Beginning March 2nd, 2020 the Mailing Lists functionality on RootsWeb will be discontinued. Users will no longer be able to send outgoing emails or accept incoming emails. Additionally, administration tools will no longer be available to list administrators and mailing lists will be put into an archival state.
Administrators may save the emails in their list prior to March 2nd. After that, mailing list archives will remain available and searchable on RootsWeb
In reply to Moira Breen's message -
On Sunday, 29 March, 1998 11:37, Moira Breen [SMTP:firstname.lastname@example.org]
> Margaret Carlson asked 'was it true that if a British widow did not
> marry within 5 months, she was sent back to England'? In reply, here is
> some information about one British widow.
LOTS DELETED HERE
> Note:I am not certain if the figure of 30 rupees a month is correct,
> but this is what I remember my grandmother telling me.
To quote from 'A matter of Honour' by Philip Mason published by Purnell
Book Services 1974, he states :
In the 'forties and 'fifties of the nineteenth century a British soldier in
India after stoppages and deductions was paid at the end of the month less
than nine rupees in cash.
The same same book again to show what officers needed as finances :
General Twiss who left Sandhurst in1897 says that at that time, in general
terms, cavalry regiments, the Guards, and the 60th (Rifle Corps) required a
man to have at least 500 (English) pounds a year and British Infantry of
the line at least 100 pounds. .....pay for a British subaltern with a
British Regiment in India was better than in Britain ...by usually 20%.
On pensions :
By 1870 India paid for all troops in India; in the two World wars Britain
padi for all military expenditure above the peace-time level. But around
that simple theme there were many complications; India paid, a share of
the cost of training and pensioning British soldiers.
William again - It is years ago that I obtained and read that book - looks
like I will have to reread it and refresh my memory - there may be some
good information there.
Hope this helps one assess the finances of living as a widow in India.
Soldiers appear in the UK Census returns. If you know anything about the
regiments history then it should be possible to pinpoint their location on
Census night of 1861 (or whenever) ) and look there. I could be wrong but I
think that British Regiments stationed abroad or in transit are also
included. Worth a try.
Re: yr msg of March 25. Would really appreciate if you will look up the
following for me, at your convenience.
Abel RIXON, Private, 84th Regiment (Madras or Bengal)
Private Rixon was originally in the 63rd Regiment but between September
1846 and early 1847 volunteered to the 84th Regiment. I know he was
still in the Madras presidency with the regiment till January/March
1853. I have not been able to go any further than this date.
Will your list show him in the Regiment after 1853 ? According to the
present day Regiment Museum, the 84th left Calcutta in 1859. I think he
may have left India with the Regiment but have no proof, other than the
fact that I cannot find his burial records anywhere in India after 1853.
Thanks for your help.
Nancy Rixon Sidell
For anybody intending to do any research at the Colonial and India Office,
they will be closing their doors on Friday of this week (3rd April 1998) for a
period of 3 months during which time their records will be moved to the
British Library. They will be reopening again in August 1998.
Sylvia and others,
On Saturday, 28 March, 1998 12:50, Sylvia Murphy
> I am replying to Margaret Carlsonm's query to the list, in the hopes that
> others will do the same!
> Margaret wrote as follows:
> > Family folk law(not always reliable) says that if widowed a woman would
> > to England if she did not remarry within a year. Is this true? We show
> > occuring within 5 months and this was given as the explanation.
> Well, needless to say - I don't know the answer - but I would certainly
> LIKE to know! Maybe others would like to also. So please, Margaret if
> you get private replies will you share them, but I hope they come to the
> list! Thanks.
> Sylvia Murphy
I have watched the answers with interest as I am sure others have. My
grandmother seemed to be in a similar position, although a descendent of a
well to do (in the 19th Century) Agra family.
I have always wondered at :
1. Her ability to find a husband and
2. The short time between marriages.
In her case she was born in 1882, but don't know how to check that out.
