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French Graves in India

Last Post cover

Pondichéry is upon us again! In truth, this happy find of a book covers nearly all of French India. The Last Post : Inscriptions on French Graves in India is a labour of love by K.J.S. Chatrath, (who also wrote something entitled  "The Joy of Mental Health", but let's not worry about that). Dr. Chatrath is a retired civil servant and now writes a number of blogs as well as books on the interaction between France and India.

The Last Post, he admits, is not an exhaustive listing of all names from all French graves in all of India, but it is a pretty good beginning, we think.  His table of transcriptions reads, in part:

  • French Graves in Agra
  • French Sisters of St. Joseph of Tabres, buried in Bangalore
  • French Priests and Sisters Lying Buried in the Sacred Heart Church Compound, Bangaluru (Bangalore)
  • Graves in the Erstwhile French Cemetery at Calcutta (Kolkatta) - Since Demolished
  • Graves in the Chanerdagore Cemetery
  • Sisters of St. Joseph of Cluny Who Died At Chandannagar Along With the Dates of Deaths
  • Graves at Sarurnagar, Hyderabad
  • Graves in the French Cemetery at Karaikal
  • List of Reverend Parish Priests, Our Lady of Angels Church, Karaikal
  • Sisters of St. Joseph of Cluny Who Lie Buried in the Premises of Nirmalranee Girls Higher Secondary School, Karaikal, Along With the Dates of Death
  • Graves in the French Cemetery at Mahé
  • List of Missionaries and Vicars of the St. Theresa's Shrine of Mahé From Its Very Inception
  • Graves in the French Cemetery at Pondichéry
  • French Jesuit Fathes and Other Reverend Priests Who Lie Buried in the Premises of the Church at Pondichéry From 1691 Onwards, Mentioning Their Respective Years of Birth, Ordainment or Death
  • Sisters of St. Jospeh of Cluny Who Lie Buried in the St. Xavier's Church at Pondichéry Along With the Dates of Death
  • Graves in the Protestant English Cemetery at Pondichéry
  • Graves in the French Cemetery at Yanam (Yanaon)
  • List of the Priests of Yanam (Yanaon)
  • List of the Dead Noted in the Death Register of Europeans, Pondichéry Commune, 1830
  • Some of the Recipients of the Légion d'Honneur Lying Buried in Graves in the Erstwhile French Settlements in India

There is discussion of some of the more celebrated names, including:

  • Victor Jacquemont, botanist
  • Jean Baptiste de Warren, astronomer
  • Eugène Courjon, billiards player
  • Jean-Baptiste Tavernier, jeweller

There are a few photographs. Within the above chapters, the names are in bold, followed by the inscriptions in normal typeface. There is a bibliography of works on French India. There is an index. Unfortunately, it is arranged firstly by cemetery, and secondly, alphabetically by the first name. The book is in Indian English and has been self-published, sans proof reader. 

Nevertheless, we find this an impressive achievement, bringing to the world of French genealogy data that would otherwise be extremely difficult to acquire. Combined with previously mentioned resources on Pondichéry and French India, this could be a true aid to finding a lost ancestor. Should you be so lucky, it would appear that Dr. Chatrath would be willing to photograph graves for you.

Click on the book title above to be taken to, should you wish to purchase it.

©2012 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy