Britain has strong historical ties to the Indian Subcontinent: Charles II received the port of Bombay as part of his wife’s wedding dowry in 1661; the British East India Company built Fort William, kickstarting the development of Calcutta, in 1698; and from 1857 Calcutta and then New Delhi were the capital cities of the British Raj, a territory stretching across almost all of present-day India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.
With so many centuries of ties, economic and political as well as cultural and social, it should come as no surprise that millions of families in the UK trace at least part of their family history back to India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Burma, all of which are major Indus Experiences’ destinations. For many, their family’s origins are in the subcontinent, and their parents or grandparents migrated to the UK and settled there. For others, their forefathers went to India to serve with the Indian Army, with the Indian Civil Service, or as traders, missionaries, businessmen, and in numerous other capacities. Whatever your family’s link with India, wherever in the country they lived, our family history tours can help you learn about your past, and to put it in perspective.
Each of our family history tours is carefully tailored to you own family, the places your ancestors lived, studied, worked, and, in many cases, were buried. If your father or grandfather served in the Indian military, for example, you might be interested in visiting significant battlefields, such as Kohima Ridge, where 1,500 British and Indian soldiers held out for 14 days against the Japanese Imperial Army, despite being outnumbered 10:1.
Thousands of Scottish engineers came to India to design and build the country’s vast rail network — the pride of India — and the trains were the primary means of transport within the subcontinent for foreigners and Indians alike. You can retrace the journeys of your ancestors, maybe even riding on a railway line they built, when you take one of our fascinating, not to mention photogenic, railway tours.
For many families, then and now, the church played a central role in family life and was a social hub for the entire community. Travel with us to Goa or Pondicherry, and not only can you have a gloriously relaxing beach stay, but you can see the Roman Catholic churches too. Up in the hill stations of Shimla, Darjeeling, and Nainital (the ‘Lake District of India’), in the foothills of the Himalayas, are numerous Anglican churches, some of them near-perfect replicas of the missionaries’ parish churches back home. The cemeteries here, often lovingly tended by the modern congregation, are the final resting places for thousands of colonial Brits who were born and lived in India.
From April 7-9, the Who Do You Think You Are, Live exhibition will take place at Birmingham’s NEC. We will be on Stand 96 in the Society of Genealogists’ area, and will also be giving a talk, entitled Names, Graves and a Letter of introduction from the British High Commission, at 16.15 on Friday 8th in Theatre 3. We hope to see some of you there.
Upcoming Family History Tours
- Colonial Moments: September, 2016 – Find out more
- Sojourn in Maharashtra: March, 2017 – Find out more
- The Indian Mutiny, by Rail: October, 2017 – Find out more
- Discovering East India: February, 2018 – Find out more