After the East India Company was disbanded in 1858, the subcontinent was placed under the rule of a burgeoning British civil service. The British in India Collection holds pension records for both administrations, revealing intimate details about the many thousands of expats who spent decades of their lives living and working on (then) unfamiliar shores.
Our British in India Collection is brimming with as-yet undiscovered stories. Findmypast's Estelle Calfe started her journey when she discovered that her grandmother's cousin, Gerald Priestley had served in the Indian Civil Service. Here, she describes how she traced his hitherto unknown history.
My first foray into the archives told me that Gerald had been knighted for his service. I was quite keen to learn more about him, so when the British in India records were released, he was the first person I searched for.
I discovered his marriage certificate to Isobel MacLeod Millar. This gave me her father's name, which I'd not known before - Alfred Pulley Millar. I was intrigued by his unusual name, so decided to do some more research. I then discovered a copy of Alfred's will, which gave me some really intriguing information. I learned that he had owned a property called Brunton House:
I found the names of his sister-in-laws - Annie and Helen Flude, which I realised could be his wife's maiden name. This was confirmed with a copy of their marriage record - he married Alice Mundell Flude in India in 1883, something the family had never known before.
I'm astonished at the sort of information I can get from these British in India records. Now I have details of both Alfred and Alice's fathers to take my tree even further back. A final quick search told me that Alfred Millar was actually born about 4 miles from where I live now in North London - the story comes full circle!