A Dracup dynasty is founded in India

This post is about the formation of a Dracup dynasty in Nineteenth Century India.

It updates some of the material in a previous post – Dracups emigrate to…India (April 2016) – correcting errors and adding further detail derived from subsequent research.

More specifically, it:

  • Revisits some details in the life of Isaac Dracup (c.1770-1835), the founder of the dynasty, including the identities of his five children.
  • Reviews the family and working lives of Isaac’s two sons William (b.1820) and Isaac (1823-1812), placing them in historical and geographical context.
  • Describes briefly the lives of their known children, reserving for a subsequent post a fuller treatment of some of the leading lights in this next generation, including Edwin Arthur (1846-1909), Charles Stuart (1847-1901), Richard Henry (1853-1921), Samuel Spooner (1855-1909), John (Jack) Wright Sandford (1857-1911), Herbert Percy (1863-1938) and Isaac (1864-1913).

There are still obvious gaps in this evidence base and different sources do not always coincide exactly. I extend an open invitation to readers to contribute additional information for the benefit of all those researching the Dracup family.

Photographs of any of the people mentioned here would be particularly welcome.


Nineteenth Century India

It helps to know a little about the political organisation of Nineteenth Century India, but this is highly complex.

In the first half of the Nineteenth Century British interests in India were still overseen by the East India Company, but the influence of the British Government was increasing.

Mid-century India was divided into four administrative divisions: the Presidencies of Bombay and Madras (each centred on those respective cities), the Presidency of Bengal, based in Calcutta, and the North Western Provinces (governed latterly from Agra).

In the wake of the 1857 Rebellion the East India Company’s remaining powers were transferred to the Government, which administered these four regions of what had become known as British India.

There were also several Princely States governed by local rulers but operating as Crown dependencies or protectorates. The Crown managed relationships with these states through associated political agencies.

Initially the presidencies incorporated new territories into themselves, administering them as part of the whole. These became known as Regulation Provinces. But some later acquisitions were managed separately, as Non-regulation Provinces, though still constituting part of their parent Presidency.

Gradually provinces superseded presidencies as the preferred unit of governance. By the end of the Nineteenth Century there were eight major provinces – including the former presidencies of Bombay, Madras and Bengal – and five minor provinces.

This map (click to enlarge) shows the organisation of India as it was in 1850. The mauve sections are British presidencies and possessions; the pale green sections are protectorates and the pale yellow sections retain independence.



The Bombay Presidency consisted of four divisions: Central Division, Northern Division, Southern Division and Sind. Each division had a commissioner responsible to the governor of the Presidency.

Each division was divided into several districts and each district was overseen by a collector who was also the chief magistrate. The collector was supported by a number of assistants who also combined revenue collection and magistracy.

At each district headquarters a Huzur deputy collector and magistrate provided support to the collector.

These maps (click to enlarge) show the Bombay Presidency as it was in 1909.




This more prosaic Google Map (click in the top right hand corner to enlarge) shows the principal locations referred to in this post and includes brief notes describing key events. I have colour coded the locations to show their relevance to Isaac the elder (red), William (blue) and Isaac the younger (green).



It is clear that, whereas the Dracup dynasty was founded in Madras, it was concentrated subsequently in the Bombay Presidency.

But, particularly by the third generation, many family members were geographically mobile, moving frequently between different parts of the Presidency and occasionally elsewhere in the sub-continent.


Isaac the elder’s military service

My earlier post outlined what we know about Isaac from military records accessible online.

He was born in Bradford in the early 1770s, most probably in 1772. I cannot link him definitively to a Bradford family, but one possibility is that he was an (illegitimate?) son of John Muff, a comber.

Originally a stonemason by trade, he joined the 95th Regiment of Foot on 24 July 1794 in his early twenties. When that regiment was disbanded in 1796 he joined the 84th Regiment of Foot.

We know a little about what he looked like, since he is described in the military records as 5 feet 10 inches tall with dark brown hair, grey eyes and a dark complexion.

