Biographical Records (IOR O series)

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The Biographical Records series is classified as India Office Records Series O which is briefly explained in the two following links from the British Library’s Help for Researchers


The records IOR O/5/1-31 are available on LDS microfilm, with this catalogue entry. The description of the records is:

"Contains information about various Europeans, other than the Company's servants, accused of misconduct in India, 1766-1824, with some years missing, plus European inhabitants of Bengal, 1793-1830, Madras, 1702-1828, and Bombay, 1718-1792. Details in these latter lists may vary and may include year of arrival in India, name of vessel, nationality of wife if married, names of widows, names of single women of marriageable age, names of children, occupations, residence in India, year of return to England, place of nativity or nationality or "born at sea". In the 1750s the lists also include the names of married women but do not identify their husbands. References are also given for those shipwrecked or "taken prisoner by the French" who remained in India. Records are in excellent condition, but spelling of surnames in early records is variable".

The last five microfilms cover the series IOR O/5/25-31 Returns of non-official European Inhabitants. The LDS catalogue description, with microfilm numbers, together with Presidency details supplied by Sylvia Murphy, is:

  • Index & rough notes to lists of Europeans, 1766-1829; Summaries, 1766-1824; Lists, 1793-1809. (Bengal) 2104564
  • Lists, 1793-1809 (cont'd) and 1808-1817 (includes A-H index for 1817). (Bengal) 2104565
  • Lists, 1817-1830, (Bengal) 1702-1780 and 1786-1798. (Madras) 2104566
  • Lists, 1798-1828. (Madras) 2104567
  • Lists, 1718-1792. (Bombay) 2104568 Items 1-3

Some of these records contain information which may not be available elsewhere.

The records for Bengal found in IOR O/5/25-31 include many indigo planters, including some from France. Although the records generally do not cover the East India Company's employees, there are 1818, 1819 and 1820 Lists of Madras uncovenanted civil servants to be found in this series. The heading at the top of the 1820 List is "List of Uncovenanted Europeans employed in the Honble Company's Service under the Presidency of Fort St George with a Statement of the Allowances drawn by them as it stood on the 30th April 1820". (Refer below)

Microfilms 2104564-2104568 are permanently available at the LDS FamilySearch Centre at Parramatta, Sydney, Australia


The records IOR O/6-39 are available on LDS microfilm, with this catalogue entry: Personal records, 1794-1841 India Office. Biographical series

The index film is 2029173 Items 5-6. This may possibly be applicable for only for some of the records, perhaps IOR O/6/1-12 as "Z/0/6/-12" (Z being an index record) is mentioned in the film notes.

For comments about these records, and Surnames A-G from the Index, see External links below.

FIBIS resources

Also see

Update: Microfilm ordering services ceases 31 August 2017, however selected microfilms have been digitised and are currently available for viewing on a FamilySearch computer at a FamilySearch Centre. Locate these records through the FamilySearch catalogue. It is expected that in time all microfilms will be similarly available in this format.

External Links

  • Index to part of the India office records (Surnames A-G) held in the British Library under 0/6/1-20. This external website indicates that records under this reference cover a period c1794-1841. and that "the series consists of memoranda prepared at East India House, and cover a range of miscellaneous subjects including the services and character of individuals, memorials, complaints, claims, petitions, suggestions on administrative changes and expeditions." (Bob Holland’s Rampais website)