, maps and plans". For more details about the books currently available, and also those out of print, see BACSA - See also. This book is included in the BACSA Search database which is free to search. If you want a copy of the full record, a fee applies.
    • FamilySearch have digitised the above BACSA book which however is currently (2019/10) not viewable online.
  • British & Indian Armies in the East Indies (1685-1935) by Alan Harfield 1984 is available at the British Library, UIN: BLL01012672115. History of British and Indian Armies in Sumatra, Java, Sarawak, Malaya and Singapore from 1685-1935. Includes names of officers and men buried in these areas. Also includes name lists of persons in some military units which served in these areas.
    • FamilySearch have digitised this book which however is currently (2019/10) not viewable online.
  • Birth, marriage and death notices were published in Singapore newspapers. See following section for online newspapers.
  • See below External links, Institutions for Singapore Government records of births and deaths.


  • NewspaperSG Digitised newspapers from the National Library Board, Singapore.
To see the coverage , click on Browse Newspapers/Newspaper titles, then select the title from the drop down menu. Clicking on the title name will take you to an information page, where you can see the date coverage, and if require, select a specific issue. It appears there is some coverage from 1827 (Singapore Chronicle And The Commercial Register), or perhaps even earlier.
  • The London and China Express, published in London, with target readership those outside the Indian Empire, including the Straits Settlements, is available on Findmypast, category "Newspapers & periodicals"/"British newspapers", with the same contents also available on the British Newspaper Archive, both pay websites. The date range is from November 25, 1858 to July 2, 1931. For more details see Newspapers and journals online.

Recommended reading

  • Raffles and the Golden Opportunity by Victoria Glendinning, published 2012.
This book has been reviewed by Beverly Hallam in FIBIS Journal Number 30 (Autumn 2013) page 43

Also see

External links

Encylopedia entries



"A Brief History of the Volunteer Forces in Singapore", Appendix I from a larger publication, probably One of a Kind Remembering SAFTI's First Batch. Ministry of Defence. Stated to be largely based on information from Captain T. M. Winsley’s A History of The Singapore Volunteer Corps 1854 – 1937.
The Malayan Volunteer Forces by Rosemary Fell.
Singapore And Malaya Volunteer Corps Medals 10 March 2013 from “Singapore Volunteer Corps, Straits Settlements Volunteer Force, Malaya Volunteer Forces”
Malayan Volunteers Group Includes categories such as History, Stories, Malayan Volunteer Air Force, Evacuees, Armoured Cars, Sumatra etc.
[Bibliography]: Primary Accounts of Singapore from 1800s to 1942
"Spreading the word: using cookbooks and colonial memoirs to examine the foodways of British Colonials in Asia, 1850-1900" by Cecilia Y. Leong-Salobir, University of Wollongong. From The Routledge History of Food 2015 (pp. 131-155)