The 84th Foot was sent to India in October 1798. Initially stationed in Madras, it had moved to Bombay by 1807. It took part in the capture of Mauritius in 1810 and on return to India was stationed in Bangalore. It helped recapture Kurnool in 1815 and took part in the Pindari War of 1817, eventually returning to England in 1819.

Isaac is recorded as being part of a company led by Captain Matthew Burns at the Trichinopoly Muster (December 1814 to January 1815) though absent undertaking ‘Dutys’.

These might have been domestic since Isaac’s daughter Deborah was born at Trichinopoly – about 200 miles from Madras – on 18 January 1815, proving that Isaac’s wife accompanied him there.

Isaac was discharged from the 84th Foot on 22 June 1819, a week before his company embarked for England on a ship called the Lady Nugent. The discharge is signed by Matthew Burns.

It is unclear whether Isaac returned briefly to England or remained in India throughout. At first I suspected the former, but the birth dates of his children now make that unlikely.

He was admitted as a Chelsea Pensioner on 7 February 1821, but the records suggest he was an ‘out-pensioner’ resident in India. He appears in Pensioner records until 1827. His only recorded debility is ‘rheumatism’.

We know from a Notice in the Government Gazette, dated 18 November 1830, that Isaac had established an undertakers’ business by this time. The premises are located on Sooncaramah Street in Madras, ‘facing the Esplanade’.

This places it in the George Town area, in the vicinity of Fort St George.

The Notice informs readers that ‘I Dracup and Co’ will henceforth also manufacture ‘Camp Furniture &c. on moderate terms’.

Isaac Dracup undertakers Capture

However, this endeavour was short-lived. In a further Notice, published in December 1831, Isaac announced that he had sold his business to a Mr John Hall.

Isaac the elder’s family

We know that Isaac’s first wife was called Angeline or Angelina and that she was born in 1782, making her some 10 years Isaac’s junior. I could find no record of the marriage. Deborah is the first child whose birth is recorded.

Angeline died in Madras at the age of 51 and was buried in St Mary’s Church on March 17 1833. The burial record describes her as a ‘native woman’ and ‘late wife of Isaac Dracup, pensioner, aged 51 years of John Pereiras’.

This is part of the City, named after a garden originally established by a 17th Century Portuguese merchant. It subsequently developed a questionable reputation, though a chapel was built there in 1831 and it eventually became the location of Madras Central Station.

A year later, in April 1834, Isaac remarried in Black Town Chapel in Madras. The ceremony was conducted by R.A. Denton, Chaplain at the St. Thomas Garrison Church.


View of Black Town Madras c.1851
View of Black Town Madras c.1851


Isaac’s second wife, Ann Sear (or Lear), was born in 1803. Although some 30 years’ his junior, she was already a widow. She is described on the marriage record as ‘Indo Briton’. Ann also died in Madras, but not until October 1879. I could find no record of any children fathered by Isaac.

My earlier post suggested that Isaac might not be the sole progenitor of the Indian Dracup dynasty, that one Emanuel Dracup might also be involved.

But Isaac’s will proves that the children I had formerly attributed to Emanuel were in fact Isaac’s – and I can find no further evidence to support Emanuel’s existence.

The attribution of these children to Isaac points to him remaining in India when his regiment returned home. Angeline would not have accompanied him back to England, so he had to be present in India for them to conceive a child as early as July 1820 (see below).

Isaac was buried in Madras on 14 November 1835. The burial service took place in St Mary’s Church in Fort St. George, Madras on 14 November, the ceremony again performed by R. A. Denton. The burial record says he was aged 65, which places his birth in 1770.


St. Mary's Church, Madras
St. Mary’s Church, Madras


Isaac’s will appears to have been written shortly before his death and was proved before the Madras Court two weeks afterwards

It describes Isaac as an inhabitant of the city of Madras but indicates that his house is located in ‘Poondamalee’. This is almost certainly Poonamallee, a nearby garrison town where many retired soldiers chose to live.

