Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Happy Christmas!

A good friend just sent me the video below which made me chuckle, so I am placing it here in the hope that it will make lots more people chuckle too!

Happy Christmas from The Indiaman Magazine!

Best wishes
Paul Rowland
Editor, The Indiaman Magazine.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Ultimate British Raj Collection

The Thacker's 1905 Indian Directory 12 x CD boxed sets are now ready and
will be despatched shortly to everyone who has already ordered a copy in
time for Christmas.

The 1905 version of Thacker's Indian Directory is the rarest and largest
version of Thacker's that is currently available to the public anywhere in
the world and it can now be yours to enjoy in the comfort of your own

This very rare volume is THE ULTIMATE DIRECTORY OF THE BRITISH RAJ and it
contains details of every profession and aspect of British life in India
at the height of the British Empire from the army, the civil service, the
railways, tea, opium, forestry commission etc., street maps and street
directories identifying the names and addresses of where people lived in
Calcutta, Madras and Rangoon. This is incredibly useful if you want to
know exactly where your ancestors lived.

This volume of Thacker's Indian Directory contains 11 maps (some in
colour), numerous adverts and photographs which helps to bring the British
Raj to life once more.

The book also contains an alphabetical surname index that spans more than
400 pages and it will prove to be an invaluable source of information for
any family historian who had ancestors in British-India.

We have had a few extra sets made, so we are able to offer you A VERY
SPECIAL LIMITED OFFER to the first 20 people who take action now. These
sets will be sold on a first come, first served basis.

If you had British ancestors in India, Burma or Ceylon, then you need to
order this attractive 12 x CD boxed set TODAY because I HAVE A VERY

For a limited period only we are offering family historians everywhere the

When you order the Thacker's 1905 Indian Directory 12 x CD boxed set you
will also receive the following:

The 1905 India List & India Office List on 1 x CD.


The 8 x CD boxed set of the British India Marriage index - Madras
1698-1801 & Bengal 1801-1948. (This 8 x CD boxed set contains details of
every marriage in Madras and Bengal from 1698 to 1948).

This complete set of 21 x CDs is worth £591.00 but you will receive the
entire collection of 21x CDs for ONLY £197.00! IF YOU ACT IMMEDIATELY


by going to the Indiaman website at:

Best wishes
Paul Rowland.
The Indiaman Magazine

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Thacker's 1905 Indian Directory OUT NOW!

It has taken us eight months to copy and digitize the 2,000 plus pages in the Thacker's 1905 Indian Directory.

This rare volume contains 11 maps, an alphabetical surname index spanning over 400 pages of Europeans who were living in India, Burma and Ceylon in 1905 and details of every aspect and trade operated by the British in India and it is now available for you to own in an attractive 12 x CD boxed set.

This attractive 12 x CD set has been designed to resemble the original book so it won't look out of place on your bookshelf. You can learn more about this very rare book by visiting the following website:

If you go to The Indiaman Magazine's website you will also discover how you can receive a copy of this attractive 12 x CD boxed set and even more CD's about the British in India absolutely "FREE"!

This special boxed set will make an ideal Christmas present for the genealogist in your life.

What are you waiting for? GO NOW!

Best wishes
Paul Rowland.
Editor, The Indiaman Magazine.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Campbell's Are Coming!!!

Last week, I mentioned that I was going to meet up with a distant relative, Steve Leake at the weekend who had recently contacted me regards assisting him with some genealogical research into his Van Ristell family in India.

I had never come across the Van Ristell family before, so when I contacted Steve for further information, my chin hit the floor when he emailed to me a photo of my great grandfather, John Walker Campbell.

Steve had thought that the photo was of his gt. gt. grandfather, Albert Edward Van Ristell. At the time neither of us realised that the connection that linked us both was that Albert Van Ristell's wife, had married John Walker Campbell's youngest sister, Caroline Campbell.

When I emailed the exact same photo back to Steve, we knew we had to talk. It was then that Steve searched through his records and made the connection between the Van Ristell's and the Campbell's and we discovered that we each own copies of the same photographs.

We have now discovered that we share common ancestors in the Campbell family from Ghazipur and Patna in Bengal.

