Start My Family Tree Welcome to Geni, home of the world's largest family tree.
Join Geni to explore your genealogy and family history in the World's Largest Family Tree.

Sellers & Sailors: The East India Companies

« Back to Projects Dashboard

view all


  • John Hogan, Sr. Collector of Land Revenue (1795 - 1871)
    John Hogan served under Sir Stamford Raffles in the British East India Company at Bencoolen in Sumatra. John was one of three men who settled in Penang who accompanied Sir Stamford Raffles when he fo...
  • Sir Francis Baring, 1st Baronet Baring of Larkbeer (1740 - 1810)
    He was an English merchant banker, later becoming the first of the Baring Baronets. He was born at Larkbeare House near Exeter. Links:
  • Captain Francis Light (Captain) (1740 - 1794)
    Captain Francis Light is a kind man that spells high seas adventure,the person credited as the founder of Penang and one of the first foreign settlers in Phuket.In 1765 he was instructed by his company...
  • General James Kerr (1750 - 1821)
    V. James Kerr, General H.E.I.C.S., born at Cleughside 9 Feb. 1750, entered military service of the Hon. E.I. Co. 1771, was gazetted Lieutenant 1775, Captain 1785, to rank from 1781, Major 1792, Colonel...
  • Thomas Halcott Fendall (c.1825 - 1865)
    Thomas was listed as the Queens messenger in the 1851 census.

Thank you to Geni for making us their Featured Project for July 11, 2011!

From the 17th through 19th Centuries, thousands of European men set sail on behalf of joint-stock companies to reap the riches of the Indian subcontinent. Trading mainly in cotton, silk, indigo dye, saltpeter, tea, and opium, these companies became the original capitalist mega-corporations as each -- and its royal backers -- fought each other on the seas and tried to conquer Southeast Asia, East Asia, and India for their own benefit.

This project aims to bring together profiles of the financial backers, captains, officers, rank-and-file sailors, and others affiliated with the major East India Companies.

Major Companies

The major East India Companies were:

  • British East India Company (1600 - 1874)
  • Danish East India Company (1616 - 1772)
  • VOC ‧ Dutch East India Company (1602 - 1798)
  • French East India Company (1644 - 1794)
  • Portuguese East India Company (1628 - 1633)
  • Swedish East India Company (1731 - 1813)
  • Ostend East-India Company (1722 - 1731)

Please feel free to add anyone to this project who was involved with one of these companies.

Company Lists

Most company lists must be obtained directly through primary source research; however, some websites do exist on-line containing records.

For direct research on British East India Company sailors, this website gives good details on how to obtain records. For secondary on-line research, East India Company Ships ( lists British East India Company captains. You can also find information on obtaining late-period civil service graduate records here. Otherwise, you will need to work with official manifests and government records to locate information, particularly outside the British company.

Cautionary Note

Many men sailed for a flag other than their own. If a record for an Frenchman says, for example "East India Company sailor," he could just as easily have sailed for the Swedes. Keep that in mind when working on individual profiles -- documentation is always key.