The Children of John Company - The Anglo-Indians By Geraldine Charles


So I'm an Anglo-Indian! Well what does that term really mean? It certainly doesn't tell me very much about myself or how my family came to be in India! Who were my ancestors? Why were they in India? Where did they originally come from? Just how far back do my roots in India go?

In 1985 I was between jobs and so I embarked on my own quest to find the answers to these questions. 17 years have now elapsed since I began my research and although I have traced my roots back to 18th century India, some of my distaff lines still remain shrouded in mystery.

I have tried to share the knowledge I have gained over the years with those who are just setting out on their own voyage of discovery. Meanwhile I am still learning from others blazing their own academic trails through the documents, microfilms and pictures preserved here in London, in Utah under the Salt Lake mountains and in India itself…a legacy of records that are the last Jewels in the Crown!

In my talk I will briefly cover:

The British East India Company; Early British Anglo-Indians (East Indians); Problems in distinguishing between the British and these early Anglo-Indians; Tracing ancestry using the records of the Oriental & India Office Collection and identifying Anglo-Indians from information contained in the records.

I will also comment on:

Access to the OIOC records for researchers overseas; Other European powers in India, in particular the Luso-Indians (people of Portuguese/Indian ancestry); Difficulties in tracing Roman Catholic ancestry; The importance of preserving surviving records and my own perception of what Anglo-Indian means.

My main interest with respect to the Anglo-Indian community is in the area of Genealogy and in the promotion of the history of the community. The Society of Genealogists recently published my article Anglo-Indian Ancestry and I have just completed work on the draft of a book for the Society entitled India & The Far East - A Genealogists Guide. I am also a founding Trustee of the Family History Group The Families in British India Society. During November 2001 I gave 2 presentations at the East India Company seminars at the National Maritime Museum.

Since 1989 I have been employed as an archivist at the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich. However I started academic life as a Biologist, obtaining an MSc in Modern Taxonomy in 1982.