1. Her photograph taken about 1900 showed her to be a beautiful attractive
woman, I must admit. She married an Albert Gurney and their first child,
Albert, was born in 1898. A second child (George) was born in 1903 and I
believe died early on. A daughter Dolly was born in 1904. The marriage
and children were all born in Rawalpibdi. Soldier (rank unknown) Gurney
died in 1904-1906 sometime, as
2. Elsie Gurney remarried in June 1906, to Gunner George Cunningham at
Rawalpindi. Elsie and George then had children i.e. James, Mabel, Elsie
(my mother), Edward, Peter, and Vera. I think there were may have been
another (Ivy) who also died as a baby. Sergeant Cunningham died in 1919.
3. Elsie Cunningham then remarried Pioneer Sergeant Ernest Pulinstone of
the Lincolnshire Regiment in January 1990 in St Patricks church at Poona.
They had a daughter Vera. Elsie Pulinstone died with another baby (I
understand in childbirth).
So that is twelve children at least and three marriages. My grandmother
did look a lot older in photos taken in the 1920s.
To a mind in 1998, one wonders what did the lady have as a drawing power,
that a Pioneer Sergeant, who was a childless widower, in India, (with no
family to support him) would want to take on a family of eight to ten
children, admittedly the eldest being then 21 years old ?
Also why did she need to marry so quickly, if her father and brothers were
successful business and professional people ? Her father was, I am told,
'Superintendent of the Salt Revenue' (after watching the film Gandhi, one
realises this was an important revenue). and some of her brothers were
It makes one wonder about the pressures that our ancestors faced in India ?
Best wishes to all those seeking information.
I've had an enquiry by mail from someone tracing the FOSTER family. In
particular, he is seeking information on William Kenneth FOSTER, born
1900 in Kharagpur, and last heard of in 1946. He may have migrated to
Australia or NZ. As anyone heard of him?
The FOSTER family is tracable back to William Henry FOSTER (b.1837) who
married Octavia Ann SYLVESTER (1847-1920) in Meerut. They had nine
children, including Francis William FOSTER (1863-1920) who married Mary
Kathleen CAHILL (1876-1914) in 1899 (in Calcutta, I think). If anyone
has information on William Kenneth FOSTER in particular, or the FOSTER
famnily in general, then please conatct me.
Cathy Day of Alice Springs, Central Australia
email : clday(a)ozemail.com.au
British Ancestors in India Website at
Sylvia Murphy wrote:
> <snip> - I am currently reading this book - it provides an excellent
> commentary on the social customs & life of women in India..... It also
> has an extensive bibliography which could lead to further reading...
...and a brief passage on Adela Frances Cory, probably better known as
Lawrence Hope, who wrote some extraordinarily 'exotic' poems including
the Kashmiri Song ('Pale Hands I loved, beside the Shalimar..').
Born in Bristol, she married Col Malcolm Nicolson, later General, CB,
ADC to Queen Victoria, and dressed as a boy, joined him on the NW
Frontier during the '78-'80 Afghan war. She was said to be passionately
in love with her very-much-older-husband and after his death in a Madras
nursing home in 1904, committed suicide.
Her contemporaries seem to have closed ranks around her true life-story.
If anyone comes across anything at all in connection with her I'd be very
grateful if you'd let me know.
Dont think that this matter of "temporary marriges" is a 19th.Cent. thing
when I was stationed in N.Malaya in 1952 a large unit was suddenly posted
back to the Near East and next day I had a small queue appear before the
office to ask for help and to ask when their men will return !
