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= USING BRITISH MERCHANT MARINE RECORDS  =
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Return to the [[England Merchant Marine]] page.
  
'''By Phillip Dunn, Sr. Consultant, A.G.®, APG'''
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= USING BRITISH MERCHANT MARINE RECORDS & THEIR INDEXES  =
  
Research in British Merchant Maritime records is a formidable task as records lie in various records repositories. However, the vast majority of the records concerning the average “rating” or seaman are housed at The National Archives at Ruskin Avenue, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, UK. Some are held at the County Record Office (CRO’s) and libraries such as the Liverpool Library (see below); some are even available through the Newfoundland Maritime History Group which has also indexed many of their records; some are held at the Maritime Museum at Greenwich, Kent, UK.  
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See article published in ''The Journal of the International Society for British Genealogy and Family History'', April-June 2010 Journal volume 11 , Issue [no.] 2, page 13. at your family history society reading room, local university, college or genealogical research library, or, [http://www.isbgfh.org/bc.htm subscribe to their outstanding Journal and society, here] and receive 'helps' in almost every aspect of British genealogical research records and procedures.  
  
The following points regarding the use of and researching in both indexes and original merchant marine records will be valuable and helpful as you seek to find your Merchant seaman ancestor. Indexes, which are almost always valuable for “finding” ancestry in records, are especially helpful in cases when researching merchant marine ancestry. By following up any indexed references found, looking at the rich data from original maritime record sources will help you verify and trace your maritime ancestor and often times, a little about their families as well.
 
  
[Note: TNA = records held at The National Archives, Richmond, Surrey, UK; FHL = denotes Family History Library holdings in Salt Lake City, UT, USA].
 
  
=== <br>Indexes:  ===
 
  
• BT 114 Alphabetical Register of Seamen’s Tickets 1845-1854 TNA, FHL (see FHL #1502069)
 
  
• BT 98 records (Agreement &amp; Crew Lists from 1857-1860 TNA; are indexed (see FHL film #848097-on)
 
  
• Indexes to 1851 census for certain ports:
 
  
#Seaman's crewlists, PRO BT 98, 1851, men on vessels registered in the ports of Cornwall--Falmouth, Fowey, Padstow, Penzance, St. Ives, Scilly Isles and Truro
 
#Seaman's crewlists, PRO BT 98, 1851, men on vessels registered in the ports of Scotland South-East—Alloa ((Clackman.), Borrowstounness (Bo'ness, W. Lothianshire), Kirkcaldy (Fifeshire), Grangemouth (Stirlingsh.), Leith (Midlothianshire), and Perth
 
#Seaman's crewlists, PRO BT 98, 1851, men on vessels registered in the ports of Angus--Arbroath, Montrose, and Dundee
 
#Seaman's crewlists, PRO BT 98, 1851, men on vessels registered in the ports of Aberdeenshire--Aberdeen and Peterhead
 
  
• A general index to Crew Lists, 1863 to 1914 is on FHL fiche #6200101-6200115 &amp; 1913-1938 on fiche #6334929-6334930
 
  
• An index covering the years 1835 to 1857 by surname. But before and after these years, one must know the name of the ship
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[[Category:British Isles]]
 
 
• Merchant Marine births, and deaths indexes 1837-1965 on FHL fiche #6137189
 
 
 
• BT 119 is index to the BT 112 Registers of Seamens’ Services, covering the years 1835-1844 and contain a wealth of info; see FHL film #1483304
 
 
 
• Merchant Navy list of vessels and their masters and mates - 1861 FHL
 
 
 
Original Records Maritime records were the responsibility of the Board of Trade (BT) and are housed at TNA. The following TNA record series documents are critical to researching merchant marine records:
 
 
 
=== Masters and Captains:  ===
 
 
 
• BT 115 - Masters’ lists, contain alphabetical listing 1845-1854 (FHL #1562758)
 
 
 
• BT 120 - Register of Seamen series I from 1835-1836 (see FHL film #1483219)
 
 
 
