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.
"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."
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. 
Also see FIBIS resources, below.
- "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
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
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
- National Archives of the Netherlands - website can be accessed in English. Contains records relating to men of the Dutch East India Company.
- 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.
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
- Dutch East India Company Wikipedia
- Dutch India Wikipedia
- Dutch United East India Company what-when-how.com
- Dutch and Portuguese Colonial History Links Marco Ramerini's site
- "Why Did The Largest Corporation In The World Go Broke? [VOC]: An economic review" By Peter Reynders. Abridged version. gutenberg.net.au
- TANAP a website about the Archives of the Dutch East India Company (VOC or Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie), 1602-1796. Includes a page about the holdings at the Tamil Nadu Archives in Madras. (For more details about the latter archives, refer Indian Libraries and Archives)
- Various muster and other records for the years 1700 -1791 for regions such as Bengal, Coromandel, Malabar are available at the National Archives of the Netherlands (Nationaal Archief) in The Hague
- "Gold-Leaf Flattery, Calcuttan Dust, and a Brand New Flagpole: Five Little-Known VOC Collections in Asia on India and Ceylon" by Lennart Bes Itinerario Volume 36 Issue 01 April 2012, pp 91 - 106.
- VOC-Sea Voyagers from the Nationaal Archief (National Archives of the Netherlands) contains a searchable free database which is a comprehensive index of ships’ pay-ledgers. The ship's pay-ledgers form the basis of the personnel-administration of the 'VOC' or Dutch East India Company. For each departing ship all employees sailing with her were registered, amounting to some 655.000 persons over the period 1700-1794.
- This same database also is available on the pay website Ancestry.
- Nationaal Archief (National Archives of the Netherlands) with the associated website gahetna which presents the collection of records at the Nationaal Archief.
- Centraal Bureau voor Genealogie (Central Bureau for Genealogy - CBG). Retrieved 15 September 2014
- Wie Was Wie Similar to a Dutch findmypast Retrieved 15 September 2014
- The Dutch East India Company and the Straits of Malacca, 1700-1784 : trade and politics in the eighteenth century by Dianne Lewis 1970 PhD Thesis Australian National University. Link to a download ANU.
- Fort Cochin in Kerala 1750-1830 : the social condition of a Dutch community in an Indian milieu by Anjana Singh. June 2007 Doctoral thesis, Leiden University [Digital] Repository. Subsequently published in the series TANAP monographs on the history of the Asian-European interaction ; v. 13.
- Official website of the Malaysian Dutch Descendants Project includes History of the Dutch and Dutch-Eurasians in Malaysia
- "Madras Miscellany" by S. Muthiah December 30, 2012 The Hindu Scroll down for "Getting to know Castle Geldria", in Pulicat. The Dutch presence on the Coromandel.
- "Centuries-old Dutch heritage still visible in India" by Johan van Slooten 25 October 2011 Radio Netherlands Worldwide
- Dutch language aids
- The Netherlands includes Netherlands Language and Languages FamilySearch (LDS) Wiki and Reading Dutch Handwritten Records: 3 Lessons FamilySearch Learning Center/Lessons.
- Rudy Schmidt’s Dutch/English Glossary of Causes of Death and other Archaic Medical Terms, now archived.
Historical books online
- The freedom of the seas : or, The right which belongs to the Dutch to take part in the East Indian trade A dissertation by Hugo Grotius ; translated with a revision of the Latin text of 1633 by Ralph Van Deman Magoffin ; edited with an introductory note by James Brown Scott. 1916 Archive.org. A publication of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Division of International Law.
- "The Management of the Dutch in India", page 309 An account of the trade in India: containing rules for good government in trade, price courants, and tables: with descriptions of Fort St. George, Acheen, Malacca, Condore, Canton, Anjengo, Muskat, Gombroon, Surat, Goa, Carwar, Telichery, Panola, Calicut, the Cape of Good-Hope, and St. Helena... To which is added, An Account of the Management of the Dutch in their Affairs in India by Charles Lockyer 1711 Archive.org.
- Dutch Records No 13: The Dutch in Malabar : being a translation of selections nos. 1 and 2 by A Galletti 1911 Archive.org. One of 15 volumes of records from the archives of the Madras Presidency, almost all of which are in Dutch, many also available at Archive.org. The other titles in the series may be seen at this Archive.org link
- William Bolts, a Dutch adventurer under John Company by Norman Leslie Hallward 1920 Archive.org
- The Dutch In Bengal And Bihar 1740-1825 A D by Dr Kalikinkar Datta 1948 Osmania University Digital Library [OUDL]. May only be available Indian office hours (IST 10 am to 6 pm), (IST = GMT+5:30). Also available as a pdf download, Digital Library of India.
- Malabar And The Dutch by K M Panikkar 1931. Full title: Malabar and the Dutch. Being the history of the fall of the Nayar power in Malabar. Pdf download, Digital Library of India.
- The Dutch In Malabar by P C Alexander. Date of publication incorrectly catalogued, should be 1946. Pdf download, Digital Library of India.
- Voyages To The East-Indies, by the late John Splinter Stavorinus, Esq Translated From The Original Dutch, by Samuel Hull Wilcocke. The Whole Comprising A Full And Accurate Account Of All The Present And Late Possessions Of The Dutch In India, And At The Cape Of Good Hope 1798 Google Books
- Volume 1 A Voyage to the Cape Of Good Hope, Batavia, Bantam, and Bengal, with Observations on Those Parts, &c. in the years 1768-1771.
- Volume 2 A Voyage To The Cape Of Good Hope, Batavia, Samarang, Macasser, Amboyna, and Surat, With Accounts Of Those Places in the years 1774 and 1775.
- Volume 3 A Continuation Of The Voyage From Surat To Batavia, The Coast Of Malabar, and the Cape of Good Hope in the years 1775-1778.
- A Translation of the Charter of the Dutch East India Company (Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie or VOC) Peter Reynders, Translator; Rupert Gerritsen, Editor. Pdf
- Dutch Activities In The East 1945. Full title: Dutch Activities in the East, seventeenth century : being a "Report on the records relating to the East in the State Archives in The Hague," with two appendices by Frederick Charles Danvers. Edited with an introd. by Nihar-ranjan Ray. Pdf download, Digital Library of India.
- Instructions from the Governor-General and Council of India to the Governor of Ceylon, 1656-1665 Translated by Sophia Pieters. [The Government of Netherlands India]. 1908 Archive.org
- Spear, A History of India (Volume Two) (1978) pp.65-68
- 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.).
- Andresen, Larry & Coreen British Ceylon christening records in The Hague Rootsweb Srilanka Mailing List, 01 January 2007. Retrieved 15 September 2014
- Dent, Gearoidin Christoffel Jochem Salder Rootsweb India Mailing List, 25 March 2013. Retrieved 15 September 2014