British Association for Cemeteries in South Asia

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The British Association for Cemeteries in South Asia (or BACSA) was established in 1976 to care for, and to record, European cemeteries wherever the East India Company operated. It has published an extensive series of books, including transcriptions of gravestones throughout India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia and surrounding areas, as well as more general information on the British presence in this region.

BACSA have put indexes to the majority of their cemetery books online and these indexes are free to browse. If an indexed name is of interest then application can be made to BACSA for details of the relevant burial inscription - charges apply for this service. Many of the burials indicated in the search facility do not appear in the N Series of burials held in the British Library and this is , therefore, an invaluable supplementary resource to those records. Names on India related Monumental Inscriptions known to BACSA have also been included in the search facility - many of these being UK inscriptions. See Cemeteries and Burials/Burials Information which is BACSA Search for more information.

In addition to their published material, the archive containing all of BACSA's transcripts is deposited in the private papers collection (shelf mark Mss Eur F370) at the British Library, where it may be consulted by readers. BACSA Cemetery files and BACSA Other archive resources has details about the items contained in the BACSA Archive. The latter link includes "Publications containing data chiefly of biographical interest" and "Publications containing data chiefly of geographical interest".

In respect of category 1 "Cemetery files", the website previously advised "Some files contain little information. Others may include information of all kinds, for example photographs, reports and correspondence on the cemetery's condition, burial registers, copies of inscriptions, notes on individuals buried there, or descriptions of the town in which the cemetery is situated" (and there is now similar wording). The archive includes some card indexes/papers prepared by Lt Col H K Percy Smith (1897-1975) who also prepared the Percy Smith card index collection at the Society of Genealogists.

It is also possible to browse the contents of the BACSA archive from the British Library catalogue by entering the name BACSA, or Library reference Mss Eur F370.

BACSA publishes a journal, Chowkidar, twice a year, containing a wide range of news, queries about ancestors, topics of interest and reviews of books about South Asia. Past editions are now available online, refer below.

See also

FamilySearch digitised books

FamilySearch have digitised some of the BACSA books. Previously, although they had restricted access, they could be viewed on a FamilySearch computer at a FamilySearch Centre. Currently, 2020/12, this option is not available, (but perhaps may return in the future, so the following details have been retained).

The following have been noted, but search the FS catalogue for additional publications. Note these books also appear in the FamilySearch Digital Library catalogue as Assess Level: Protected with the wording "Due to copyright restrictions, this book cannot be viewed online". :

  • North West India
    • Dehra Dung [should be Dun] : Chandranagar Cemetery by Aylmer Jean Galsworthy c 1993 catalogue entry
    • Peshawar cemetery : North West Frontier Province, Pakistan (in two volumes) by Susan Maria Farrington c 1988-91 catalogue entry
    • Quetta, monuments and inscriptions : Baluchistan, Pakistan by Susan Maria Farrington c 1992 catalogue entry
  • Southern India
    • Christ Church, Polibetta, Coorg, India : burials, 1892-1962 1985. catalogue entry
  • Other Asian countries
    • Bencoolen : the Christian Cemetery and the Fort Marlborough Monuments by Alan Harfield c 1985 catalogue entry
    • Christian cemeteries and memorials in Malacca by Alan Harfield c 1984 catalogue entry. Also available online, refer below.
    • Christian cemeteries of Penang and Perak by Alan Harfield c 1987 catalogue entry
    • Early cemeteries in Singapore by Alan Harfield c 1988 catalogue entry
  • General, not cemetery books
    • Under the old school topee by Hazel Innes Craig c 1990. Concerns schools established in India and Pakistan for British and other European children. catalogue entry

External links

Historical books online