A contemporary description by one Captain Hervey, a younger serving officer, observes:

‘Poonamullee [sic] is much frequented by old pensioned European soldiers: there are many of them residing within the limits of the depot, in cottages neatly laid out, with small gardens in front of them. The scenes which sometimes occur among them of drunkenness and debauchery are disgraceful in the extreme, and show but a bad example to the young and raw soldiery…The old men only teach the young lads bad habits; they put them up to all kinds of mischief, and do them otherwise much harm.’ (From ‘Ten years in India; or, The life of a young officer’ by Albert Henry A. Hervey, 1850)

Isaac leaves instructions that his property and effects should be disposed of by his chosen executors, Thomas Ritchie and John Hughes Taylor.

The proceeds, together with any money left after paying his outstanding debts, should be divided equally ‘share and share alike’ between his wife Ann, his two daughters Deborah (b. 1815) and Mariane (1817-1837) and his two sons William (b.1820) and Isacke (1823-1912).

Intriguingly, the will adds:

‘I also give and bequeath unto my daughter Eliza Wilkinson the sum of one hundred rupees to be paid to her for her bad conduct, and disrespect for the last five years.’

The exchange rate at the time was two rupees to the pound. A sum of £50 in 1830 was a not inconsiderable sum, but one assumes that the proceeds enjoyed by the other five would have been significantly more substantial.

I have been unable to discover anything further about Eliza Wilkinson. An Indo-Briton girl by that name was married in Madras in October 1831, to ‘William Longworth, Rough Rider, 1st Horse Brigade Artillery’, but there is nothing connecting her with Isaac.

Eliza’s surname suggests she is either married or illegitimate – and the treatment meted out to her suggests she is already an adult.  It therefore seems likely that she was born before the other children and probably to a different mother.

None of the other children has yet attained their majority (age 21) so the will appoints the two executors as their guardians. The daughters are to inherit their shares on marriage; the sons on attaining their majority, or sooner at the guardians’ discretion.

The mark produced by Isaac in place of a signature to the will is a sorry scribble, suggesting that he was probably illiterate and/or very ill by this time, or else had been severely disabled by rheumatism.




Deborah and Mary Ann (aka Mariane) both married within two years of their father’s death, so releasing their inheritances.

Mary Ann married Robert Ritchie, described on his birth record as executor Thomas’s Ritchie’s illegitimate son. But five weeks later she was dead, buried at the tender age of ‘20 years and 20 days’, so her share of Isaac’s property presumably passed to her husband.

Deborah married Antony Brown in Dharwar, in the Southern division of the Bombay Presidency, in October 1837. Antony is described as ‘clerk to political agent L H C Broholes (?)’

Deborah had at least two children and the family are known to have been resident in Poona in 1847. Poona (now Pune) was a city in the Central Division of Bombay Presidency, about 120 miles south-east of Bombay.

A widow of the same name and born in the same year died in Poona in 1910 at the age of 95.

The other executor, John Hughes Taylor, had married in 1834 and is described in the marriage record as a writer. Later records refer to him as a school master of Secunderabad.


William Dracup (b.1820)

Isaac senior’s elder son William Archibald Somerset Dracup was born on 13 July 1820 and baptised in St Mary’s Church, Madras on 29 January 1821.

He married on 11 November 1844. Allen’s Indian Mail of 1845 announces the marriage:

‘Dracup W.A.S. to Johanna, widow of the late sub conductor Knighton, ord. dep., at the entrenched camp Hyderabad’.

The marriage record shows that Johanna, though a widow, is still a minor, which places her birth after 1823. Johanna’s father is given a single name which is hard to read but might be ‘Jachin’. Both parties reside in ‘Hydrabad’.She is illiterate.

William is employed as a clerk in the commissariat office/department. The commissariat was an army department responsible for the procurement of supplies.  Commissariat clerks were not attached to a specific regiment.

