There are some very useful resources freely available online to look through relating to Hong Kong.


1. The first is the Carl T. Smith Collection online index. You can search this here. This is run by the Hong Kong Public Record Office. Until recently, however, this did not link to digital versions of the original nearly 140,000 index cards themselves due to Hong Kong privacy laws. The cards contain information about residents not only in the former British colony, but across China. The catalogue does now allow you to view cards, but they are small in size, and the search results are often very numerous.


2. The cards are also online and freely available through FamilySearch (registration needed). However, these are image files only, they cannot be searched. You can reasonably easily navigate around them to find individual cards. If you follow this link to cards containing details on ‘Europeans – China Coast’, you will find this broken into five parts alphabetically arranged. Clicking on the camera icon on the right takes you to the images. For example ‘From Cany to Henrickson’ contains 10,027 images. To find ‘Drummond’, for example, try going to image 3,000 and then adjust from there.


These cards contain notes from newspapers, directories, jury lists, probate records and more. In general they contain the key information you might be looking for. The sources themselves will often tell you more. Some abbreviations used include: CM (China Mail), DP (Hong Kong Daily Press), HKT (Hong Kong Telegraph).


More widely, FamilySearch also includes other digitalised materials from Hong Kong including a substantial collection of cemetery registers (this link takes you to a choice of four further links to different parts of the territory). Like the Carl Smith cards these are not searchable, and you need to navigate your way to the likely looking file and page through the images.


3. Old Hong Kong newspapers. This is the online, open to all, Hong Kong Libraries platform for its digitised newspapers. This is both a rich resource and a terrible platform. Rich because it holds a large number and wide range of newspapers in English and Chinese; terrible because it cannot be searched efficiently, images cannot be downloaded, and it is very inefficient to navigate. However, you can look for dates reasonably easily, and search terms may pick up words in article titles (but not text).


4. Gwulo: Old Hong Kong is a useful platform, containing a great deal of visual material, transcriptions of jury lists and church registers, as well as notes provided by readers.


5. The Hong Kong Heritage Project has good resources and suggestions.


6. The Directories list available on China Families also includes coverage of Hong Kong.