Explanation of the fields on the index
|Field name (Dutch)||Field name (translated)||Explanatory note|
|Contractnummer||Contract number||Contract numbers are the official identification codes of immigrants in Suriname. They are recorded as such in the registers of Civil Registration. The code consists of one or two letters and a number. The letter refers to the year in which the ship with the immigrant in question arrived in Suriname. The numbering starts in the year 1872. In that year a treaty with England took effect, regulating the emigration of free workers from the British East Indies to Suriname. According to colonial legislation of that year, immigrants of a certain nationality must be listed under a consecutive serial number. Each year is given a letter, ascending from A to Z and then from Aa to Ss. The immigrants of 1873 are numbered B/1 through B/2541; those of 1874 are numbered C/1 through C/1413, etc. Since immigration from India occurred during the period 1873-1916, the letters for the Hindu immigrants run from B (1873) to Ss (1916). However, Hindustani immigrants arrived in Suriname before 1873. From May 1868 to 1873, more than one hundred British-Indian immigrants were brought in from Barbados, St. Lucia, Demerara, and Berbice for work on the plantations. These immigrants are also included in the index. They can be distinguished by the letter W by the contract number (example: W/123). Finally, the index also includes free immigrants from the British East Indies. They arrived as passengers on the immigration ships and received no contract number. The free immigrants from British Guiana, who are not yet included in the index, received a contract number starting with the letters VR. For a list of the existing contract numbers and the gaps in them, please consult the ship list. There you will also find the arrival date for each ship.|
|Achternaam||Name||In fact, this was originally a first name, at least for men. Later, when the immigrants were allowed to list a family name or surname, the first name was recorded as the family name by default. This name was often spelled differently from the way it was originally recorded in the immigration register. Hosenkhan later chose the family name Hassankhan, Babu Ram became Baboeram. Female immigrants sometimes listed their father's or husband's name as their family name.|
|Voornamen||First names||The name of the immigrant's father. Later the field was used to register the first name (for men).|
|Geslacht||Gender||Male or female.|
|Godsdienst of kaste||Religion or caste||For religion, initially 'hindoe' (Hindu) or mohammedaan/muzelman/mosulman (Muslim) was listed. Later, Hindus began to report caste instead of religion. Sometimes Muslims also reported 'shaik' as caste, which is not correct.|
|Leeftijd||Age||This indicates the age on arrival in Suriname. This was usually expressed in years. For babies the age was also given in months. When entering the index the age in months was sometimes converted to the age in years, for example: 1 year and six months = 1.5 years.|
|Huidskleur||Skin colour||Skin colour.|
|Lengte||Height||Often indicated in milimeters.|
|Herkenningstekens||Distinguishing marks||Scars or other physical specifics|
|Geboren||Born||In addition to immigrants born in the British Indies, there are those born in Jamaica, Natal or Fiji.|
|District||District||To indicate the last place of residence of the immigrant three designations are used: district (zilla), police station (thana) and village (gaun). Before April 1, 1886, instead of the term thana, the term pergunnah (= pargana, part of a district) is used.|
|Politiepost||Police station||To indicate the last place of residence of the immigrant three designations are used: district (zilla), police station (thana) and village (gaun). Before April 1, 1886, instead of the term thana, the term pergunnah (= pargana, part of a district) is used.|
|Dorp||Village||To indicate the last place of residence of the immigrant three designations are used: district (zilla), police station (thana) and village (gaun). Before April 1, 1886, instead of the term thana, the term pergunnah (= pargana, part of a district) is used.|
|Beroep||Occupation||Until 1882, field or factory worker was always listed under occupation. Thereafter, occupation was not listed probably because all immigrants from the British East Indies were recruited for field or factory work|
|Kinderen||Children||Indicates with Yes or No whether the memo field mentions children born in Suriname.|
|Scheepsnaam||Ship name||The ship with which the immigrants arrived in Suriname|
|Monsternummer||Muster number||This was the number with which an immigrant was registered on the muster-roll of the ship, on which he or she departed from India. This number was an identification number, given by the emigration agent in Calcutta. The muster number differs from the contract number because immigrants were not registered in Suriname in the same order as they had departed from India. The muster number is important if you would like to search for data in Indian archives. In that case you need the muster number and the name of the ship (plus year of departure).|
|Wervingsinstantie||Recruiting authority||The entity that commissioned the contractor and entered into the contract with the worker.|
|Afreisplaats||Departure place||This was Calcutta.|
|Afreisdatum||Departure date||Date of departure from India.|
|Aankomstplaats||Arrival place||In all instances this was Paramaribo, although legally Nickerie was also a potential place of arrival.|
|Aankomstdatum||Arrival date||Date of arrival in Suriname.|
|Planter||Planter||The name of the planter where the contracter was employed.|
|Plantage||Plantation||The name (and location) of the plantation on which the contractor was employed.|
|Begindatum||Start date of contract||Start date of the (first) contract. The contract started on the day of arrival in Suriname. Some contractors renewed their contract. The duration of the re-contracts varied from one to five years. The re-contracts were listed in the register. The index includes the dates of up to three re-contracts. There were cases of four re-contractions. In that case, the information has been included in the memo field.|
|Einddatum contract||Contract end date||End date of the (first) contract.|
|Vertrokken of overleden||Departed or deceased||The registers indicate whether the contractor had died or departed. When nothing was listed, it means that the immigrant was still alive during the period the register was kept.|
|Familierelatie||Family relation||If a contractor was related to another contractor, the type of relationship and the contract number of the family member were listed. The family relationships listed were: father, mother, son, daughter, brother, sister, nephew, niece, and uncle.|
|Verzetsactiviteiten||Resistance activity||Remarks about resistance activitities during their time as contract laborers.|
|Memo-veld||Memo field||Here various details were noted about the immigrant's fate after arrival in the colony: marriage, death, re-contract, return, date of the certificate of discharge, absenteeism, crimes and punishments. In many cases, especially among women, notes were also made of children and even grandchildren born in Suriname. We also find data on surnames and name changes. Finally, important is the information on the plots of land that came in the possession of immigrants.