>From time to time the subject of difficulty in tracing marriages arises.
p.122 in Women of the Raj is quite instructive on this, particularly in
regard to 'the lower end of the social scale':
"As only a minority (of Brit soldiers) were given permission to marry many
contracted liaisons with local women - usually Domiciled European or
The truth only came out when regiment was recalled to UK and passage of
wives & children needed to be organised. One officer responsible for
organising this found it a dreadful experience as very few had proper
documents..... "the most extraordinary pieces of paper were placed before
me. For every genuine document there were a dozen which were just scraps of
paper of no value whatsoever. Soldiers had made their own documents on
coloured or printed paper such as beer bottle labels or labels from tinned
The comment was made that soldiers themselves regarded such "marriages" as
icq: 2236405, AIM: sylv47
I concur with previous comments about the excellent insight provided by
MacMillian's work, Women of the Raj. However, I would also like to note
that while it provides an enlightening glimspe into the lives of the
British in India, it renders a damning and racist portrayal of the
Anglo-Indian/Eurasian community, perpetuating age-old and insidious
This is from Margrit Walmsley <walmsley(a)cyllene.uwa.edu.au> and was
meant for the mailing list. Please reply directly to her.
Hi everyone - I would very much like to find my aunt Kathleen Jardine,
nee Ford who was born (I don't know where) round about 1914. Her father
was a Farrier Sargeant in the British Army in India and his name was
Richard Ford and her mother was, I think, called Ruth. One of
Kathleen's sisters was Eveline May, my mother, and another was Kitty.
They lived in Calcutta and Kathleen's husband (whose first name I don't
know) was in the police force during the partition riots. They had two
children, Marian who would by now be about 60 and John, an older
brother, who disappeared in Calcutta at an extremely young age and was
never found. Please could someone help?
Margrit Walmsley, Secretary
Department of Classics & Ancient History
From: Barney Tyrwhitt-Drake <Barney(a)tdrake.demon.co.uk>
To: Jim Robertson <jimjar(a)ozemail.com.au>
Cc: INDIA-L(a)rootsweb.com <INDIA-L(a)rootsweb.com>
Date: Monday, 30 March 1998 7:23
Subject: Re: Card Index @ Soc of Genealogists in London
>In message <22.214.171.124.19980330152832.006b1678(a)ozemail.com.au>, Jim
>Robertson <jimjar(a)ozemail.com.au> writes
>>Barbara's recent message prompts me to remind everyone that the Society of
>>genealogists in London have published a little 12 page booklet entitled
>>"Sources for Anglo-Indian Genealogy in the Library of the Society of
you are quite right to chastise me for my last minute thought of a helping
hand to Barbara. Happily you have given her the link for a direct approach
to the Soc of Gs in London. As a long standing member of that Society, but
not of any eminence, I have always found their bookshop very efficient, and
speedy in their responses.
I'll leave Barbara to decide whether she wants to order the booklet, but
hopefully after this little incident, a lot more people will have been
reminded of it's existance, and may well be prompted to order copies for
Have a nice day, everyone! Jim Robertson
I see that Doug & Audrey Augier beat me to it with comments from Women of
the Raj - I am currently reading this book - it provides an excellent
commentary on the social customs & life of women in India..... It also has
an extensive bibliography which could lead to further reading.
icq: 2236405, AIM: sylv47
A huge thank you to everyone that responded to my query regarding my
g.g.g.grandfather, Daniel Vincent SHORTLAND. I can't believe how helpful
you all were, especially Jill and Sylvia!
Now, I have another question or two.
1) Would it have been possible for someone to join the British Army around
1856 at age 14?
2) Could someone please tell me where I can obtain copies of Daniels' army
3) Does anyone have the surname Nixon in any of your British Indian research?
In message <126.96.36.199.19980330152832.006b1678(a)ozemail.com.au>, Jim
Robertson <jimjar(a)ozemail.com.au> writes
>Barbara's recent message prompts me to remind everyone that the Society of
>genealogists in London have published a little 12 page booklet entitled
>"Sources for Anglo-Indian Genealogy in the Library of the Society of
>Genealogists". This was written by Neville taylor, and was published in
>1990. It should still be available, at quite a modest cost.
>As Barbara guessed, the "India Index" on cards - stored on the Lower
>Library shelves is very largely the work of Lt Col H K Percy-Smith, done in
>the early 1940s.
>The booklet describes the structure of the Index, and give some
>abbreviations used, but as ever, not those on the card for Horatio Corvalho!
