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Major locations


  • The Opium Wars:


  • See General Register Office, UK
  • China Families, previously called China Coast Family History, (and part of the Chinese Maritime Customs project, University of Bristol, refer External links below). The website provides "a growing body of information about men and women of many different nationalities, professions and ages, who lived and worked in China between the 1850s and 1940s. These records have been drawn from government department lists, legal and diplomatic records, cemetery lists, and during research undertaken for a number of projects on the history of modern China and of the foreign relations of China". There is a Search facility and links to a number of online Directories.
  • FamilySearch: Indexed Historical Records: China. See FamilySearch for more about this free website.
There are some records for China [1] in the "World Miscellaneous" records on FamilySearch (source unspecified) which may be accessed through the following links: World Miscellaneous Births and Baptisms, World Miscellaneous Marriages, World Miscellaneous Deaths and Burials.
Additionally, Search the FamilySearch Catalog for microfilm/digitised microfilm records relating to China by using keywords such as China, and selecting Availability Online. As examples
"Cemetery records of old and new cemetery, 1859-1899 and Seaman's cemetery, Pootung, in Shanghai, China, 1859-1879" catalogue entry microfilm 418134 has been digitised and may be viewed at a FamilySearch Centre or FamilySearch Affiliate Library, see FamilySearch Centres.
"Births, deaths, marriages from Canton and Hong Kong newspapers, arranged chronologically, 1828-1862" catalogue entry microfilm 1208508, item 13, which has been digitised and may be viewed on your home computer.
"Europeans - China Coast : [card file]" “Individual cards for Europeans residing in Hong Kong and China during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries”. Digitised microfilm which may be viewed on your home computer.
  • Ecclesiastical Returns: Baptisms, Marriages and Burials at the British Library - Macao and Whampoa [Canton] 1820-1833, IOR N/9. These records are now available on the pay site findmypast
  • Refer online Hong Kong newspapers, a free database, for birth, marriage and death notices.
  • For those with access, (refer below) there may be birth, marriage and death notices in online newspapers which are part of ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Chinese Newspapers Collection and Japan Times Archives.
  • British and Indian Armies on the China Coast 1785-1985 by Alan Harfield 1990 is available at the British Library. Includes lists such as “List of Known Recipients of the Hong Kong Plague Medal 1894” and “List of Officers who served with the Hong Kong Regiment 1892-1902”. This link lists some “Military Commanders of Hong Kong and China” from the book (pages 483-484).
  • China: Sources in the India Office Records Guide to records at the British Library, now an archived webpage.
  • Refer Historical books online, below.


  • Book: The Story of the Takow Foreign Cemetery by David Charles Oakley 2016. Published by Bureau of Cultural Affairs Kaohsiung City Government, Taiwan. ISBN 9789860511130 . Available at the British Library UIN: BLL01018867231 . In English and Chinese. Details of the author and the book.[2] Takow/Takao is present day Kaohsiung.


  • British Association for Cemeteries in South Asia (BACSA) has published
Gaijin Bochi : the Foreigners' Cemetery, Yokohama, Japan by Patricia McCabe BACSA, 1994.
Inscriptions including biographical details of over 4000 graves from 1854. Over 41 nations are represented in the last 140 years.
BACSA have put indexes to the majority of their cemetery books online, including it is believed this book, and these indexes are free to browse. For more details, see the Fibiwiki page British Association for Cemeteries in South Asia.

British Army and Navy

The British Army leased for a time Wei-hai-wei (a fine natural harbour) on the mainland and Liu Kung Tao island. There was a garrison of British Troops. A naval depot serviced the Royal Navy's China Squadron,[3] whose main base was at Hong Kong. Wei-hai-wei was the summer port for the Submarine Flotilla.[4]

Following the fall of the Manchu dynasty China was plunged into civil war and Japanese intervention, and international forces were sent to preserve foreign interests. The 30th, 34th, 47th, 55th, 59th, and 81st, all served there in the 1920s and 30s, guarding the legations in Peking and defending international settlements at Tientsin, Canton, and most importantly Shanghai.[5]The Shanghai Defence Force was established by the British Government during a period of tension in 1927, see Shanghai for more details. An additional regiment known to have been in China in the 1920s is the Queen's Royal Surrey Regiment - there may be others.

