Archive for July, 2012

Three Presidencies in India

Presdencies, or provinces, were the administrative units of India, originally under the East India company and, after the rebellion of 1857, under the crown itself.  Each presidency started out as a trading post, with a factory and a fort. The area around each trading post grew rapidly and expanded during the years of British rule. The three major presidencies were the Bombay Presidency, the Madras Presidency, and the Bengal Presidency.

Although this map was drawn in 1931, I believe it is good representation of the administration of India when William and Lydia lived there in the 1860s and 1870s. For most of their time in India, William and Lydia lived in the Madras Presidency, although in different cities, including Fort St. George and Bangalore. Their daughter Jane was born on Port Blair,  an island in the Bay of Bengal about 700 miles from Fort St. George. Port Blair is in the Bengal Presidency.

July 10, 2012 at 7:33 pm Leave a comment

British Presence in India

Queen Elizabeth I granted the British East India Company a royal charter, giving them a monopoly on trade to East India for  21 year. The Company established trading posts at Bombay, Madras, and Calcutta. In 1670, King Charles II granted the Company the right to acquire land, mint money, command its own army (made up mostly of native troops), make war, and rule any land it gained.
About 1700 the Company had taken over much of the country, extending control from its three major bases, Madras (now Chennai), Calcutta (now Kolkata), and Bombay (now Mumbai). British East India Company forces, under the leadership of Robert Clive, expelled the French from Bengal in 1757 and put down Indian rebellions during 1756–64. The expansion of company authority was continued under Warren Hastings and Richard Wellesley.
By the early 1800s, the British East India Company had direct control over most of the northern part of the subcontinent and most of the coastal areas along the Bay of Bengal. In 1857 a native rebellion (variously called the Indian Mutiny, the Sepoy Mutiny, the Indian Revolt, and the First War of Independence) broke out among Bengal troops, who seized Delhi. When it was put down in 1858, the Mogul emperor was deposed and administration of the country was transferred from the East India Company to the British government. With the exception of a few remaining French and Portuguese coastal communities, India was, for the first time in its history, politically united. In 1876 Queen Victoria was proclaimed Empress of India.

British India.

July 10, 2012 at 12:56 pm Leave a comment

An Important Find – Private William Hall

As a beginner in genealogy, I have not done a lot of research on my own. I have cousins on both sides of my family that had already researched most of my two family trees. But today I think I may have made an important discovery on my own. I found what might be the military service record of my great great grandfather William Hall. William was serving in the British Army in India when he married my great great grandmother Lydia Selina Ramsbottom.

I found the record on Find My Past UK. This is a site on which you have to pay for records, but they are not too expensive and you can buy credits using your American credit card. It costs about $15 for 60 credits, and to download William’s service record (6 pages) cost 5 credits.

At first I wasn’t sure if I had the right William Hall, but as I carefully looked at the six pages that seem to be William’s discharge papers, I found so many correct names and dates that I  became sure the record was his. The records listed all the dates he had been at various assignments in India. When I looked at the birth records (found on Family Search) of his four children, the dates and places of their births matched the dates of his military assignment. I’ll have much more to share about William as I continue to examine his records, but for now, I am just basking in the joy of discovery!

July 9, 2012 at 10:39 pm Leave a comment

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My Mom Ada

This blog traces the family history of my mom, Edith Porter Duffy. From the time I was a little girl, my mom would tell me stories about her family, who all called her Ada. I only wish I had asked her more questions while she was still here!

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