From FIBIwiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

This article details sources for monumental inscriptions and cemetery records.

See also:

FIBIS resources

  • The FIBIS database has a category of records called Cemeteries
  • FIBIS Fact File No 6: Graves in British India by Richard Morgan 2011.
    • Part 1 explains what sources, paper and online, there are for Memorial Inscriptions in British India.
    • Part 2 suggests how to make best use of your time and resources if you wish to visit India and transcribe or photograph MIs of ancestors there.
Available to buy from the FIBIS Shop
  • 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
  • "Some Unpublished Inscriptions from the Cemeteries of Jaipur" by Syed Faizan Raza FIBIS Journal Number 37 (Spring 2017) pages 47-51. See FIBIS Journals for details of how to access this article

British Library Records

  • The British Library has the book, in three volumes, The Oriental Obituary being an impartial compilation from monumental inscriptions on the tombs of those persons whose ashes are deposited in these remote parts since the formation of European Settlements, to the present time To which is added Biographical Sketches, Anecdotes, etc by William Urquhart of Madras. Published in Madras by Journal Press, 1809. Shelfmark: General Reference Collection C.55.d.23. This book must be read in the Rare Books Reading Room. The first volume of The Oriental Obituary is available online at archive.org, refer below. It appears that some or all of the contents of this book has been borrowed by M Derozario for his 1815 book The Complete Monumental Register, available online, refer below.
  • IOR/V/27/73/3-6 gives details of the four volumes of the book List of burials at Madras / compiled from the register of St. Mary’s Church, Fort St. George by C.H. Malden, for the period 1680-1900, published 1903-05. Also available as Shelfmark OIR 929.5 open access , where the four volumes are bound in one. Volume 3, for the period 1800-1850, is available online, refer below.
  • Official Publications: Monumental Inscriptions and Monuments IOR/V/27/74 1848-1946. Many of these items are books on the open access shelves.
    • Two of these books, items IOR/V/27/74/69 -70, A list of inscriptions on Christian tombs or monuments in the Punjab, North-West Frontier Province, Kashmir and Afghanistan possessing historical or archaeological interest Part 1 by Miles Irving (1910) and Part 2 by George William De Rhe-Philipe (1912), the latter containing biographical information, have been reprinted by the Naval and Military Press under the title Soldiers of the Raj. These books are also available to read online, refer below.
    • An additional book at the British Library is List of Inscriptions on Tombs or Monuments in H.E.H. the Nizam's Dominions : with biographical notes by O.S. Crofton.1941 (UIN: BLL01001781826)
  • United Kingdom High Commission files relating to cemeteries IOR/R/4/1-539 1943-1967. Transferred from Indian Public Works Department to the British High Commission, New Delhi, and from there to the India Office Records in 1972-73. Includes
    • File 12a Military memorials of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders in India and Pakistan IOR/R/4/87 Dec 1948-Dec 1950
    • File 12b Military memorials of the Royal Artillery in India and Pakistan IOR/R/4/88 Jul 1947-May 1948
    • File 12e Military memorials of the Royal Engineers and the Sappers and Miners in India IOR/R/4/91 Jul 1947-Dec 1947
    • File 18/1 Durham Light Infantry monuments IOR/R/4/97 Aug 1949-May 1950
    • File 18/4 Graves of foreign nationals IOR/R/4/114 Mar 1890-Sep 1950
    • Also contains items "List of inscriptions". As an example, the FIBIS data base contains Transcriptions of summary data from gravestones in Chakrata taken from IOR/R4/539
Note these records are available on Family Search microfilm/digitised microfilm [1] where there is more detail provided about the individual items, in the "Film Notes".
  • Bengal Past and Present which was the Journal of the Calcutta Historical Society was issued from 1907. Some issues contained articles about burial inscriptions. Most editions are held by the British Library, although some appear to be missing. There is also an Index volume for the years 1907-1985, available on open access in the Asian & African Studies Reading Room
  • There is an extensive collection of records in the BACSA archive at the British Library, refer British Association for Cemeteries in South Asia, Mss Eur F370. The BACSA archive also includes publications, one BACSA listing is "Publications containing data chiefly of geographical interest", where at least one of the publications does not appear to be listed elsewhere Inscriptions on Christian graves and memorial tablets in the Purnea District, Bihar and Orissa by Rev H Hosten, SJ (Patna, 1920) photocopy of printed book Mss Eur F370/1156. There is also a BACSA listing titled "Publications containing data chiefly of biographical interest", see BACSA, where geographical coverage is mixed/covers multiple locations.
  • Lloyd Collection: papers on European cemeteries in India and biographical information on British in India Mss Eur F146

Libraries in India

  • The Goethals Indian Library in Calcutta holds the book The Registers & Inscriptions of the Church of Our Lady of Dolours, Baithakhana (1810-1914) by Fr H Hosten, published 1915, which probably contains burial details.This was a Portuguese church. See Calcutta - Churches and missions for more details.

Other libraries

  • Some of the cemetery inscriptions by Fr H Hosten are held at the Maurits Sabbe Library, University of Leuven, Belgium.



A very useful resource for locating ancestors buried in South Asia is the British Association for Cemeteries in South Asia (BACSA). This organisation is dedicated to preserving European cemeteries in the region and has completed many projects to preserve cemeteries. It has many records in its archive at the British Library. In addition, BACSA publishes many useful books on the subject of South Asia, including complete transcriptions of all the monuments in many cemeteries. To view the Cemetery Record books currently available, and also those out of print, go to BACSA Books and select Cemetery Record Books. Also see Cemeteries and monumental inscriptions reading list.

For online editions of the BACSA Journal Chowkidar, refer Other external links, below.


  • Indian-cemeteries.org has hundreds of transcribed memorials from cemeteries all over India. This website is now archived, however most of the internal information still appears to be accessible.


If your ancestors died during the First, or Second World War whilst serving with Commonwealth armed forces (for the six member counties Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, South Africa and the United Kingdom, but also including some other Commonwealth forces), then their graves will be maintained in special cemeteries by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. These are scattered throughout Asia (and other parts of the world) and are beautifully maintained. The dates covered for commemoration on the CWGC website are 4 August 1914 to 31 August 1921 and 3 September 1939 to 31 December 1947. There were some additional military burials in cemeteries maintained by the CWGC, outside these dates, which are also maintained, but the names will not be included in the database on the website.[2]

The CWGC has a long term program in India for the reinstatement of First World War Cantonment Graves which were previously declared un-maintainable[3]

For images, see the "War Graves Photographic Project" below

The CWGC, (until 1960 called the Imperial War Graves Commission), maintains the CWGC Archive, including a Library, located in the Head Office in Maidenhead, England. An earlier webpage, now archived, with more details.
Hierarchy Browser for the Archive. Includes "1 Historic Archive", subdivided according to WW1 and WW2 (click through for more sections) . For WW1, "Section 7 - Care of Graves and Cemeteries of British and Empire War Casualties" and "Section 8 - Care of Non-British Empire Graves by the Commission", see the archived earlier version webpage which shows the Archive holding in one document.
The Library holdings. Includes a number of regimental histories.
Archive catalogue Search. Some of the catalogue items have been digitised, and these are located through the catalogue Search.
War Records Revealed website, Category Records, includes some articles on the CWGC records and Archive.

Inscriptions in online books

Also available from wikimedia.org as a pdf.
List of Inscriptions on Christian Tombs and Tablets of Historical Interest in the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh by Sir Edward Arthur Henry Blunt (1911) Archive.org. Index of names, following page 263.

Other historical books online

  • Two Monsoons by Theon Wilkinson with drawings by Bill Smith 1976. Archive.org Lending Library. The aim was to provide "an insight into the life and death of Europeans in India in the last three centuries".

Other external links

  • Kabristan Archives 'Ireland - Ceylon - India Genealogy'. Includes a Search and partial transcriptions of records. Transcriptions (probably the same partial transcriptions) from some of the records are also available on the pay website findmypast in the database "British India Office Deaths & Burials".
  • The War Graves Photographic Project. Worked in conjunction with the CWGC until June 2016. Covers “all nationalities and military conflicts”. A researcher found an image for a British Army soldier who died in Hong Kong c 1900.[4] There is a fee payable if you require a high resolution image or photograph.
  • British War Graves: War Grave Photographs is a site which provides free photographs of War graves from some cemeteries around the world. Includes category "Memorials to the Missing" which includes Basra Memorial.
  • Asia War Graves. Provides free photographs of War graves in Asia for selected cemeteries, mainly relating to the Second World War.
  • Find A Grave - millions of user added grave inscriptions from around the world, some with photos. Asian cemeteries not well covered but some with war graves/memorials have many entries.
  • deceased online Search for free and pay to view records. Mainly UK records
    • Includes a section on burials at overseas military garrisons. For details, select coverage, then scroll down to " “The National Archives - Military Burials” date added: 12 Dec 2013". The records are mainly from Malta, Egypt and Cyprus. Selected records from WO 156/103-122.
  • Stephen Lewis' Soldiers Memorials lists NCO and other ranks graves in India by surname, amongst other memorials. Officers Died is the equivalent commissioned ranks site.
  • Last Post - Indian War Memorials Around the World by Rana T S Chhina. Photographs. issuu.com. Also available mea.gov.in Ministry of External Affairs, India which may be easier to view.
Memorials to Indian soldiers and sailors First World War cwgc.org, now an archived webpage.
Memorials to Indian soldiers and sailors Second World War cwgc.org, now an archived webpage.


  1. Microfilm catalogue entry British High Commission cemetery records, ca. 1870-1967 (See FamilySearch Centres for access.)
  2. charlie2 A CWGC anomaly Great War Forum 22 March 2017. Retrieved 22 March 2017.
  3. 2011-2012 Annual Report page 19 (located in “Learning and Resources” section of the website)
  4. 2ndRWF. 2nd Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers graves hong kong Victorian Wars Forum 18 Nov 2012, now archived.