The reference to an entrenched camp points to the location being Hyderabad in the Sind division of the Bombay Presidency, now in modern-day Pakistan. The marriage took place some 18 months after the Battle of Hyderabad in March 1843.


Hyderabad Fort
Hyderabad Fort


A man called William Knighton – a corporal in the ordnance department – had married a Johanna Roza (?) in Bombay in 1838. Johanna Dracup’s death certificate suggests she was born in 1826, so calling into question whether this is indeed the same person, but it seems likely.

Someone called William Knighton, aged 38, had been buried in Hyderabad on 15 September 1844. He might also be Johanna’s first husband, though remarriage within two months of his death would surely be considered indecently hasty.


William and Johanna’s family

My family tree includes a total of 10 children born to William and Johanna between 1846 and 1869 (though, as discussed below, there is provisionally a further son). Fuller details of his life and of the lives of three other sons – Charles Stuart, Samuel Spooner and Isaac – are reserved for my next post.

The list of definite children in order of birth includes:

  • James John (a.k.a. Isaac John) b. 10 July 1846 and baptised on 6 August. The family is residing at ‘Mahomed Khan Ka tanda’. There are references to ‘Mahomed Khan’s tanda’ (and Aly-yar-ka tanda) in the Indian Mail of 1844 showing that regiments were posted there. It is known today as Tando Muhammad Khan and is located 20 miles south-east of Hyderabad. I could find nothing else about the eldest son.
  • Charles Stuart (1847-1901) born in Poona on October 2 1847. The same page of baptism records mentions the birth of a daughter, Caroline Mary, to Antony and Deborah Brown (see above).
  • Antoine Isaac (1849-1849) born on 10 September 1849 in Dharwar, he died just 16 days later in Poona.
  • Edward William (1850-1911) born on 3 November 1850 in Dharwar, he was baptised on March 16 1851. Edward married Cecilia Mercy Lucas between 1901 and 1905. He died in Lahore in January 1911, the record stating that he worked for the traffic department of the North Western Railway.
  • (Mary) Isabella Angelina (1853-1868) was born on 2 April 1853 in Poona but died of ‘brain fever’ at the age of 15, on 13 December 1868.
  • Samuel Spooner (1855-1909) was born on 3 July 1855 in Belgaum in the Southern Division of Bombay Presidency.
  • Frederick Thomas Browning (a.k.a.Thomas Frederick (1859-1877) was born on 19 November 1859 in Broach, in the Northern Division of the Bombay Presidency. He died of cholera at the age of 17 on 22 March 1877. At the time he was employed as a ticket collector at Shahabad, but which town of this name is uncertain.
  • Deborah Sybil (b. 1861) was born on 29 November 1861 in Byculla, a suburb of Bombay, and was baptised there in March 1862. She married Henry Nicholson in 1894 and they had six sons.
  • Isaac (1864-1913) was born on 20 March 1864 in Colaba, just to the South of Bombay, and was baptised there on 25 May.
  • Winifred Maud (1869-1937) was born on 28 August 1869 in Sonapore, another Bombay suburb. She had an illegitimate child, Wilfred Richard, born on 29 August 1891 and baptised on 10 October in Girgaum, elsewhere in Bombay. The father is not identified. Winifred died in 1937 in Lahore, when her occupation is given as children’s nurse. I have found no further information about her or Wilfred.


European man in a sedan, Bombay (before 1860) by William Johnson
European man in a sedan, Bombay (before 1860) by William Johnson


Reconstructing William’s career and later life

William had a chequered career, characterised by frequent changes of role and location though based consistently in the Bombay Presidency.  He never progressed beyond head clerk.

The details below are drawn from the baptism and death records of his children and from various editions of the Bombay Almanac.