Also see "Historical Books online", below for information about Wei-hai-wei, and the fictional account, based on personal experience, Yangtze Skipper. The author served on HMS "Scarab" (river gunboat) in 1919-1920.

Also see

Information about the English language Chinese newspaper database ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Chinese Newspapers Collection; ProQuest Historical Newspapers: South China Morning Post—1903-1998; and Japan Times Archives.

External links

Historical books online

  • Article in the Asiatic Journal, Volume 13, January-June 1822. "A Succinct Historical Narrative of the East India Company’s Endeavours to Form Settlements and to Extend and Encourage Trade in the East and of the Causes by which those Endeavours have been Frustrated":
    • Section 1 Sumatra, Borneo, Java, the Eastern Islands, etc . pages 1-11
    • Section 2 The continental kingdoms of Siam, Cochin-China [Southern Vietnam], Tonquin [Northern Vietnam], Pegu [Burma], and Ava [Burma]. pages 11-20,
    • Section 3 Japan and China pages 105-118
    • Section 4 China pages 209 -220
  • Calendar of State Papers, Colonial Series edited by W Noel Sainsbury. and HathiTrust Digital Library.
Volume 2 East Indies, China and Japan 1513-1616 1862; Volume 3 East Indies, China and Japan 1617-1621 1870; Volume 4 East Indies, China and Japan 1622-1624 1878; Volume 6 East Indies, China and Persia 1625-1629 1884.
Volume I Google Books; Volume II mirror from Kerala State Central Library Rare Books Online; Volume II, Volume III Qatar Digital Library. Transcribed version, Tomes [Volumes]I-III, note however, the contents of some of the various Tomes (Volumes) are listed out of chronological order. There was a three volume reprint edition published in 1971.
This publication had many titles over time and with different publishers: The China Register (1862, 1863, 1874). The Chronicle & Directory for China, Japan & the Philippines (1873, 1879). In 1889 included Corea, Cochin-China, Annam, Tonquin, Siam, Borneo, Straits Settlements, Malay States. In 1889 included Indo-China (replacing Cochin-China, Annam, Tonquin). In 1899 included Netherlands India. By 1905 the title had changed to The Directory & Chronicle…
Editions are available to read online on the Hathi Trust Digital Library, or on (Previously most/all browsers could not read the online versions on, but this problem appears to have resolved.)
In addition,
The digital collection of the University of Macau, Books on China Online, 16th – Early 20th Century, contains various titles for 1865, 1868, 1870 and 1875, using the Search term Directory.
Directories from China Families has years additional to the table below.
1862 1863 1873 1874






1889 FamilySearch
Must be signed in to FS to view.


1892 FamilySearch, see
1889 FamilySearch













  • The London and China Telegraph. Published in London. Covers China, Hong Kong, Japan, Straits Settlements (Singapore, Penang), Batavia and perhaps a wider area. There are two series of digitisations, both on Google Books, one from the Bavarian State Library, the other from Cornell University, the latter labelled A. Links for both series are provided, in case the digitisation quality varies.
1860 1861 1863 1864 1865
1866 1867

1867 A


1868 A


1869 A

1870 A

1871 A


1872 A


1873 A

1874: Jan-June

1874: July-Dec

1874 to Dec. A

1875 to Dec.

