Explore the service records and pensions of soldiers and sailors in the British East India Company as well as European soldiers and sailors in the British Indian Army and the Royal Indian Navy. You can also discover other useful biographical information about your ancestor.
The amount of information you can discover can vary, but the British India Army and Navy pension records usually include a combination of the following information about your ancestors:
Details of Pension
Name of applicant
Date of payments
Date of retirement
Name of recipient
Date of birth and death of applicant
Occupation or rank
Dates of military service
Place and date of marriage
Names and dates of birth of any dependents
Remarks on applicant
The collection is made up of two different record sets, the British Library’s British in India Collection and transcriptions licensed from FIBIS (Families in British India Society).
Most records from the British in India Collection include an image and a transcript of the original document.
FIBIS records include a transcript only.
Over 392,269 records in British India Army and Navy Pensions from 1749 to 1947
The records consist of pension registers from the Military Funds, Indian Navy Fund, the Madras Military Family Fund, The Lord Clive Military and Indian Navy pension records.
Military and Navy funds provided benefits for the widows and children of officers, chaplains and surgeons of the British Indian Army and Royal Indian Navy. They can include the name of the subscriber, dates of birth/baptism, marriages, retirement and death; name of wife/wives and dates of birth, remarriage and death; names of children, their dates of birth, dates of daughters' marriage, sometimes with husband's name.
The Lord Clive Military fund provided benefits for European officers and other ranks of the East India Company and Indian Army and their widows but not their children. It was founded around 1770 and the last pensioner was admitted around 1885. These were 'ex gratia' pensions, awarded on a charitable basis and not as of right; there were no subscriptions to the fund. The records relate mainly to payments made in the UK.
The almost 2.5 million British In India records are sourced from the original India Office Records and Private Papers held by the British Library. These records comprise the archives of the East India Company (1600-1858), the Board of Control or Board of Commissioners for the Affairs of India (1784 – 1858), the India Office (1858-1947), the Burma Office (1937-1947), and a number of related British agencies.
The Families in British India Society (FIBIS) records contain an estimated 150,000 records from 1698 to 1947. They include baptisms, marriage and burial indexes, register office marriages, cadetship application papers, wills index, Indian Navy pension funds, orphan society, civil servants’ deaths, military family fund, cadet patrons and allocations.