• BT 112 - Register of Seamen, Series II from 1835-1844 (see FHL film #1502079)
 
 
 
• BT 113-BT114 - Register of seamen's tickets, 1845-1854 (BT 113) alphabetical register of seamen's tickets, 1845-1854 (BT 114) (see FHL film #1502069)
 
 
 
• BT 116 - Register of Seamen series III from 1853-1857 (see FHL film #1562727)
 
 
 
• 1837-1930 Marine Register Book - Births, TNA FHL (see FHL fiche #6137268)
 
 
 
• 1837-1965 Marine Register Book - Deaths, TNA FHL (see FHL fiche #6137189)
 
 
 
• 1839-1867 Index to Informal certificates of births at sea FHL (see FHL fiche #6137267)
 
 
 
• Certificates of Competency and Service of Masters and Mates, 1850-1888 - BT 121-127, all at TNA:
 
 
 
#Certificates of Competency of masters &amp; mates, Foreign Trade BT 122
 
#Certificates of Service of masters and mates 1850-1884, Foreign Trade BT 124
 
#Certificates of competency of masters and mates, Home Trade BT 125
 
#Certificates of service of masters and mates, Home Trade BT 126 1854-1888
 
#Certificates of competency of masters and mates of steamships Foreign Trade 1881-1895 – BT 123&nbsp;
 
#Certificates of competency of masters, mates, Colonial – BT 128 (indexed in BT 127)
 
#Certificates of competency of engineers, Colonial – BT 140 (indexed in BT 141)
 
#Indexes to all (see exception as noted) the above “Certificates” of service and competency are on BT 127. Note: The above five series form a single numerical sequence and the particular series in which the name entry falls determines which BT series to search for the original maritime record as follows:
 
 
 
&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; 1 to 34,999 (BT 122)
 
 
 
&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; 35,000 to 79,999 (BT 124)
 
 
 
&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; 81,000 to 99,999 (BT 122)
 
 
 
&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; 100,000 to 119,999 (BT 125)
 
 
 
&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; 120,000 to 135,453 (BT 126)
 
 
 
&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;0500 to 034,999 (BT 123)
 
 
 
&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;001 to 00,999 are in (BT 123)
 
 
 
&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Officer Name Index BT 127)
 
 
 
&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Colonial registers (BT 128 &amp; 140) are listed under colony and port; and numerical thereafter
 
 
 
&nbsp;&nbsp; 9. Certificates of competency and service, skippers and mates of fishing boats – BT 129, 130, &amp; 138 from about 1880-1908
 
 
 
&nbsp;&nbsp; 10. Index to Certificates of competency and service, skippers and mates of fishing boats is in BT 138
 
 
 
• 1852-1889 Registers of Wages and Effects of Deceased Seamen, BT 153, TNA
 
 
 
• 1853-1889 Indexes to Seamen's Names, BT 154, TNA
 
 
 
• 1854-1890 Registers of Births, Deaths and Marriages of Passengers at Sea, BT 158, TNA FHL
 
 
 
• 1855-1889 Indexes to Ships' Names, BT 155, TNA
 
 
 
• 1857-1972 Records of Marriages at Sea, RSS
 
 
 
• Register of deaths at sea of British nationals, 1875-1888--BT 159, TNA, FHL (see FHL film #1483314)
 
 
 
• 1875-1891 Registers of Births of British Nationals at Sea, BT 160, TNA FHL (see FHL film # 1483321)
 
 
 
• 1882-1888 Registers of Seamen's Deaths classified by cause, BT 157, TNA
 
 
 
• 1886-1890 Monthly Lists of Deaths of Seamen, BT 156, TNA
 
 
 
• 1891-1972 Registers and Indexes of Births, Marriages and Deaths of Passengers and Seamen at Sea, BT 334, TNA
 
 
 
• 1939-1946 Inquiries into causes of Deaths at Sea, RSS
 
 
 
• Agreement, Crew Lists Agreements, crew lists and muster rolls of merchant vessels registered at Irish sea ports 1850-1921&nbsp;: with card indexes, 1863-1921 (see FHL film #1952199)
 
