What does "H.M.C." stand for in the following entry in the Sands Directory Street Index for Balmain, New South Wales, in 1890?

Scan of entry with text Gill Henry, H.M.C.

Henry Gill was about 64 at that time. He had owned and run a carting business in Grafton, NSW, but retired from that and moved to Balmain. I thought he was probably retired at the time of the directory. He was somewhat well off, having owned several properties in Grafton.

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    Where did you access the directory? Can you browse back to the beginning of the directory and read the abbreviations page? Is he listed in the alphabetical listings? Have you searched newspapers on Trove? This question could be improved by telling us what efforts you've already made to get more information.
    – Jan Murphy
    Jan 24, 2021 at 9:33
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    @MickA It's really useful to include your prior research effort in the question itself. It saves us having to go over all those things ourselves and we can get right to thinking about things you haven't tried yet.
    – Jan Murphy
    Jan 24, 2021 at 19:56
  • @MickA What we can do is edit the question to make it more generally useful. I would like to include more information on your research effort into the question and then people could answer generally on how to figure out abbreviations when the abbreviations aren't available in the directory or book you're using.
    – Jan Murphy
    Jan 25, 2021 at 3:41

1 Answer 1


I suspect that in 1890 H.M. may be Her Majesty's but C. might be Customs, Commissioner, Cutter or something else.

The asker commented:

I found Sands dir's in Ancestry. Found no list of abbr'ns there. I searched Trove newspapers for Henry Gill. Found other names in Sands with "HMC" and searched Trove for their names hoping to see what HMC means. Looked in Govt gazettes on Trove for Customs Dept staff appointments. I found there a Henry Gill on Customs Dept staff around the same time, though no guarantee it's same person. There wasn't much alignment of Customs apptmts to Sands HMC entries.

I looked for lists of abbreviations for Sands directories without success too.

I think the asker finding a Henry Gill amongst Customs Department staff around the same time as the Sands directory entry makes a good case for H.M.C. being an abbreviation for Her Majesty's Customs.

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