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Non-British Ancestors:

Information on ancestors with a Dutch connection.

The Dutch East India Company or VOC

The Dutch name of the Dutch East India Company was the Verenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie or VOC, literally the "United East Indian Company". The alternative spelling Vereenigde is also used.

Brief History

"The Dutch sent their first fleet to the East in 1595. Being commercial realists they went straight to the source of the spice trade in the East Indies, established themselves at Batavia (now, as previous to their arrival, called Jakarta), and proceeded to oust the Portuguese. Then they established a chain of posts through Ceylon and Capetown to connect themselves with their home base and proceeded to develop a great Asian network of trade by which they planned to earn resources needed to purchase spices without drawing on the silver bullion which was in chronic short supply in northern Europe. India came within their purview only as a link in their great commerical chain. It was a source of textiles for sale in the East Indies in exchange for spices while the extreme south and Ceylon were valuable for their own supplies of pepper, cardamom and cinnamon. The Dutch had 'factories' or warehouses as far north as Agra but they took no part in politics or cultural contacts. Their eccentric tombs at Surat and their factories at Cochin and Negapatam are their principal memorials in India. Only in Ceylon did they exercise dominion in the plains from Colombo and leave a living memorial in the Burgher community."[1]


An example of a Dutchman who ended up in Bengal was Johan Jacob Hoff . A Dutch book states he had joined the VOC in 1788. He went from Holland to the Dutch East Indies for the Chamber of Enkhuizen with the vessel Maria Carolina. Having arrived at Batavia, Hoff was sent to Malacca where he served as a “second chirurgeon.” In 1795 he was taken prisoner by the English in Malacca at Pera; together with the garrison stationed there, he was sent to Bengal. [2]

Also see FIBIS resources, below.

FIBIS resources

  • "The Origins of Johann Jacob Hoff: my ancestor in the Dutch East India Company" by Mary McPherson FIBIS Journal Number 31 (Spring 2014), pages 30 -35. For access, see FIBIS Journals

Church Records

See also general article: Church records

If your ancestors were baptised, married or buried in a European church in British India, then the church records should have been transcribed and sent to the capital of the Presidency, where they would later have been forwarded on to London. These records were indexed and about 80% of church records in British India are believed to have survived. You can access these records at the British Library, or at LDS Family History Centres. Moreover many of the church records have now been didigitsed and are held on the subscription website findmypast

However, your Dutch ancestors may not have lived in British India (i.e. that portion of India that was controlled by the British - this grew from a very small area in 1600 to almost all of India by 1947). In this case, the church records will not be kept at the British Library.

The Dutch Churchbook of St Francis Church, Cochin has been microfilmed by the LDS and is available at LDS FamilySearch Centres as a digitised microfilm 498601, catalogue entry. A transcribed index of the names in this book, together with dates of death, can be seen on the Archived Cochin Churchbook website The dates of death cover the period 1751-1804


BACSA have transcribed and published Bimlipatam Christian Cemeteries which contain British and Dutch tombs from the 17th century. Other BACSA holdings at the British Library comprise lists of Dutch graves and miscellaneous papers relating to genealogical sources. These are itemised in the BACSA online database

Dutch Records from Malacca in the India Office Records Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society

Dutch Cemeteries Findagrave.com for indexes and transcriptions of graves at

Photographs taken in Dutch Cemeteries in India flickr.com

A digitised book, available for viewing at FamilySearch Centres is Monumental remains of the Dutch East India Company in the Presidency of Madras, by Alexander Rea, originally published 1897, catalogue entry.

Records at the National Archives of the Netherlands

  • Located in the same building as the National Archives at The Hague but a separate organization, is the 'Centraal Bureau voor Genealogie' (Central Bureau for Genealogy - CBG), the Dutch information and documentation centre for genealogy, family history and related sciences. Researchers visiting this centre found some copies of records relating to British Ceylon christenings.[3]

Refer External links below for both organisations.


  • If you had Dutch ancestors who lived in India, a useful association is the Dutch Indies Genealogical Association. Although their main focus is what is now called Indonesia, the Dutch Indies Genealogical Association can also help with Dutch genealogy in India.
  • Dutch Burgher Union of Ceylon - Website contains much information including journals containing various family histories Example

See also

External links

This same database also is available on the pay website Ancestry.

Historical books online


  1. Spear, A History of India (Volume Two) (1978) pp.65-68
  2. Het Nederlandsch-Indisch bestuur in het midden van 1817, naar oorspronkelijke stukken by Pieter Hendrik van der Kemp 1915 Google Books (snippet view); pages 216 and 217, translated by Leo Janssen. The book by Van der Kemp deals with the period of 1817 and the complications with respect to the cession of the former Dutch possessions in Bengal according to the Treaty of London of 1814. Details provided by Mary McPherson ([email protected]) who is researching a man named Johann Jacob Hoff, possibly the man mentioned in the book. The book is available at the British Library together with many other books by the author including De administratie der geldmiddelen van Neerl.-Indië. (Alphabetisch Register, etc.).
  3. Andresen, Larry & Coreen British Ceylon christening records in The Hague Rootsweb Srilanka Mailing List, 01 January 2007. Retrieved 15 September 2014
  4. Dent, Gearoidin Christoffel Jochem Salder Rootsweb India Mailing List, 25 March 2013. Retrieved 15 September 2014