Yes, it's still available from the SoG and the cost is around a pound.
ISBN is 0 901878 65 0. The SoG's web site is now up and running at
http://www.sog.org.uk/ so it's worth looking there for confirmation.
>Barbara, If pressed - I could fix up a photocopy! Any interest?
Jim, Jim, Jim.... the SoG is a charity that struggles to survive in all
of our genealogical interests. Reducing their income by even small
amounts by suggesting a rip-off of copyrighted material is in no-one's
long-term interest. The author of this particular publication gives a
huge amount of his time voluntarily to the SoG already, and would be
neither amused nor likely to continue this work if he knew that people
were photocopying his work.
If anyone is really struggling with Colonel Percy-Smith's abbreviations,
you could try contacting Neville directly for advice. His e-mail address
Drake Software web site: http://www.tdrake.demon.co.uk
Barbara's recent message prompts me to remind everyone that the Society of
genealogists in London have published a little 12 page booklet entitled
"Sources for Anglo-Indian Genealogy in the Library of the Society of
Genealogists". This was written by Neville taylor, and was published in
1990. It should still be available, at quite a modest cost.
As Barbara guessed, the "India Index" on cards - stored on the Lower
Library shelves is very largely the work of Lt Col H K Percy-Smith, done in
the early 1940s.
The booklet describes the structure of the Index, and give some
abbreviations used, but as ever, not those on the card for Horatio Corvalho!
Barbara, If pressed - I could fix up a photocopy! Any interest?
Sort of caught the last of the 'photographers' thread, but for anyone
interested, there was a photographers' named 'Bentley and Jackson' in
Rangoon around the 1860's. I have a photo of my g.g.g.grandfather
(original) with this photographers' mark on the reverse side.
If you have not already done so, I suggest that you contact Harry Miller in
Madras. Harry was the Director of Photography and a columnist with the
Indian Express, and has spent a lifetime in the context of photography
(history, techniques, etc). I don't know Harry's address, but he writes a
column for the excellent Madras Musings (c/- M/s. Lokavani Hall-Mark Press
Pvt Ltd, 62/63 Greames Road, Chennai - 600 006. This paper is a free
publication that attempts to bring attention to the historic Madras,
especially to the state of the older buildings that seem to be neglected
and in a state of disrepair. The magazine is a useful source for old photos
of Madras and the surrounding environment (Madras was one of the three
Presidencies). A number of the old photos are published in a 'coffee
table' style book "Madras - It's Past & It's Present". The production and
photos (old followed by new) are of a very high standard, and of keen
interest to me as a lot of my forebears came from Madras, Ooty, Bangalore,
etc. Most of the photos in the book were taken by Wiele & Klein of 11
Mount Road, Madras. The book also mentions studios of Klein & Peyeri,
Drinneberg, Nicholas & Co., City Photo Stores, and Willie Burke who were
all involved in 'glass plate' photography. I get Madras Musings via my
uncle Eric Stracey who was involved in 'rescuing' many of these old photos.
nehart(a)pcug.org.au OR nerida.hart(a)dss.gov.au
> From: hoskearn(a)git.com.au
> To: INDIA-L(a)rootsweb.com
> Subject: Photographic Studios
> Date: Saturday, 28 March 1998 12:35
> I am going to try to start up an internet database of old photographic
> studios, as an aid to the identification of old photos. Most of us have
> heap of old photographs which nobody has written anything on and hence
> we are unable to identify. Some of these have the name of a studio
> on them. It seems to me that if we could at least be sure where this
> was and if we then knew how long that studio had been in existence, we
> might, by a process of deduction be able to make an educated guess at who
> the subjects are. Well, it would be a help, anyway.
> What I am therefore looking for is:
> 1) The names and locations of any identifiable studios.
> That is to say, if your photograph has the logo "Demetri's photographic
> studio" on it, and you happen to know that it was definitely taken in
> Athens, this would help anyone who has the logo for Demetri's but hasn't
> a clue where it was taken.