1875 to Oct. A

British Parliamentary Papers: Mortality of Troops in China 1863 and 1866 Reprinted 1915
Twenty Years in the Far East : Sketches of Sport, Travel and Adventure by William Spencer Percival 1905
Wei-Hai-Wei c 1900 page 165 Fifty Years in the Royal Navy by Admiral Sir Percy Scott 1919.
"Negotiations relating to Wei-Hai-Wei and Corea 1904-5" page 112 British documents on the origins of the war, 1898-1914, Volume IV: The Anglo-Russian Rapprochment, 1903-7 edited by G P Gooch and Harold Temperley 1929.
"The Chinese Stations" page 99, and Photograph: Naval Hospital Liukungtao, facing page 113 The Sea Road to the East, Gibraltar to Wei-hai-wei; six lectures by Arthur John Sargent 1912
  • A naturalist in Western China : with vasculum, camera, and gun, being some account of eleven year's travel, exploration, and observation in the more remote parts of the flowery kingdom by Ernest Henry Wilson 1913. Volume I, Volume II
Ernest H. Wilson Plant Hunter [1876-1930] by Edward I Farrington 1931., Digital Library of India Collection.
Cook’s Guide to Peking, North China, South Manchuria and Korea Published by Thos. Cook & Son 1924
Report giving the history of the Chinese Labour Corps used behind the lines in France 1917-19 British Library Mss Eur F288/110. Part of the family papers of Sir Leslie Fry, Mss Eur F288, (so possibly written by a family member?) British Library Digital.
  • The Empire at War edited for the Royal Colonial Institute by Sir Charles Lucas, in five volumes, with a catalogue contents description. (Volume 1 British Library Digital file) Volume 5, 1926, covers WW1 The Mediterranean colonies ; Egypt and Palestine ; Aden ; India ; Ceylon ; Malaya ; China. Volume 5, British Library Digital file, Contents. Also available version, mirror from the Digital Library of India.
  • Lauterbach of the China Sea : the Escapes and Adventures of a Seagoing Falstaff by Lowell Thomas, 1930 The author was an American writer and broadcaster. Julius Lauterbach Wikipedia Google Translate English] [1877-1937], Original German version. From c 1900 to the start of WW1, Lauterbach sailed the China Sea, becoming Captain, with the initial chapters covering this period.
  • Fiction based on personal experience: Yangtze Skipper, by Thomas Woodrooffe 1937. HathiTrust Digital Library. Set in 1919 Shanghai, Toby Warren is First Lieutenant on the "Beetle", a (fictious) Royal Navy river gunboat. The author served on HMS "Scarab" (river gunboat) in 1919-1920, and it is stated elsewhere, in respect of another book, that he wrote about things actually seen and experienced.
Note, this title may be the American title as it appears to be the same book as River of Golden Sand by Thomas Woodrooffe. A review of River of Golden Sand [6]
Other books by Carl Crow
I Speak For The Chinese by Crow Carl 1938 Japanese infringements on China from 1915.
My Friends, the Chinese by Carl Crow. Decorations by G Sapojnikoff (Sapajou) 1938 Published in London.
The Chinese Are Like That by Carl Crow 1938 American edition of the previous book with an extra chapter. Illustrations differ.
Carl Crow Wikipedia
Midnight In Peking by Paul French. BBC Radio Reading audio May-June 2012.
Paul French on Midnight in Peking 2013 podcast by Radio Television Hong Kong on One way to listen online is to click on the "Source_url".
Paul French is the author of many books on the "old" period in China, including The Badlands: Decadent Playground of Old Peking (2013) and Bloody Saturday: Shanghai’s Darkest Day, published 2017. The day was Saturday, August 14, 1937, when the Japanese bombed the city.

