There are some very useful resources freely available online to look through relating to Shanghai.
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. However, this does 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. In addition, Smith recorded details of individuals who had moved to Shanghai from China in the years after the communist takeover.
2. The cards are online and freely available through FamilySearch (registration needed). However, these are image files only, they cannot be searched. You can reasonably easily enough 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 other public domain sources. 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). Hong Kong newspapers regularly published news items copied from Shanghai, Xiamen (Amoy) and other newspapers.
3. The Directories list available on China Families includes coverage of Shanghai.
4. There is some material in the Virtual Shanghai platform, including digitised books and journals.