Year Age Location Post
1844 23 Hyderabad, Sind Clerk, commissariat department
1846 25 Mahomed Khan’s Tanda, Sind Writer, collector’s office
1847 26 Poona Clerk
1849 28 Dharwar Clerk, engineer’s office
1851 30 Dharwar Head clerk, superintendent, revenue survey office
1853 32 Dharwar? Head clerk, revenue survey, Southern Maratha Country (SMC)
1855 34 Belgaum Head clerk, [superintendent], Inam commission, [I.D.]*
1856 35 Belgaum Clerk, Inam commissioner’s office
1859 38 Broach Inspector, Government electric telegraph department
1860 39 Broach? 3rd class inspector in telegraph department, salary 100 rupees
1861 40 Broach Acting 3rd class inspector, electric telegraph department
1862 41 Bombay Audit clerk
1863 42 Small Colaba, Bombay Audit clerk, Consulting engineer secretariat Railway
1864 43 Colaba, Bombay Auditor of railway account, Government secretariat
1865 44 Lower Colaba, Bombay Audit clerk, Consulting engineer for railways office secretariat
1868 47 Colaba, Bombay Head clerk, secretariat
1868 47 Colaba, Bombay Assistant to consulting engineer for railways secretariat

* The role of an Inam commission was essentially to investigate and determine land ownership. This could be highly contentious and the confiscation of estates is sometimes identified as one cause of the 1857 rebellion.


Johanna died on 7 November 1869 in Colaba, a couple of months after Winifred’s birth. I have not found her burial record. On 16 August 1869 William Dracup, described as a pensioner, petitioned for insolvency in Bombay. His location is given as ‘In Cavel-street without the fort’.

William is known to have remarried, since a Matilda Dracup, described as ‘Widow of William Dracup, late head clerk Revenue Survey Office’ died aged 68 in Dharwar in January 1897.

I have not discovered the marriage record or anything more of her history. William’s death is recorded in The Homeward Mail from India, China and the East as occurring on November 13 1875, his age given correctly as 55.


Street in Bombay in the 1860s
Street in Bombay in the 1860s


Isaac Dracup (1823-1912)

Isaac’s second son, also called Isaac, was born on 28 September 1823 in Madras and baptised in St Mary’s Church on 24 November that year.

He married on 19 December 1842, some two years before his elder brother William. The bride, Angeline (or Angelica Bella) Carvalho, was aged 15, so born in 1827.

Angeline’s father is recorded as Domingas Carvalho and he is one of the witnesses. Another is Isaac’s sister Deborah Browne (see above).

This record gives Isaac’s age as 21 but he was in fact only 19. He is already a head clerk with the revenue survey department, a level not attained by his brother much before the age of 30.

The ceremony took place within the Chaplaincy of Belgaum, but both parties are listed as resident in Dharwar. This map shows Dharwar as it was in 1855.




Isaac and Angelina’s family

My family tree includes 15 children attributed to Isaac and Angeline – nine girls and six boys – born over a 30-year span from 1843 to 1872. Fuller details of the lives of sons Edwin Arthur, Richard Henry and Herbert Percy are in my next post.

The full list includes, in order of birth:

