Mailing lists

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Rootsweb INDIA

The most popular list for those researching family history in India is the INDIA List hosted by Rootsweb, part of Ancestry. You can exchange ideas, suggestions, queries, questions and family details with a group of people (from beginner to expert) who are interested in the same subject.

Before submitting queries to the List, it is recommended to first search the INDIA List archives to see if your question has been asked before. You may also use this search page to search for surnames that may have been mentioned before.

There have been many changes to the List, mainly during 2018.

Currently, the RootsWeb mailing lists are now available to use, meaning you can now send and receive email on RootsWeb email lists. Any email that is sent will go directly into a new archive. During 2018 it was said "We are in the process of importing the old archives into the new system which will take some time". It is believed that this process has been completed for the India List, although it seems possible that there are some past posts which may have been "lost"
Replies to a post are not immediately obvious. To view replies to a post, click on the active link in the post title which will take you to a new page which includes both the original post and replies.

To subscribe, see the page Mailing Lists: India. Includes INDIA-BRITISH-RAJ List.

As you may appreciate, asking the same beginner questions to the list can become tiresome for the regulars on the List. It is also recommended to 'lurk' in the background if you are new to mailing lists (or even the INDIA List) and get a 'feel' for the format of questions and 'list etiquette'.

To join the List, simply send an email to [email protected] with the word subscribe in the subject line and body. Please do not include anything else (even a signature). You may unsubscribe at anytime. More details are found on the INDIA List page. (The contact email address for the List Administrator is [email protected] if you have any List problems.) If you subscribe to the India List, you receive emails individually at different times during the day. If you subscribe to the Digest, the emails are batched together and come at less frequent intervals. If you unsubscribe for a period, perhaps while you are on holidays, you can browse the INDIA List archives for any dates you have missed.

Once you have become a subscriber to the List, you may send queries or information to the List. The procedure is as for any email. The email address is [email protected]. Include a relevant heading and as much information as you can and the source of that information. Many readers prefer that family names be typed in capital letters as this emphasises the name. Please note there is no provision to send emails to the List with attachments. You can advise in your email that you have an attachment which you can send to interested members of the List, privately off list. However, you can place attachments on the Message Board, refer below.

Update: There were many problems in the latter part of 2016 with all Rootsweb Lists with many people unable to post new queries, or reply to requests for information. It appears these problems have now resolved, however there are no India List Archives available for late November, and December 2016.

When you receive emails from the List, sometimes long URLs in the posts do not appear correctly and it is not possible to access the relevant website with just a click. It is necessary to copy, adjust and paste the link. If you are sending an email to the list, you can turn a long URL into a shorter one by using the website to avoid links getting broken.

Some researchers have had problems when sending a reply to a previous India List email, as the administrator has rejected their response due to formatting problems. Perhaps the rejection letter has said that headers and footers from the original email should not be included in the reply. Note also that you must be a subscriber to the List to send either a reply or a new email. If you receive an email from the India List which you wish to reply to, this procedure is currently acceptable (June 2011):

First of all click on reply. This will give you the address to reply to (which is just the normal India List email address) It will also give you the subject heading, which will be the same subject heading as on the original India List email. At the end of each email received from the India List there will be some general information under the heading “===== India Mailing List =====”. This wording is the "footers" referred to above. All this information, including this heading, must be deleted before you send your response to the India List. If you do not delete as specified, the administrator is likely to reject your email. Type your response above the previous email, or the most relevant parts of the previous email. Or you may choose to delete the previous email wording entirely. There have been differing views about acceptable formats over time.


According to its website it is: A mailing list for anyone with a genealogical interest in the period of British rule of most of the Indian subcontinent (present-day India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka (Ceylon) and Myanmar (Burma)) which lasted from 1858, when the rule of the British East India Company was transferred to the Crown, until 1947, when the independence of British India was granted and Pakistan was formed.

Many people subscribe to both the India List and the India-British-Raj List.

Subscribe to the India- British- Raj List or Digest, on a similar basis to the India List above.

Other Mailing Lists


There are also Ancestry Message Boards for these countries, see Message Boards: Asia


The St Helena Institute's 'Forum for Family History', a Mailing List/Message Board for anyone interested in St Helena family history and genealogy (including Ascension Island and Tristan da Cunha).

Message Boards

  • Rootsweb India Message Board, part of Ancestry. It is advised posts are gatewayed (reposted) to the India List so you only need to post once. Note however, currently (2018/06), (and for at least a few years prior), this feature is not operating. When the feature was operating, many people preferred to reply to the India List, rather than to the Message Board, (as you don't need a password for the former), so you are likely to get more immediate responses if you post your query on the India List. However, the Message Board has the advantage that you can include an attachment, such as a photograph. Also, it is probably better for replies which may be made in the future. Currently, If you post on the Message Board, including an attachment, also post an advice on the India List. There is also an alternative URL with rootsweb in the URL, however there may be problems with images displaying using this alternative.
  • Genforum is the website presented by Messages can be left on specific surname boards in addition to the India Genealogy Forum –or that of any other country. There are also general interest boards. All these message boards (or forums as they are called) can be browsed or searched by entering a specific word search. In addition to hosting message boards the site contains topics of general genealogical interest.
  • FIBIS Members can post queries on the forum message board in the FIBIS Social Network. A particularly useful feature is the facility to upload attachments - perhaps a photograph for help in identifying a uniform or place or a section of an historic document where the old handwriting cannot be deciphered easily.
  • "Other Countries" includes India
  •, sometimes called "Brit-Gen" has forums on various topics.
  • Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine has forums on general topics, mainly UK related, including military.

Facebook Groups

  • Details of British India Family History Facebook Group, a linked FIBIS Facebook group. However, anyone can join, you do not have to be a FIBIS member, but it is a closed group so an administrator will need to approve your request to join.


The following websites are, or have, military message boards. Most websites do not require registration to read posts, but all appear to require registration to post a query, or reply to a post.