On Sunday when we met up, it was a great day with us both sharing information and photographs and filling in gaps in one another's family trees. We chatted and theorised about different family members over four and half hours that flew by much too quickly.

Since that first initial contact, between us we have managed to track down even more family members in the last week whom we hope will be able to shed even more light on this branch of our family.

Steve is due to fly out to India next month in search of our ancestors and I have given him copies of records and maps in my possession so that he can go there with confidence to different cemeteries and search for some of our ancestor's graves. I will be keeping my fingers crossed that he can find their graves and that they will have headstones on them.

We have already discussed making a trip to India together, possibly next year to carry out further research over a much wider area in search of the Campbell's and other family members.

In the meantime, we will try to gather as much information as we can about our family and the other branches that married into the Campbell's in the hope that we can finally identify the many faces in our photo albums that are currently unidentified.

After 38 years it appears it feels that the Campbell's are finally coming out of the woodwork... or should that be the ether?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Could We Be Related?

I just had to share my exciting news with you.

After 38 years of genealogical research tracing my family tree I finally received a call last week from someone researching a branch of my own family that I had finally given up on.

My maternal grandmother was a Violet Agnes Campbell who married Albert Douglas Thomas my grandfather, in Gulzarbagh, Patna. Her father, John Walker Campbell was a Laboratory Superintendent in the Opium Department first in Ghazipur and then in Gulzarbagh, Patna during the late 19th early 20th century.

My grandmother owned a photograph album that contained photos of her family, the Campbell's and Foster's. Sadly, hardly any of the photos contained writing on them so trying to identify people proved to be impossible... until last week.

A gentleman, called Steve Leake contacted me asking for help tracing his family tree. He emailed a photograph to me that I instantly recognised as being my gt. grandfather John Walker Campbell. I contacted him immediately. Neither of us knew of the connection we shared, but he informed me that he had photos of other Campbell's which he also kindly emailed to me. Many of the photos were identical to the unnamed ones we had in our photo album. To say I was over the moon would be an understatement.

Thanks to his kindness and generosity I have been able to fill in so many blanks and discovered new some new leads. In return, I have shared all of the information I have on the Campbell's and we are meeting up this coming Sunday. I can't wait!!

Steve explained that he was descended from John Walker Campbell's youngest sister, Caroline "Carrie" Campbell. She married an Albert Edward Van Ristell. This was a surname I had never come across in all of the years I have been carrying out genealogical research, but thanks to this gentleman I have discovered connections with other families named below.

If you have any of the following names in your family tree please contact me as I am trying to find information on the following families.

Campbell / Foster - lived in Ghazipur and Patna.
Van Ristell / Campbell - lived in Patna and Sutna.
Godfrey / Campbell - Lived in Ghazipur
Beglin / Van Ristell - Lived in Bengal.
D'Saran / Godfrey - Lived in Bengal.
Van Ristell / Leake - India

This is a long shot but if you recognise any of these surnames in your own family tree from these areas please contact me.

For Van Ristell connections please contact Steve Leake direct at: Alternatively, you can always contact me at

I hope that we can make some new connections.

Best wishes
Paul Rowland
The Indiaman Magazine Online

Thursday, August 20, 2009

An East Indian Patriot!


For the last 38 years I have been under the misapprehension that the paternal side of my family tree was the least interesting in my family tree. This was mainly due to the fact that so little was known about this side of my family. Photographs and documents were virtually non existent. The most notable thing about the paternal side of my family was an often mentioned story about a great grandfather who had married an Indian princess. I now know that this is an often mentioned story amongst Anglo-Indian families.

Having dark skin in the family was always more acceptable to the British in India who would usually claim the reason for the dark colouring to be due to a marriage between a grandfather and an "Indian Princess", or a marriage to a "Portugeuse lady." No one ever claimed that their great great grandmother was simply a native born Indian woman!

Recently, I finally discovered the name of my family's "Indian princess" described on a number of records as being called "Paupah, a native woman." Not a princess, afterall. No surprise there! However, the discovery of these records proved the connection between my great great grandmother, Alice Ogilvie, her mother, Paupah and her father, Captain Henry Tristram Ogilvie of the 23rd Madras Native Infantry.

