Passenger lists

This guide was last updated in 2014

Civilians who went out to India from 1890 may appear in outbound ships’ passenger lists on

The scanned lists name missionaries, railway workers, medics, merchants, civil servants, and wives heading out to meet their husbands.

Notices of arrivals and departures were published in directories and newspapers to keep the ex-pat community informed about who was coming and going. Some of these are available on the FIBIS database here. Full copies of the Bengal Directory, the Madras Almanac and the Bombay Directory listing residents during the 19th and early-20th centuries are held at the British Library.

If your ancestors returned to the UK after 1878, or came back for a brief visit, then they should appear in inbound ships’ passenger lists on The list will tell you which port they embarked at in India, their occupation, last place of residence and where they intended to reside in future.

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