British India

British India – my main passion and addiction! Here are some brief notes explaining how all my various ancestors came to be in India.

Collett Family

Lewis Andrew COLLETT arrived in India aboard the ship “Duke of Montrose” on 4th July 1792 and served in the Bombay Grenadiers for 20 years ending up as Garrison Sergeant-Major in Surat. When he got out of the Grenadiers he then set up his own business as a carriage builder in Girgaum Back Road, Bombay.

Holdway family

Henry HOLDWAY embarked for Bengal 9 May 1840 aboard the Ship ‘Malcolm’. Henry was a Drill Sergeant in 1850. By 1854 he was a Rough Riding Sergeant and by 1859 he was Overseer of the Stud. When he left the Bengal Horse Artillery he became a Guard of the East India Railway.

Kuhlmey family

Gustav KUHLMEY (born in Prussia) came out to India from London around 1883 with his wife Pauline and their eldest son Franz to take up the position of Bandmaster for the 28th Punjab Native Infantry at Peshawar. He then went on to be Musical Director for the Presidency Volunteers in Calcutta and in 1888 the Royal Bengal Academy of Music gave Gustav the title of Sangita-Acharyn, or Professor of Music, the diploma being accompanied by a handsome gold armlet or badge bearing an inscription to that effect. In 1891 Gustav left the Calcutta Town Band and became Bandmaster for the 17th Bengal Native Infantry. Unfortunately Gustav died young in Agra leaving a wife and eight children.

Norman family

The Ships Logs for the Indiaman “Royal George” (L/MAR/B/17L) show that Private Joseph Norman of the 14th Regt. of Foot boarded the ship at Portsmouth on 19th June 1807 with his wife Eleonor bound for Madras. For some reason Joseph & Eleonor were transferred the Indiaman “Windham” on 22nd August 1807 in exchange for Private Willm Gillian and his wife. The “Windham” arrived in Madras and the troops disembarked November 1807. The troops were quartered at Fort St. George.

Robertson family

Charles Duncan ROBERTSON was Hospital steward HM 11th Light Dragoons. Still looking for evidence of him arriving in India about 1820.

Duncan family

I’m not sure how my DUNCAN family came to be in India yet, but family stories say the Duncan’s came from Dundee. I’ve got as far back as John James DUNCAN who was a Station Master at Howrah for the East India Railway.

Other surnames

I hope to add further details for these families soon.


Associated families



  1. I am David Neville Russell Leslie, the senior surviving member of the Leslie family.
    My father was Neville Bernard Leslie, my mother, Joyce Ann Leslie was a daughter
    of Eva Grace Collett, neé Grant. I was born in Bombay in 1937.
    I met a cousin, called Valmay in 1958 at Clacton-on-Sea whose mother was a Muriel
    Wardley an elder sister of my mother. Forgive my temerity in asking you where you fit in to the relations of the Collett family’s?

    1. Hi David,

      Lovely to hear from you. The cousin Valmay you met in Clacton sadly passed away a few years ago. Valmay is my Grandma’s sister and you are my 1st cousin 2 times removed. Please feel free to contact me if you would like any further information.

  2. My name is Emily Fitzpatrick, my maternal grandmother’s name was Perry her maiden name was Duncan, Adalaide died in Co. Clare. Ireland . She was just 28years of age. Adalaide met her husband out in India. He was in the British army.

    1. Hello cousin Emily! Many thanks for getting in touch. Your Grandmother was my Great Great Grandmothers sister! Two years ago today I flew out to Delhi to meet up with the granddaughter of Adelaide’s brother Frederick, who lives in Australia, and we went on a family history tour around India. Do you have any photos of Adelaide? I have a few photos of her siblings and one of her mother that I am happy to share, but no photos of her.

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