I had discovered 27 years ago that my great great grandfather, James Rowland, Sub Conductor of Ordnance at Fort St. George, Madras had remarried in 1850 after the death of his first wife. James was 50 years of age when he married Alice Ogilvie. He claimed on their marriage record that he was 46 years old. I knew that he was not being truthful as I had already
found his birth record in the UK after discovering his attestation papers at the British Library. Alice, acording to their marriage record was 21 years old.

On their marriage record it stated that the name of Alice's father was a captain Henry Thomas Ogilvie. I was unable to find a captain Henry Thomas Ogilvie despite searching through countless records,. The only person who shared the same initials and rank was a Captain Henry Tristram Ogilvie of the 23rd Madras Native Infantry. I decided that if I could find Alice's birth record I could establish exactly whom her father was. This record was discovered for me recently by a member of the Indiaman Magazine's genealogical research team.

Alice's birth did not occur in 1829 as her marriage record led me to believe. Her date of birth was actually 1834, which meant that Alice was only 16 when she married 50 year old James Rowland. Even more interesting for me was that her birth record stated that her parent's were Captain Henry Tristram Ogilvie and his wife Paupah, a native woman... my Indian princess!

Having established the link between ALice and her father I was now able to trace Captain Ogilvie's career and origins. Sadly, he died the year after Alice's birth in 1835 onboard the East Indiaman, "True Briton" bound for London. He was probably buried at sea. The British Library has a card index that states that his wife, whom they named as "Avia" remarried in 1844.

Ogilvie's military career was relatively short, but because he was an officer, his army record supplied me with plenty of leads to learn even more about his family. His father was the Hon. John Hugh Donnel Ogilvie who was a High Court Judge, Senior Merchant and Member of Council in Madras. From documents I have recently found, JHD Ogilvie served in India for 38 years and 8 days. He had been a member of the welcoming committee in Madras that bade farewell to Marquis Wellessley when he returned to England for the last time. He had read the welcoming address to the second Governor General of India, Lord William Bentinck on a visit to Madras. He is mentioned in records relating to the Vellore Mutiny. This man moved in interesting circles and I am enjoying learning more about him.

JHD Ogilvie's wife, was an Eliza Letitia Catherine Ricketts, her family is proving to be even more interesting. Eliza was the youngest of five children born to John and Harriet Grace Ricketts. John Ricketts was a surgeon from Basingstoke, Hampshire. Eliza was the only sister of Vice-Admiral Sir Robert Tristram Ricketts, 1st bart., created 1828. This was an exciting discovery. However, two more of her brothers are also proving to be equally as interesting.

Eliza had four brothers, John Henry; Robert; Gilbert and Robert Tristram. Her brother Gilbert had been in Madras and is believed to have been the first private owner of the palatial home, "Guindy Lodge" in the early 1800s which later became the residence of the Governors of Madras and which is now known as Raj Bhavan. Sadly Gilbert died intestate in 1817 leaving huge debts. Her eldest brother was a Lieutenant John Henry Ricketts of the Engineers who was killed at Seringapatam in 1792.

John Henry Ricketts had married an Indian woman called "Bibi Zeenut" and had two sons, George, born 1788 and John William Ricketts born in 1791. The discovery of John William Ricketts is proving to be a revalation. The first mention I found of him was in Christopher J. Hawes book, "Poor Relations". JW Ricketts proceeded to England to represent the East Indian Committee before the House of Commons on behalf of Anglo-Indians in India. He "became the prime mover in Eurasian affairs..." and became known as the East Indian Patriot. He is also mentioned in the Dictionary of Indian Biography.

I have been thrilled and delighted to learn about this branch of my family tree and my research is still ongoing. Only a few days ago I found the Will of JHD Ogilvie. When he died in 1851 he left over £16,000 to his wife and family.

I have compiled all of this information online and in the September issue of The Indiaman Magazine Online I will be showing you how you can quickly create your own family tree online and share it with the world. All subscribers to the Indiaman Magazine Online will have their family trees displayed by us in the magazine. People can then view your entire family tree online and identify any family connections. You can then share your information and add to your family trees together.

This facility will allow you to import and save any data in numerous formats including spreadsheets, HTML, GEDCOM and plain text. If you already have some family tree software on your computer, you can import this data and it will automatically update your files.

