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Burma (now officially called the Union of Myanmar) was a province of the Bengal Presidency until the establishment of the Burma Office in 1937 after which it was administered separately until independence in 1948.


Places in Burma:


The British annexed parts of Burmese territory after their victory in the 1st Burma War. Lower Burma was annexed in 1852 after the 2nd Burma War. In 1862, these territories were designated the minor province of British India, British Burma. After the 3rd Burma War in 1885, Upper Burma was annexed, and the following year, the province of Burma in British India was created, becoming a major province in 1897. This arrangement lasted until 1937, when Burma began to be administered separately by the Burma Office and the Secretary of State for India and Burma. Burma achieved independence from British rule on January 4, 1948.

FIBIS resources

Extracts from "The Private Letters of William Porter, Gunner, 3rd Batt., Madras Artillery (1826-1857) (Mss Eur. G128, British Library)", including time spent in Burma


Also see

Trek Out of Burma in 1942

Following the Japanese bombing in 1942, half a million refugees attempted to walk to India. Many died.

Historical books online

  • Forgotten Frontier by Geoffrey Tyson, published 1945. Archive.org. The book is about the escape of refugees from Burma in 1942 and the help provided by the tea planters of Assam in assisting the refugees from north Burma into India.
  • Burma Diary by Paul Geren published 1943 In 1941 Paul Geren agreed to spend two years at Judson College in Rangoon, Burma, as a short-term missionary under the American Baptist Foreign Mission Society. Following the Japanese bombing Professor Geren's classroom became a field hospital as he offered his services as an ambulance driver to Dr. Gordon Seagrave, the famed Burma surgeon. He later trekked to India. From the website ourstory.info
  • Through the jungle of death : a boy's escape from wartime Burma by Stephen Brookes published 2000. Archive.org Lending Library.

Railways and Tramways


British Library

  • Baptisms, Marriages and Burials for Burma are included in the Bengal returns (N/1) up to 1936. Records for 1937 to 1959 are in a separate series N/10 with a single index for Burma BMBs. These records are part of the digitised India Office Records collection on the commercial website findmypast, and at least the N1 record indexes are available on FamilySearch (both datasets subject to a few exceptions).
  • Burma Gazette IOR/V/11/3406-3694 1875-1952.This publication was one of the Government Gazettes which were the official newspapers of the Government of India and its provincial governments where information, such as appointments, promotions,etc was 'gazetted'.

LDS (Mormon)

Note: Microfilm ordering services ceased 8 September 2017. Some microfilms have been digitized, these are shown with a camera icon, and the remainder are expected to be available online by 2020, refer individual microfilm catalogue entries. Please take this into account when reading the information below. . See FamilySearch Centres for more details.

The LDS film catalogue has the following entries:


  • FIBIS blog: Book of the month. A comprehensive new edition of Burma Register of European Deaths and Burials, edited by Rosie Llewellyn-Jones, published by BACSA, 2015. Covers burials up to 1948. 212pp
  • From the catalogue of the Centre for Jewish History, New York and available through the American Sephardi Federation, whose Library may be contacted through the latter's website
    • Birth Register Book: Musmeah Yeshua Synagogue Rangoon. Published 1979 In English, records available from 1896 to 1979. In Hebrew, available from 1888
      • Rangoon Old Book Online transcriptions Births c 1890 - October 1923. American Sephardi Federation, now an archived webpage.
    • Death Register Book: Musmeah Yeshua Synagogue Rangoon. Published 1979. Available from 1888. In Hebrew with Sephardi Script.
  • "Inscriptions on Christian Tombs, Akyab, Arakan" [1836-1906] page 15, Bengal Past and Present, Volume 18, Jan-June 1919. Archive.org, Digital Library of India Collection.

Economy and business

The leading British firms in Burma were the Burma Oil Company, which controlled the oil industry, Steel Brothers and Company Limited, which worked in oil, rice and general trading business, the Rangoon Electric Tramway and Supply Company Limited, the Anglo-Burma Tin Company , and the Burma Corporation Limited, which operated the Bawdwin Mines.[2]

Also refer Twentieth century impressions of Burma: its history, people, commerce, industries, and resources by Arnold Wright in Online books below

