How to find your ROOTS (Your Ancestors), PIO
The Immigrant Number is a sine qua non and one imperatively needs to possess it in order to begin any search and to obtain further information thereon.
The numbering system initially began as from 1843 but was only regularised in 1847. This process of allocating the Immigrant Number continued until 1910.
Searching for the Immigrant Number
A quick way of tracing your ancestors is to go back to the most important written sources which include the birth, marriage and death certificates found at the C.S.O. (Civil Status Office) as well as notaries' deeds at the R.G.O (Registrar General Office). The Immigrant Number is mentioned on one of these documents. We take recourse to notarised deeds in cases where children of immigrants born out of wedlock have not been declared by the father but have held the mother's name and consent. In these documents, notaries have systematically mentioned the Immigrant Number as a means of identification so as to avoid confusion with someone else bearing the same name.
Steps to be followed to trace your ancestors
If you are not in possession of any of these aforementioned documents, it is advisable to start acquiring documents related to your patriarchal lineage in chronological order as per a following schema.
People of Indian Origin (PIO) Card
Any Mauritian of Indian Origin in quest of People of Indian Origin (PIO) Card must imperatively get a certified document of their ancestral arrival either from: MGI, National Archives and Passport Office.
- Mahatma Gandhi Institute Immigration Archive
Those whose ancestors have embarked as indentured labourers between 1842 and 1910 must contact MGI Immigration Archives for a certified document provided relevant documents and information required are submitted.
Those whose ancestors came to the island of Mauritius as free Indian Immigrants between 1826 and 1902 must contact the National Archives (click on roots N.A). For further information contact
Those whose ancestors arrived in Mauritius after 1902 must contact the Passport Office for required relevant documents – date of arrival, passport if any, and passport number or any other documents testifying this arrival.
Free Indian Immigrants
Free Indian Immigrants arriving between 1826 – 1902 can retrieve information about their ancestors' arrival in the registers containing lists of passengers in the custody of the National Archives. Like other holdings of the National Archives, these Registers are open to consultation. The National Archives has prepared references instruments in the form of index card, inventories and repertories.
However any research concerning the arrival of passengers in Mauritius, the searcher must basically possess the following information:
Non-Indentured Indians in Mauritius
- Identification number of the passenger found on the birth certificate of the children of the passenger or any other travelling documents like Certificate of Arrival at port OR Passport.
- Appropriate year of his arrival.
- Immigrants arriving after 1902 can retrieve information about their ancestors at the Passport Office in the records passenger lists inwards.
Research dealing with the arrival of immigrants in Mauritius has generally focused on indentured Indians. However, it is equally important to bring to the fore other Indians who came to Mauritius on their own. In fact, they were not indentured as they did not form part of the influx of controlled immigration and unlike the indentured Indians, they did not benefit from a free passage from India to Mauritius and back. Moreover, the non-indentured Indians came to Mauritius without signing any contract. They paid their passage themselves and were known as passengers to differentiate them from the indentured Indians. These passengers were rarely employed as labourers for most of them mainly engaged in free trade.
After their arrival in Mauritius, the passenger number was attached to their name for identification purposes. Divided in two parts by a slash, the first part of the number appears to be a serial number while the second one corresponds to the year in which they were remitted an identification certificate. For example, 346/93 includes the figure 346 which is the number of the certificate allocated to the passenger while 93 denotes the year when the certificate was issued despite of the fact that the passenger came on 9 July 1872.