You can then upload your files as a GEDCOM file to sites like the Mormon's Family Search website and share your information with the wider world.

To see my family tree and to see how simple this software is to use and share with the whole world, you will need to subscribe to The Indiaman Magazine Online by going to

Paul Rowland

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Indiaman Magazine Is Back!

In my last post, I mentioned that I had been working on a very special project.

Today I am happy to announce that that project is finally completed and The Indiaman Magazine is back with an all new "INTERACTIVE" format for the 21st century.

The new magazine will be published EVERY month and will contain 50 PAGES many of which will be in FULL COLOUR. The new magazine is totally interactive and as such we can include videos and audio content for the reader. This is probably a first for a genealogy and history magazine... or any other magazine for that matter.

Each issue of The Indiaman Magazine Online will also include a FREE ebook as part of the magazine. Some of these books date from the height of the British Raj and many contain several hundred pages, so it may be necessary to serialise some of these books over several issues from time to time.

We have also also selected a number of books about the British in India that are only available from specialist publishers online, that you can order right from the pages of the magazine.

To request a FREE sample, please go to: and see what you think. You could be reading your first issue later TODAY!

Until the next time.
Paul Rowland.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


For the last few months I have had my head down working on several new projects, three of which relate to The Indiaman Magazine.

The first project that I have devoted much of my time to over the last few months has been republishing the Thacker's 1905 Indian Directory. This project is nearing completion and I will notify everyone when it is completed.

The second project I have been working on has involved building a membership website for The Indiaman Magazine. This project is nearing completion and I will be making an important announcement shortly about the third project I have been working on.

For now, I am thrilled that all of my hard work is finally coming to a close and I can finally show The Indiaman's readers what I have been working on.

Until the next time!

Best wishes
Paul Rowland.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


This last week has been emotional for me and has churned up numerous memories.

Last Saturday, 23rd May 2009 I organised a birthday celebration for my late father who would have been 100 years old on the 21st May 2009.

Lots of family members turned up for a Mass at the church where he is buried in the family grave. I also had a brass plaque engraved to lay on the grave giving details of everyone's ancestry going back as far as I have been able to uncover and which also recorded their association with British India and the Honourable East India Company.

2009 also marks the 100th wedding anniversary of my maternal grandparents who are also laid to rest in the same grave as my father and mother. They were married in Bankipore, Patna on 29th December 1909.

After the church service we returned to my home where we enjoyed a selection of curries and Indian pickles that were made by my eldest sister, Janet. The weather was perfect for this unique celebration and we remembered our absent loved ones.

Yesterday, I learnt that a close friend of mine, Jack Shaw had died. Jack had been one of my teachers when I was at college studying to become a graphic designer. He also ran the college football team and he persuaded me to play for them, which I did for over 10 years under his guidance.

Jack was our "Liberal Studies" teacher who went on to become a broadcaster with BBC Radio Sheffield where he had a Sunday morning show. He wrote a number of books about religion and a couple of joke books that listeners had sent in to him for his Sunday morning show. I was honoured to have illustrated his books. Jack also encouraged me to write.

In 1997, the 50th anniversary of Indian Independence, he invited me to be a guest on his radio programme to talk about British India. He invited me on again for his last show when he retired from broadcasting due to ill health. Jack had a great sense of fun and was a real joy to be with.

Jack's legacy is this. He gathered together a number of 17 year old boys at college to play in his football team. I was one of those boys, and 31 years later all of those boys have remained firm friends. If it had not been for Jack, we would not have met nor endured lifelong friendships that today continues amongst our wives and children.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Article in "Your Family Tree" Magazine

In this month's issue of "Your Family Tree" magazine (issue 77) is a 4 page article by me about tracing your ancestors in British India and South Asia.

I have also supplied the magazine with a 500+ page ebook that was written in the late 19th century that covers in depth most of the areas mentioned in my article. They are giving this away as a freebie on the accompanying CD.

Paul Rowland.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Indian Princess Found!

Like many of us with British ancestors in India, I grew up listening to stories of a Burmese or Indian princess in our family. If I had a penny for every time someone has contacted me and told me the same story, then I would be a wealthy man!