  • Angelina Sophia (a.k.a. Sophia Angelina) (1843-1929), born on 11 November 1843 and baptised on 24 December in the Chaplaincy of Belgaum, both parents continuing to reside at Dharwar. On 28 March 1866 she married George Brunell (1837-1887) a serjeant in the public works department at Malcolm Peth, now Mahabaleshwar, a hill station and the summer capital of the Bombay Presidency. One of the witnesses is cousin Sybil Brown, a daughter of Antony and Deborah (see above). Another is Marian Carvalho, presumably an aunt or cousin on the mother’s side. George died of hepatitis in 1887 and is buried in Sewri Cemetery in Bombay. Angelina survived until 1929. She died in Poona, the burial record stating she was 82 years old, of Anglo-Indian origin and a patient at the central mental hospital. The cause of death is senility. I could find no record of children.
  • Edwin Arthur (1846-1909) was born in Dharwar on 7 January 1846 and baptised on 23 March.
  • William Isaac (1847-1919) was born on 30 September 1847 and baptised on 24 October at Dharwar. He is most likely to be the person of that name in the 1863 Bombay Almanac employed as a clerk by the Great Indian Peninsular Railway. His location is given as Egutpoora, now Igatpuri in Maharashtra. Otherwise all I could find was a burial record dated 30 March 1919. William is buried in Poona and described on his death as unemployed. The cause of death is ‘syncope and senility’.
  • Emma Blanche (b.1849) was born on 2 March and baptised on 9 April 1849 in Belgaum. She married Alexander Henry Mackenzie (1850-1904), an assistant engineer with the Barwar (?) state railway. He died in April 1904, when serving as an engineer on the Southern Mahratta Railway and is buried at Gadag, 40 miles East of Dharwar. They apparently had many children, though some are attributed to a mother called Amy Blanche rather than Emma Blanche, though this is probably the same person. I could not find a burial record for Emma.
  • Mary Ann (1850-1852) was born on 11 December 1850 in Belgaum and baptised on 19 February 1851. She died at the age of 18 months and was buried at Poona on 28 July 1852.
  • Ellen Selivia (1852-1931) was born on July 26 1852 in Poona, immediately before the burial of her elder sister, and baptised on 13 October. She died on 9 March 1901 at the age of 79. The burial record describes her as Anglo-Indian and ‘sister-in-law of Foreman Pandharpur’.
  • Richard Henry (1853-1921) was born on 6 November 1853 and baptised on 4 January 1854 in Poona.
  • Deborah Browne (1857-1857) was born on 29 July 1857 in Poona but, according to the record, baptised on 3 July. It seems likely that the birth date is actually 29 June. She died of convulsions on August 10 1857.
  • Alice Edith (b.1858) was born on 22 November 1858 and baptised on 16 March 1859 in Poona. On December 28 1886 she married Frederick Lakeland Clifford (1861-1941) whose employment at the time was ‘Inspector Abkari Department’. The ceremony took place in St Mary’s Church Poona. I found details of three sons born between 1887 and 1892. Alice died in Poona on Christmas Day 1947 at the age of 89, the cause of death given as senility.
  • Millicent Rose (b.1860) was born on 7 September and baptised on 12 December in Poona. On 14 October 1897 she married one Alexander Albert Ancill, a sergeant in Poona’s ‘punitive police’ in St Mary’s Church Poona. I could find no details of their lives subsequently. The punitive police were introduced to Poona in 1897 following an assassination of a lieutenant returning from a party to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee.
  • Mabel Agnita (1862-1933) was born on 3 January and baptised on 22 January in Sattara, in the Central Division of the Bombay Presidency. She married William Henry Cook on June 24 1901 in Poona and died in Bangalore a widow on May 10 1933. Her will identifies an adopted daughter, Joan.
  • Herbert Percy (1863-1938) was born on 27 October and baptised on 20 December in Dharwar.
  • George Reginald Gardiner (1866-1866) was born on 5 January and baptised on 31 January in Sattara. He died on 4 February the same year of convulsions.
  • Walter Brunell (1867-1883) was born on 22 February and baptised on 19 May 1867 in Tanna (alt. Thana) 20 miles north of Bombay. He drowned at the age of 16 and was buried at Poona on 22 April 1883.
  • Effie Mary (b.1872) was born on 31 March and baptised on 18 May at Dharwar, but I can find no further details.


British family outside their house 1875
British family outside their house 1875


Isaac’s career and later life

My previous post quoted the entry for Isaac in the 1877 Bombay Civil List. The table below uses that as the default, but adds further detail from his children’s records.