> 2)When you do find a dated photograph, for which you know the studio,
> let me know the details. This way, over a period of time, we should be
> to gather a good idea of what years the studio operated from. Then other
> people, who have the studio's name printed on their photos, but no date,
> be able to date their photos, at least approximately.
> 3)Information which you may come across in any directory listing the
> name/location/date of any photographic studio.
> It's worth a try, don't you think?
> Best wishes,
> ==== INDIA Mailing List ====
> To cut down on the number of email messages from the
> INDIA List, you might consider changing from LIST
> mode to DIGEST mode
Hello to one and all!!
I'm researching William Atkins who is supposed to have
come to India in 1942, having landed in Madras to begin with. From there he
is said to have reached Gujarat.He was in Bombay too, later in Jhansi, and
finally in Calcutta.
I'm also researching John Davidson who was working for Jenson and Nicholson
in Calcutta when he is said to have died in April 1945.
And finally Mr Barnett, who was last heard of in Bombay around 1945.
I will be grateful for information on the above gentlemen.
Sylvia Murphy wrote:
> I am replying to Margaret Carlsonm's query to the list, in the hopes
> that others will do the same!
> Margaret wrote as follows:
> > Family folk law(not always reliable) says that if widowed a woman
> > would be sent to England if she did not remarry within a year. Is
> > this true? We show one marriage occuring within 5 months and this was
> > given as the explanation.
Please be warned ... this is a long answer to a short question!
Was this the folklore of one particular family?!
A widow whose husband's will hadn't adequately provided for her (and
perhaps a brood of children) and who hadn't remarried within a year might
well have found herself running into serious financial difficulties, in
which case her only recourse might well have been to return to England
where - if she were fortunate enough to have them - her relatives would
have supported her.
Some women who'd been married to wealthy husbands actually looked forward
to widowhood just so that they *could* go home. In the early years of the
Colony the East India Company's charters consigned the chaps to a pretty
monastic life by prohibiting women from the factory settlements but by
the end of the 17th century the Company was paying for unmarried women to
be shipped out to Bombay and Madras with the provision of one set of
clothing each(!) and a promise of maintenance by the Company for one year
while they set about finding for husbands. One successful candidate wrote
to a friend in England (early 19th century)...
"...sad is the fact in India: wives are looking out with gratitude for
the next mortality that may carry off their husbands, in order that they
may return to England to live upon their Jointures; they live a married
life in absolute misery, that they may enjoy a widowhood of affluence and
independence. This is no exaggeration I assure you."
They were the lucky ones ...depending on which way you look at it!
Hoards of young women (known aptly, if uncharitably, as the 'fishing
fleet') went out every year to find husbands. Some of the less fortunate
- girls without dowries or beauty, for example - were sent out by their
families in the hope that they'd land a better catch than any they might
have made at home, and some of them understandably went with great
reluctance. Given the fate of the women and children in the Mutiny - and
of Europeans in general in such a disagreeable climate - it's hardly
surprising that the marriage boom was over well before the end of the
19th century. A line from the (1870s) diary of Maj-Gen.J.S.Rawlins...
"But now they droop and languish, and nobody comes to woo, and charming
girls often spend four or five years in India and then return as
spinsters to their mother country..."
Communications between Europe and India had improved enormously,
particularly after the opening of the Suez Canal, and it goes without
saying that the majority of men wishing to marry preferred to go home to
find a bride rather than selecting goodness knew whom from goodness knew
I think I've already mentioned Theon Wilson's 'Two Monsoons, the Life &
Death of Europeans in India' (Duckworth, 1876 & 87) which I've used for
the quotations above. I really can't recommend it enough. It's a great
read, packed with fascinating information, names, inscriptions and so on
and concludes with a brief appendix on searching for ancestors.
As for the the original question...I very much doubt that a woman still
unmarried after a year of widowhood would have booked a passage home to
Mum for any other reason than plain common sense!