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French East Indies

Privacy Level: Open (White)
Date: [unknown] [unknown]
Location: Indian Oceanmap
Surnames/tags: FRANCE FRENCH_ROOTS East_Indies
This page has been accessed 1,169 times.



This covers the various colonies founded by the French in and around the Indian Ocean. These include:

Île Bourbon, now Réunion
Île de France, now Mauritius
Établissements français dans l'Inde ("French establishments in India")

WikiPedia has a good high level article on the Compagnie française pour le commerce des Indes orientales (French East India Company), and its predecessors and successors. The French presence in the Indian Ocean was driven by commercial rather than political motives, and the history of these colonies reflects this.


Being French, where records do exist they tend to be very informative. Baptismal records will include the mother's name, they kept their maiden names, and often the family relationship of the two sponsors. Marriage records will usually include both sets of parents, the ages of the couple, and where they were born. Burial records often provide the age and the names of the spouse and/or the parents.

Many of the records for the area have been transcribed and made available online at Cercle de Généalogie Maurice - Rodrigues (CGMR).


The National Archives of Mauritius has imaged many records from the French era and made them available online. The indexing is not complete, so some effort is required and the response time can be slow. Users are required to register first.


A major, but secondary, source for Bourbon are the genealogical dictionaries written by Camille Ricquebourg, in particular his Dictionnaire généalogique des familles de l'Ile Bourbon (La Réunion). The first edition was released in 1983 in three volumes; the second, complete, edition was released in 2001. There are only 19 libraries worldwide listed on Worldcat as holding either edition.

Another book by Ricquebourg - Dictionnaire Genealogique Des Familles de L'Ile Bourbon: 1665-1767: Pendant La Regie de La Compagnie Des Indes - is held by only ten libraries.

An overview of the settlement of Île Bourbon is here.


The baptism, marriage and burial records held at the National Archives of Seychelles have been transcribed by Heulwen Pool and Daniella Johnstone and added to the database of the CGMR.

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Should this page be categorized also under Category:French_Colonies?
posted by Don Osborn
Probably. That category seems pretty new, I didn’t know it existed.
posted by [Living Hampson]
Turns out Category:French_Colonies was created in 2016, but placed only in Category: European Colonies, which is perhaps a reason it hasn't received much attention. I placed it also under Category: France, History, which is similar to how other colonies categories have been handled.
posted by Don Osborn
The French Projects category will be renamed French Roots Projects. It will remain red on this page until the bot can rename it.

I removed the French Roots category because this is for our Project Page only. Thanks! Emma