Historical photographs online

Historical books online

Books about Singapore, 1972 by National Library of Singapore 1972
For 1873, Contents; Civil Establishments , commencing with an Index page 177, Singapore page 187, Penang page 209, Malacca page 223.
Straits Settlements Blue Book for 1896, 1912, 1915, 1917, 1919, 1920, 1921, 1922, 1924, 1925, 1926, 1929, 1930, 1931, 1932, 1933, 1934, 1935, 1936, 1937, 1938 Google Books. Mirror versions of these editions are available in the previously mentioned link.
National Archives of Singapore has many editions catalogued as Straits Settlements Blue Books. In the Advanced Search for the title use search term Blue Books. All editions 1870-1938 appear to be available to read online (but download does not appear possible) and additionally there is Colony of Singapore Blue Book 1946. Unfortunately the book reader is not easy to use. To increase size of font use your mouse wheel , and then an adjustment bar appears. To navigate to a particular page, use the thumbnails. The catalogue includes editions from 1867, but editions prior to 1870 do not appear to have been digitised. There is a Search option within each text, and the Search link previously mentioned also seems able to be used to search the texts of the entire collection using keywords.
Straits Settlements Blue Book are available on "Sea-Delt SouthEast Asian DEvelopment in the Long Term", however all years available appear to be also available on other sites. Example 1932 Pdf. (Also 1888, 1904, 1907, 1908, 1910 which are also available on, and 1922 available Google Books).
Other editions of the Blue Books of Statistics are available at the National Archives, Kew record series CO 277 1867-1939, part of "Records of Local Bodies and Other Colonial Miscellanea" commencing with CO 277/1 for 1867. (Also CO 939/1 for 1946, for Singapore).
Colonial Office Reports from 1946 Singapore for 1946, 1947, 1948.
Colonial Reports - Annual. Straits Settlements for 1931-1932, 1934-1938 are available to download from "Sea-Delt SouthEast Asian DEvelopment in the Long Term".
Index to journals nos. 1 to 50 of the Straits Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society and to notes and queries I to IV, published 1909. BookSG (which also has 1878 and 1880 editions)
For more details of this Mutiny on 15 February 1915, see 5th Light Infantry.
  • "A Lady’s Experiences in the Singapore Mutiny" page 781 Blackwood’s Magazine, no 198 July-December 1915. Also see previous entry.
  • Drainage problems of the East : being a revised and enlarged edition of "Oriental drainage", [Volume 1] by C C James 1917, first published 1906 Includes chapters relating to Drainage of the major cities in India (Bombay, Calcutta, Karachi, Madras, “Benares, Lucknow, Mirzapur and Lahore”), Rangoon, Singapore, Penang and Shanghai, and of the major cities in Egypt. Drainage problems of the East, Volume 2- Plans by C C James 1917
  • One hundred years of Singapore : being some account of the capital of the Straits Settlements from its foundation by Sir Stamford Raffles on the 6th February 1819 to the 6th February 1919. Edited by Walter Makepeace, Dr Gilbert R Brooke. Roland St J Braddell 1921. Volume I, Volume II
  • From Siam to Suez by James Saxon Childers 1932 The author travelled to Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Burma and India.
  • Singapore Patrol by Alec Dixon, 1935. Pdf download, National Library of Malaysia. Note: sample pages only. The author who joined the Straits Settlements Police postwar was one of a small force of detectives, where riots, murders, and robberies, occurred with alarming frequency. Full title (perhaps only in some editions): Singapore Patrol: Experiences of a Detective Officer in Malaya. Review The Straits Times, 6 December 1935 Review The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW) 14 Dec 1935
Some Principles of Policemanship by Mervyn Llewelyn Wynne 1938 Singapore. Pdf download, Repositori Digital, National Library of Malaysia. Probably sample pages only.
Singapore : A Police Background by Rene Onraet 1947. Pdf download, Repositori Digital, National Library of Malaysia. Catalogued as an autobiography. The author was Inspector-General of the Straits Settlement Police between 1935 and 1939. Probably sample pages only.
CSCA: Source Documents in Anglican Missions in Southeast Asia compiled by Michael Poon.


Medical history of Singapore

  • Cholera (1973 Mar)
  • The Pauper Hospital (8 Parts-1973 Mar; 1974 Mar; 1975 Jun; 1975 Sep; 1975 Dec; 1976 Mar; 1976 Jun; 1976 Sep)
  • Smallpox and Vaccination (4 Parts- 1973 Dec; 1976 Dec; 1977 Mar; 1977 Jun)
  • Prostitution And Venereal Disease (2 Parts-1980 Oct; 1980 Dec)
  • The Mental Diseases Hospital Singapore (1st 100 Years) (4 Parts-1992 Aug; 1992 Oct;1992 Dec;1993 Feb)
  • The Coroner (2005 Oct)
  • Radiology (2006 Feb)
  • Anaesthetics (2006 Mar)
  • Pharmacy (2006 May).

Also see Apothecary and Nurse