Journeys, and Central Asia

The Roof of the World : being a narrative of a journey over the high plateau of Tibet to the Russian Frontier and the Oxus Sources on Pamir by Lieutenant-Colonel T E Gordon, Honorary Aide-De-Camp to the Viceroy of India, lately attached to the Special Mission to Kashghar 1876 Includes Kashghar.
  • Across Chrysê, being the narrative of a journey of exploration through the South China border lands from Canton to Mandalay by Archibald R Colquhoun, Executive Engineer, Indian Public Works. Volume I 3rd edition 1883 (probably first published also 1883), Volume II 1883 Also available Volume I, Volume II 1883 British Library Digital Collection with rotatable images. Chryse (Chrysê) is the Greek short name of gold-producing Chryse Chersonesos (The Golden Peninsula) in the East Indies (Wikipedia)
Report on the Railway Connexion of Burmah and China ... with account of exploration-survey by H. S. Hallett. Accompanied by surveys, vocabularies and appendices by Archibald R Colquhoun 1888
Macartney’s wife Catherine wrote of her time at Kashgar in An English Lady in Chinese Turkestan first published 1931. Link to a pdf download PAHAR Mountains of Central Asia Digital Dataset.
A later biography is The Diplomat of Kashgar: A Very Special Agent. The Life of Sir George Macartney, 18 January 1867-19 May 1945 by James McCarthy.
Through Deserts and Oases of Central Asia by Ella Sykes and Percy Sykes, 1920 Covers the brief period in which Percy Sykes relieved Macartney at Kashgar while the latter was on leave in 1916 but is really Percy's sister Ella Sykes’s travel account and says little about consular affairs.
  • Includes a Map, in two sections.
Chinese Central Asia by C P Skrine. Indian Civil Service, British Consul General in Chinese Turkistan 1922-1924. First published 1926 Index.Hathi Trust Digital Library version where images are rotatable. The Consulate was at Kashgar. Clarmont Percival Skrine Wikipedia.
Also see Norperforce for more about the Kashgar Mission during WW1 prior to 1922.
The Antique Land by Diana Shipton 1950. Lending Library. A memoir by the wife of Eric Shipton, the last British consul in Kashgar before the consulate closed in 1947.
  • The Old Burma Road 1945., Public Library of India Collection. Full title: The Old Burma Road. A journey on foot and muleback. From the diary, notes and reminiscences of Doctor N. Bradley. The author spent many years in China as a medical missionary. This is an account of a journey taken in March, 1930 on the granite slab road along which, 650 years earlier, Marco Polo had ridden with his escort of Kublai Khan's horsemen from Yunnan-Fu to Bhamo.
  • Where China Meets Burma. : Life and Travel in the Burma-China Border Lands by Beatrix Metford 1935. Link to a pdf download PAHAR Mountains of Central Asia Digital Dataset. (If download does not display, located in Books/Tibet And China). A description of the book elsewhere indicates the author accompanied her husband, who was a British official. They lived for several years in the Shan States, Burma and then in Yunnan, southern China. From elsewhere, it appears she was the second wife of Stanley Wyatt-Smith of Britain's China Consular Service.


  • The "Japan Gazette" Hong List and Directory, for 1874 Note: some of the text is missing- it is not clear whether this relates to the filming, or the original publication.
  • A History of Japan by James Murdoch. v. 1. From the origins to the arrival of the Portuguese in 1542 A.D. -- [v. 2.] During the century of early foreign intercourse (1542-1651) / in collaboration with Isoh Yamagata. -- v. 3. The Tokugawa epoch, 1652-1868 / rev. and ed. by Joseph H. Longford. Volume I 1910; Volume II 1903; Volume III 1926.
  • A Diplomat in Japan; the inner history of the critical years in the evolution of Japan when the ports were opened and the monarchy restored by Sir Ernest Satow 1921 The author was in Japan from September 1862, when he was initially appointed to the British legation as a student Interpreter at Yedo/Yokohama. Includes the 1864 Shimonoski Naval actions, including British, page 102
  • Young Japan. Yokohama and Yedo. A narrative of the settlement and the city from the signing of the treaties in 1858, to the close of the year 1879. With a glance at the progress of Japan during a period of twenty-one years by John R Black formerly editor of the Japan Herald. Volume I 1880, Volume II 1881
  • The Japan Daily Mail , a broken range from 1888 to 1917.


  1. World Miscellaneous Births and Baptisms, Coverage Table (FamilySearch Historical Records) FamilySearch Wiki. Retrieved 24 March 2017.
  2. "David Charles Oakley Shines a Light on Kaohsiung’s Past" by Jason Hsu tr. by David Mayer January 2017
  3. Great War Forum thread Wei-hai-wei and Liu Kung Tao, then and now by Bushfighter 15 April 2008. (retrieved 7 July 2018). Log-in to the Great War Forum is required if you cannot see the images, see Mailing lists.
  4. 1926 Submarines and HMS Titania, comment at the bottom by Nashie on 2013-11-07.
  5. The Regimental History of the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, now an archived webpage.
  6. Books of the Week: Morning Tribune, 28 January 1937, Page 16