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Index to CO129 (1842-1926)

Dr. E. Y. Y. Sinn


Centre of Asian Studies

The Index

The purpose of this computerized index is to facilitate scholars in their use of the Great Britain. Colonial Office. Series 129 (Original Correspondence: Hong Kong). The series, covering the period from 1842 to 1951, has become the basic reference material for research on Hong Kong history. Between 1842 and 1926, there are 35,211 despatches in 498 volumes, consisting 269,051 pages of documents. In the past, scholars using the series have been handicapped by the absence of an easy finding tool: the Index is designed as a key to open up this very rich body of material. The original CO129 documents are deposited in the Public Record Office, Kew. They are also available on microfilm. In Hong Kong, microfilm copies are held by the Hong Kong University Libraries, the Chinese University Library and the Hong Kong Public Records Office.

The operation of the Index is based on the use of keywords and is extremely user-friendly.

The Index was completed in 1997 and reproduced for distribution by the History Department, University of Hong Kong. So far, key universities such as Harvard, Oxford and Tokyo have bought copies for their libraries. The project has received very favourable comments from RGC reviewers.

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Basic Operating Principle

The operation of the Index is based on the use of keywords. These are taken from individual despatches and stored in the present database with proper identification. There are three search methods:

1. Wild Search

2. Aided Search

3. Direct Search

Apart from using the keywords, the user may also use the year to define the scope of the search. One single year or a period from one year to another may be selected.

Search Results

Search results will appear after the keyword(s) are selected. Each result shows eleven fields of data, namely, the volume reference number in the series (e.g. CO 129/5), the page reference, date of the despatch, sender, addressee, title of the despatch, keyword(s) selected, number of enclosures, the description of the enclosure(s) and the microfilm reel number of the film in the Hong Kong University holding and in the Public Records Office of Hong Kong.

An extension of the Index to 1951 has been completed in 2000 by the same author. And the Index is available for the general public on a web page at HKU Library.