The data on absenteeism from work and matters relating to violations and punishments are sometimes also included in the 'resistance activity' field. The information in this field is not standardized and is far from complete. Information on marriages and births can be found at the Centraal Bureau voor Burgerzaken, the civil registry.
List of abbreviations used in the index
|A.G.||akte van - Agent Generaal||Record of the Agent General|
|afg. / ag.||Afgestaan||relinquished|
|B.G. / Br. G.||Brits Guyana||British Guiana|
|Ben. Para.||Beneden Para (een district)||Lower Para (a district)|
|besch. gouv.||beschikking van de Gouverneur||decree of the Governor|
|C.V.O. / CVO||Certificaat van ontslag||Certificate of discharge|
|Comm.||Comm.; Commissaris of Commewijne||Comm.: either ‘commissioner’ or ‘Commewijne’ district.|
|d/v||dochter van||daughter of|
|DC||District Commissaris||District Commission|
|dupl.||duplicaat/afschrift (van certificaat van ontslag)||duplicate/copy (of certificate of discharge)|
|fol.||folio (blad)||folio (sheet)|
|G.B.||Gouvernements Blad||Government Gazette|
|G.R. / GR||Gouvernementsresolutie||Government Resolution|
|gec. werkv.||geconstateerd werkverzuim||observed absenteeism|
|gerec. / gerecon||gerecontracteerd||re-contracted|
|Gouv. / Gr||Gouverneur/Gouvernement||Governor/Government|
|HvJ||Hof van Justitie||Court of Justice|
|Ifonds / im. fonds||Immigratiefonds||Immigration Fund|
|kol. kas / Kolkas||koloniale kas||colonial cash|
|M.H.||militair hospital||millitary hospital|
|m/v||moeder van||mother of|
|Par'bo / parbo||Paramaribo||Paramaribo|
|Pr. fonds||Premie uit Immigratiefonds||Premium from Immigration Fund|
|reg.n.v. / N.V.||register van naamsverandering||register of name change|
|Res. / res||resolutie||Resolution|
|tripl.||triplicaat (tweede afschrift)||triplicate (second copy)|
|vw.c.||voorwaardelijk contract||conditional contract|
|z/v||zoon van||son of|
Bal, Ellen & Kathinka Sinha-Kerkhoff (2004) ‘Een Hindoestaanse diaspora. India en de moslim-Hindostanen in Nederland en Suriname’, OSO. Tijdschrijft voor Surinaamse taalkunde, letterkunde en geschiedenis 23, pp. 236-256, https://www.dbnl.org/titels/titel.php?id=_oso001200401.
Bhagwanbali, Radjinder (1996). Contracten voor Suriname: arbeidsmigratie vanuit Brits-Indië onder het indentured-labourstelsel 1873-1916 (dissertation, Radboud University, Nijmegen).
Birjmohan, Bisoendajāl Lamberts (2005). Surinaamse parelen uit Brits-Indië (Leidschendam: Centraal Bureau Voor Genealogie).
Choenni, Chan E.S. (2016). Hindostaanse contractarbeiders 1873-1920 : van India naar de plantages in Suriname (Volendam: LM Publishers).
Emmer, P.C. (1987) ‘Asians Compared: Some Observations regarding Indian and Indonesian Indentured Labourers in Surinam, 1873-1939’, Itinerario 11:1 (1987), pp. 149-154.
Emmer, P.C. (1985). ‘The great escape. The migration of female indentured servants from British India to Surinam, 1873-1916’, in: David Richardson (ed.), Abolition and its aftermath. The historical context 1790 – 1916 (London), pp. 245-266.
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Fokken, Margriet (2018). Beyond being koelies and kantráki. Constructing Hindostani identities in Suriname in the era of indenture, 1873-1921 (Hilversum).
Hassankhan, Maurits S. & Sandew Hira (1998). Historische database van Suriname: de gegevens over de Hindostaanse immigranten (Paramaribo/Den Haag: Amrit).
Hassankhan, Maurits S. & Sandew Hira (1998). Hindostaanse immigranten in Suriname : namenboek 1873-1916 (Paramaribo/Den Haag: Amrit).
Hassankhan, Maurits S. (2014) ‘The Indian indentured experience in Suriname. Control, accommodation and resistance 1873-1916’, in: Maurits S. Hassankhan, Brij V. Lal, Doug Munro (eds.), Resistance and Indian indenture experience. Comparative perspectives (New Delhi, 2014), pp. 199-240.
Hira, Sandew (2000). Terug naar Uttar Pradesh : op zoek naar de wortels van Surinaamse Hindostanen (The Hague: Amrit Consultancy).
Hoefte, R. (1998) ‘A passage to Suriname? The migration of modes of resistance by Asian contract labourers’, International Labor and Working-Class History 54, pp. 19-39.
Hoefte, R. (1998). In place of slavery. A social history of British Indian and Javanese laborers in Suriname (Gainesville: University Press of Florida).
Kraijo, M. [M. Paul] (2020) 'Breathing the air of Suriname? The life course of Hindostani labour migrants after indenture in Suriname, 1873-1940' (MA thesis, Radboud University, Nijmegen).