Provisional Inventory of the Archives of the VOC Establishments Malabar, Coromandel, Surat and Bengal and Legal Successors (so - called "Dutch Records") (1647 - ) 1664 - 1825 ( - 1852)

Fonds specifications


Custodial history

Also referred to as the "Dutch Records transferred from Bengal", inv. nos. 981, 1673 - 1763 make up the remains of the factory at Chinsura near Hooghly. Apart from materials classified as documentation, they cover the years 1655 - 1852. After the Dutch officially left Chinsura in 1825, "Dutch" records continued to be created, mostly by the Judicial Council and concerning Dutchmen remaining in Bengal. Apart from inv. no. 981, of which the custodial history is not clear, the records were kept at the office of the District Judge in Hooghly until 1928, when they were transferred to the Department of the Archives of the Bengal Secretariat at Calcutta, together with a number of Danish archives. At that time, a list of part of the records was compiled for the first time, which however made no distinction between Dutch and Danish materials and as a consequence was next to useless.
In his Compagniebescheiden en aanverwante archivalia in Britsch - Indië en op Ceylon (pp. 59 - 72) (see also under Surat), J. van Kan gave detailed descriptions (in Dutch) of the Chinsura archives (then 86 records), dividing them into two series:
A: records included and numbered in the above - mentioned list of 1928 (numbered 26, 44 - 45, 46 - 46a, 47 - 50, 51a, 52 - 53, 54a - h, 55 - 64, 66 - 77, 80 - 87, 106);
B: records not included in that list and therefore numbered by Van Kan (1 - 35).
In 1930 (after Van Kan finished his research but before it was published) the records were transferred to the Imperial Record Office, and in 1931 to Madras. Here, they were renumbered, following the inv. nos. of the VOC archives of Malabar, Coromandel and Surat. Together with the records transferred from Surat, they were rather superficially described (in English) in a list prepared by Rev. J. Fruytier in 1939, which was published at Madras in 1952 as Supplementary Catalogue of Dutch Records. As becomes clear from this work, by then even more British documents had been added to the Dutch records from Bengal (probably during their stay in the Imperial Record Office), apparently simply because they concerned Dutch affairs. Some of these papers are also described by Van Kan in Compagniebescheiden but logically they are still mentioned there as belonging to the records of the British Foreign Department at Calcutta (pp. 41 - 55). Comparing the lists of Van Kan and Fruytier, it appears that, as well as their structures, their contents are considerably different from each other. Several records described by Van Kan do not seem to be included in Fruytier's list, while the latter mentions a number of records that Van Kan apparently never saw.