Recommended Reading

  • The book Old Soldier Sahib by Frank Richards, is about the early 1900s in India and Burma and mentioned in Military reading list. The book was first published in 1936. There is a further 2005 edition, annotated by Krijnen and Langley, with many footnotes and illustrations. "Each page is annotated to give information on Frank Richards’s friends, his officers, the places where he served in India and Burma, dates, events and the language, for example".[3]
  • Details of the book A Soldier’s Story-From the Khyber Pass to the Jungles of Burma: The Memoir of a British Officer in the Indian Army 1933-1947 by John Archibald Hislop, edited by Penny Kocher 2010. There is a review by Richard Morgan of A Soldier’s Story in FIBIS Journal Number 26 Autumn 2011, page 52. For details of how to access this article, see FIBIS Journals. The review may also be read in this link, along with other reviews.
  • The Brewing Storm – 1939-1941 (2013) and Burma Invaded - 1942 (2013), both by Major C M Enriquez, based on his diary. Review by Peter Bailey, page 52 FIBIS Journal Number 33 (Spring 2015)

External links

Library.gif The FIBIS Google Books Library
has books tagged:


Burma Campaign Memorial Library, SOAS, London, and Digital catalogue

Historical photographs online

  • Photographs: Burma from a collection "ca. 1889, some photographs later” New York Public Library Digital Collection.

Historical books online

Fifty years' reminiscences of India : a retrospect of travel, adventure and shikar by Colonel Pollock, Madras Staff Corps 1896. Southeast Asia Visions, Cornell University. Archive.org version In 1853 the author was appointed to the Madras Sappers and Miners in Burma.
"On the Ruby Mines near Mogok, Burma" by Robert Gordon, C.E with Map showing the position of the Ruby Mines Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society and Monthly Record of Geography, Vol. 10, No. 5, May 1888, pages 261–275, Map page 324. Archive.org
"Burma Rubies" page 153 Precious stones and gems, their history, sources and characteristics by Edwin William Streeter 6th Edition 1898 Archive.org
Thibaw's Queen by H Fielding (later H Fielding Hall) 1899 Archive.org.
Also see Fiction, below.
  • An English girl's first impression of Burmah by Beth Ellis 1899 Archive.org.
  • Wild sports of Burma and Assam by Fitz William Thomas Pollok and W. S. Thom 1900 Archive.org
  • "Prisons of Burmah" page 171 Oriental Prisons: Prisons and Crime in India, The Andaman Islands, Burmah- China-Japan-Egypt Turkey by Major Arthur Griffiths, late Inspector of Prisons in Great Britain. C1900. Archive.org. Volume XII in the series The history and romance of crime from the earliest time to the present day. Published by the Grolier Society.
  • Monographs concerning Industry and Industrial Art. Mainly Pdf downloads, Digital Repository of GIPE. Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics [Pune]
Monograph on Ivory Carving in Burma by H S Pratt 1901 Archive.org.
Glass Mosaics of Burma with Photographs by Harry L Tilly 1901
Silk in Burma by J P Hardiman 1901
Silverwork of Burma with photographs by P. Klier by Harry L Tilly 1902
Wood-carving of Burma, with photographs by P Klier by Harry L Tilly 1903
Monograph on Iron and Steel Work in Burma by E N Bell (cataloged as Bett) 1907. Also available Archive.org
Burma From The Earliest Times To The Present Day by J G Scott, 1924 is available as a pdf download on the Digital Library of India. Archive.org version.
Burma by Sir Herbert Thirkell White 1923 Archive.org. Volume 4 in the series Provincial Geographies of India.
A Burmese Loneliness: a tale of travel in Burma, the Southern Shan States and Keng Tung by Captain C M Enriquez, 21st Punjabis (Burma Military Police: 85th Burma Rifles) 1918 Archive.org.
A Burmese Wonderland : a Tale of Travel in Lower and Upper Burma by Major C M Enriquez, 3-70th Kachin Rifles, Divisional Recruiting Officer, Burma 1922 with a Map of Burma Archive.org
A Burmese Arcady, an account of a long and intimate sojourn amongst the mountain dwellers of the Burmese hinterland and of their engaging characteristics and customs by Major C M Enriquez, [3/70th] Kachin Rifles. 1923. Southeast Asia Visions, Cornell University.



  1. Milner, Rowland. Family History Donald Mellican Rootsweb India Mailing List 04 September 1999. Retrieved 2 November 2018.
  2. Google Books snippet search result from Joint international business ventures in the Union of Burma, page 18 by U. Tun Thin 1959.
  3. Old Soldier Sahib: Edited by Krijnen, H J & Langley, D E Review by Maurice Johnson, westernfrontassociation.com, now archived.
    grumpy. Life of the British soldier in India, 1900-1914 Victorian Wars Forum 27 December 2012. Retrieved 2 November 2018.