The Indian princess story was simply a way that the 19th century British would pass off the reason for their dark or olive skin. It was always acceptable to them to have dark skin if their ancestor was of noble birth. No one ever claimed to be descended from an ordinary native woman. These liasons, (as we all know) between white European men and native Indian women led to the origins of the Anglo-Indian population.

As a child I loved that story but I never questioned it as I believed what I was told by my elders. I was even shown papers from a gt. uncle, showing a brief outline of my paternal family tree where it states that there was a Burmese princess in the family who married a Colonel Ogilvie in Madras.

It has taken me many years to work my way back in time and through countless records. I am the sort of person who needs to know these things, but I can't accept an ancestor in my family tree until I can prove that we are related "beyond reasonable doubt." One can never be 100% certain, but I always need to satisfy myself through cross-referencing records that there is a connection in my family tree before I will add them to my tree.

Seventeen years ago, I found the marriage record of my gt. gt. grandparents, James Rowland to Alice Ogilvie in 1850. It stated that Alice was an "Indo-Briton." Was this my Indian princess?

On their marriage record, it stated that when they married, James Rowland, Sub Conductor of Ordnance, Fort St. George, Madras was 46 and Alice Ogilvie was 21. I knew that there had been some "creative accounting" going on because I had already found James' birth record and it showed that he was born in Durham in 1800, making him 50 years old when he married Alice.

According to the marriage record, Alice, would have been born in 1829 and despite lengthy searches by myself, I was unable to find a birth record for an Alice Ogilvie who was born in 1829.

I then tried another approach and began looking for a record for her father, a "supposed" Colonel Henry Thomas Ogilvie. Again, this drew a blank. There were no soldiers (officers or ordinary) at Fort St. George during the period of her birth by that name.

In the late 1990s a contributor to the Indiaman Magazine did come across a Captain Henry Tristram Ogilvie who had the correct initials but I declined the information as I couldn't prove, "beyond reasonable doubt" that there was a family connection. And that is where I left that side of my family tree until 2009.

Recently, quite by chance I came across the birth of an Alice Ogilvie, whose father was..., wait for it, Captain Henry Tristram Ogilvie. That was too coincidental and satisfied me that here was information that proved "beyond reasonable doubt" that there was a family connection afterall.

However, Alice was actually born in 1835 making her 15 years of age when she married 50 year old James Rowland in 1850!
Her birth record also gave the name of her mother as being "Pappa" a native woman, not a Burmese or Indian princess. 17 years after first discovering the name of Alice Ogilvie, I have finally found her birth, and discovered the name of her mother too.

Do I feel disappointed that I don't have an Indian princess in my family tree? Not really, I knew, many years ago that this was a fabrication that had been passed down through the family to sanitise our family origins in accordance with 19th century British-India snobbery. I am thrilled to know "Pappa's" name as many records omit the name of the mother when they are native Indian women. On this occasion, I was lucky!

This new lead has sent me off searching for more information about Henry Tristram Ogilvie and his family. I have already obtained his army service record and discovered that he was born in Madras to a J.H.D. Ogilvie of the Madras Civil Service, and that he died on board the ship the "True Briton" in 1835 10 months after Alice was born. Her knowledge of him would have been nil and perhaps that is why his name appears on her marriage record as Henry Thomas Ogilvie.

Henry's father, J.H.D. Ogilvie, it appears from my research so far had a distinguished career in the Madras Civil Service and is mentioned in books relating to the Vellore Mutiny of 1806. He later became Master of the Madras Mint and was also a Judge.

My next line of research is to discover where he was born and to find his Pension record. He was in the Madras Civil Service from 1798, so it will be interesting to discover where he was from and where he trained as he is too early to have attended Haileybury College.

My thanks go out to the Indiaman Magazine research team at the India Office who found the majority of the records I requested. Thanks to them I have solved a 17 year old puzzle and resolved a 174 year old family myth!

If you need help locating records at the India Office or the National Archives in London, let The Indiaman Magazine find your family's records for you.

CLICK HERE: You can even receive a FREE GIFT from us worth £197.00 if you order 4 or more searches from us.

Best wishes
Paul Rowland
The Indiaman Magazine