The following are some suggested sources for locating details of -- in this case mostly European -- ancestors who lived or worked in Shanghai. NEW (December 2010): PDFs of scanned extracts from old directories have added

Birth, Marriage and Death Registers  |  Cemeteries  |  Census  |  Directories  |  Internment  |  Newspapers  |  Obituaries  |  Probate List  |  Service Lists

Note: some of the documents on this page are in PDF format. In order to view a PDF you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader Get Acrobat Reader

Birth, Marriage and Death Registers

British government registers, Church registers, Shanghai Municipal Council registers.


A draft combined list is here.


The SMC carried out five-yearly censuses from 1865 to 1935 but no personal data survives. The exception is the 1942 wartime census. Registers of part of this are in the US National Archives, RG263, Records of the Shanghai Municipal Police, File No. SMP N1437.


Scanned extracts from various published business and resident directories are being added to this new page on the site. Most of these focus on, or include, Shanghai.


Lists of allied civilian internees at selected camps in Shanghai (1943-45). These lists were developed by Chinese researchers at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, and concentrate on camps west of the Huangpu river, and there are some mis-transcriptions: Chapei Camp, Great Western Road Camp part 1, Great Western Road Camp part 2, Lincoln Avenue Camp, Lunghwa Camp part 1, Lunghwa Camp part 2, Lunghwa Camp part 3, Yu Yuen Road Camp, Zikawei Camp.


The North China Herald contains shipping lists, obituaries, articles on retirements, notes on weddings and inquests, as well as birth, marriage and death notices. Copies of this newspaper (which was indexed on a quarterly basis) are available at the following libraries: University of Cambridge; Bodleian Oxford University; School of Oriental and African Studies; British Library; Library of Congress.


The North China Daily News which usually survives in libraries in the form of its indexed, weekly edition the North China Herald - contains many obituaries, wedding reports, birth, marriage and death notices etc. See newspapers.

Probate Lists

The PRO holds just under 4,000 probate files for China coast residents, from 1857 to 1941. Lists of these are available here. You can also search the FO 917 series through the PRO Catalogue, PROCAT.

Service Lists

Shanghai Municipal Council, Shanghai Municipal Police.