MossValley: index of Asia transcripts, mainly for India and China
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(mainly India and China)

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When starting to research the family a few years ago, I knew my grandmother had been born and grew up in India, and later spent time in China, but little more than that. All the whys and hows and nearly all the whens were unknown. Beyond bits and pieces remembered from school history lessons and a little picked up since, I knew virtually nothing about these places in 'colonial times' when they would have been there. But it's amazing what you learn (and how much there is to learn!) once you have a reason to learn it :)

Compared with those who never left these shores, researching family abroad isn't particularly straightforward. We're accustomed to so many domestic records being online these days, yet those for the British overseas for the most part seem to stubbornly remain in distant repositories (even London is distant for some of us!) which still need to be searched 'manually'.

In one branch of the family at least three generations have now been found living and working in India, and even the odd snippet from China has come to light, but the overall picture is still foggy and lacks the detail or 'snapshots' which we find through British census and other more readily available sources. Without references like these I turned instead to more general 'background' to the lives of the British overseas in these places, collecting a few contemporary books, articles, and odds and ends. Some of this material is transcribed here: not too much so far, but I hope to add more if and when time allows.



Proclamation of the Queen's Rule in India: the Illuminations
from the Illustrated London News, an account with illustrations of the celebrations
in Calcutta and Bombay on 1 November 1858, when governance of India passed
from the East India Company to the British Crown

An Indigo Plantation in Bengal
from Littel's Living Age (1885), and including links to pages
describing the history of natural indigo cultivation and production

Grand Field Day at Calcutta
from the Illustated London News (1847), a short piece with illustration
describing an event held to display captured ordnance from the Sutlej Campaign

The Dangers of the Indian Jungle
from Littel's Living Age, 1885

Oxen from Tibet and India
an illustrated article from the Illustrated London News, 1859

In the military section are a couple of articles which may also be of interest,
concerning the Sherwood Foresters
(Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment, or 'the 95th'):

The 95th Regiment in Ceylon, c. 1838-47
containing names, births, ships' names and troop movements

Generals we have served under
describing Lord Strathnairn (Sir Hugh Rose) and Maj-Gen Robert Craufurd,
with illustrations of both, and including details of campaigns in India 1857-8,
South America 1806-7, and the Peninsular War 1808-11


Introductory page
outlining the sources of transcripts,
and including a table of the numbers of foreign residents in China c. 1911,
plus links to further information about treaty ports and foreign concessions, and China in general.

Diplomats in China, 1912
Names of personnel in the British Diplomatic and Consular Service throughout China
(with dates of appointments),
and international envoys and ministers in Peking

China's Treaties with Great Britain, 1842-1911
A table summarising treaties between China and Great Britain,
extracted from The China Year Book of 1913

China's trade and commerce with western nations
extracted from The China Year Book of 1913,
tracing the origins of trade with the west,
with additional sections on Chinese Maritime Customs and the tax known as 'likin'

Letters: Cruelty in the Kitchen
An example of what exercised the minds of British or foreign residents in China:
two letters written to the editor of the North-China Daily News, 1909

The Poor Man's Divorce
from the North-China Herald, 1909
Listed here in view of the source, but in fact this piece refers mainly to domestic British law,
though it includes a 'snippet' concerning a divorce case in Hong Kong.


The Varnish Tree
An 1836 article from the Penny Magazine describing production/extraction of the varnish used in Japanese lacquering. As copied in Britain and elsewhere, the
lacquering process was known as 'Japanning'

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