Year Age Location Post
1841 17 Dharwar Appointed clerk, revenue survey, Southern Mahratta Country, 7 September
1842 19 Dharwar Head clerk, revenue survey department
1846 23 Dharwar Head clerk Inam commission
1847 24 Dharwar Translator to the Inam commission
1851 27 Belgaum Appointed Sub-assistant Inam commissioner, 15 April
1855 31 Poona Appointed Assistant Inam Commissioner, 10 February
1861 37 Poona Appointed Assistant Settlement Officer, 8 April
1862 38 Dharwar Appointed Huzur Deputy Collector and Magistrate 1st class (old scale), 8 April
1864 40 Ratnagiri Appointed Huzur Deputy Collector and Magistrate, 30 March
1864 40 Sattara Appointed Huzur Deputy Collector and Magistrate, 11 May
1866 42 Medical leave 20 February to 21 May
1866 42 Tanna Appointed Huzur Deputy Collector and magistrate 2nd class (old scale), 24 April
1868 44 Dharwar Appointed Huzur Deputy Collector and Magistrate, 1 June
1869 45 Dharwar Appointed Huzur Deputy Collector and Magistrate 3rd grade (new scale), 18 August
1874 50 Dharwar Appointed Deputy Collector 2nd grade, 30 October
1883 59 Poona Civil pensioner


The table shows some similarities between Isaac’s early employment and William’s, in that both worked for the revenue survey and the Inam commission, the latter briefly alongside each other in Belgaum. But Isaac was the more senior even though three years younger.

He was briefly a settlement officer, with responsibility for assessing land revenues, but spent the later part of his career as a Huzur deputy collector and magistrate. The 1868 Bombay Almanac indicates that such officials were uncovenanted civil servants, earning between 300 and 500 rupees per month.

Despite his comparative success, Isaac followed his brother William in petitioning for insolvency. His petition is dated 6 February 1895, his place of residence in Bombay is given as ‘Colaba without the fort’ and under ‘profession or occupation’ it says:

‘A Government Pensioner and also formerly carried on business in partnership with Govind Kakaji Demute and Dada Hanmunt Dane as a Railway Contractor in the Dharwar District.’

This suggests he embarked on a business venture after his official retirement, presumably with relatively little success.

Isaac’s wife Angeline died of heart disease on 20 November 1899 and is buried in Poona. Isaac outlived her by more than a decade, eventually succumbing at the age of 89 to a brain haemorrhage. He died on 2 October 1912 and buried the following day at St. Sepulchre’s Cemetery in Poona.


A strangely posed picture of a British family in India, date unknown
A strangely posed picture of a British family in India, date unknown


A footnote on the third generation

The next post in this series will draw together the information I have about the seven men identified above, all born between 1846 and 1864, who followed in the footsteps of their fathers, Isaac and William.

There is, unfortunately, one glaring lacuna in this generation of the dynasty, since I cannot as yet substantiate the parentage of the most prominent of this third generation – John (Jack) Wright Sandford Dracup (1857-1911).

His entry in the 1915 edition of the Indian Biographical Dictionary tells us that he was born at Surat, a district in the Bombay Presidency’s Northern Division just to the south of Broach. A list of Bombay Gazetted Civil Servants from 1899 gives his date of birth as 6 November 1857.

John married into the same family as one of Isaac’s daughters. That is not in itself an argument placing him on one side of the family or the other, though the standing of his wife’s family and his subsequent success suggest that he could not have been illegitimate.

None of Isaac’s or William’s other male children would have been old enough to have fathered him. Moreover, Isaac’s wife gave birth to a daughter in July 1857, making it impossible for her to be John’s mother – and Isaac’s family was located in Poona at this time.

Whereas William had moved north to Broach, much closer to Surat, at some point after 1856 and, unusually, no child’s birth is recorded for he and Johanna between Samuel Spooner in July 1855 and Frederick Thomas Browning in November 1859.

On these grounds I provisionally attribute John Wright Sandford to William’s side of the family, but if you have evidence to the contrary, do please let me know.

At present then, I have the first three generations of the dynasty as shown in the chart below (please click to enlarge).




January 2017


One thought on “A Dracup dynasty is founded in India

  1. Hi Tim,
    Found this last night, my wifes 3xgt grandfather was Issac Dracup would like to get in touch with you.


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