 
 
• British Nationals births, marriages and deaths at sea 1854-1890 (see FHL film #1419469)
 
 
 
• Register of births at sea of British nationals, 1875-1891 (see FHL film #1483321)
 
 
 
• Register of deaths at sea of British nationals, 1875-1888 (see FHL film #1483315)
 
 
 
• Lloyd’s Captains Registers (shipping) contain masters’ and mates names, the name &amp; number of each ship (see FHL film #1482933)
 
 
 
• Lloyd’s Register of British &amp; Foreign Shipping (see FHL fiche #6053007)
 
 
 
=== Finding Pre-1835 Merchant Seamen:  ===
 
 
 
Before 1835, if you don’t know name of ship or port to which he sailed, search the following records for clues: parish registers, civil registration, diaries, letters, census, wills, or in the Trinity House Petitions, the 1881 and the 1861 census indexes (1861 index on fiche #6025599); newspapers in the port towns give ships’ sailings; failing these, then you must search each and every ship register in the port of sailing. Try searching some of the following records as well:
 
 
 
==== • Trinity House petitions:  ====
 
 
 
&nbsp;Calendars of the records of the Corporation of Trinity House FHL book #942 U3tr – use this book to trace the following two series of Trinity House records--
 
 
 
#Corporation of Trinity House records, 1609-1950 on 26 FHL films; see #1966898
 
#Trinity House Petitions (Pensions applications by masters’ widows) FHL film 1787-1854 on 57 FHL films; see film #395554
 
 
 
==== Hospital Records for Merchant Seamen:  ====
 
 
 
• Royal London Hospital 1740-2000+ or, as it was once called--the London Infirmary—records are currently kept at the hospital
 
 
 
• St Thomas Hospital, Lambeth, [was] a.k.a. Dreadnaught Seamen’s Hospital
 
 
 
• Seaman’s Hospital Society – a charity-based society seeking the welfare of all sickly and debilitated mariners and sailors (many Royal Naval boatswains would shift over to the merchant maritime after war campaigns)
 
 
 
==== Websites with Indexes:  ====
 
 
 
The following web sites have databases of seafarer's names:
 
 
 
1. [http://www.swanseamariners.org.uk/ Swansea Mariners - 49,000 entries] from Swansea crew lists.
 
 
 
2. [www.cardiffmariners.org.ukCardiff Mariners - 1,500 entries from Cardiff crew lists].
 
 
 
3. [[http://www.cardiffmariners.org.uk/ www.cardiffmariners.org.uk] Welsh Mariners - 22,000 Welsh Master Mariners]
 
 
 
4. Irish Merchant Seamen - 12,000 Irish merchent seamen, taken from the C10 record cards for 1918 to 1923 at Southampton City RO.
 
 
 
5. [http://history.foote-family.com/maritime/crewindex.htm Guernsey Crew Lists - Stephen Foote's index of Guernsey Crew Lists]&nbsp;
 
 
 
6. [http://mariners.records.nsw.gov.au/ Mariners and Ships in Australian Waters] - Index from the New South Wales Inwards Passenger lists (includes crew members):
 
 
 
==== Researching Maritime Ancestry online:  ====
 
 
 
• [http://www.allatsea.co.za/ http://www.allatsea.co.za/]
 
 
 
• http://www.rootsweb.com/~wlscfhs/swshipping.htm
 
 
 
• Here’s an online site with modest amounts of names (in databases) for merchant mariners into North America and Canada from early (about 1650 to 1850): http://www.mun.ca/mha/holdings/yms/yms.php
 
 
 
• Here is the Welsh Mariners website with 20,000+ welsh seamen listed and searchable: www.welshmariners.org.uk/index.php
 
 
 
• Cardiff, Wales’ Master mariners’ website containing crew agreements:
 
 
 
#[http://www.somerset.gov.uk/archives/database/crewlist.htm www.somerset.gov.uk/archives/database/crewlist.htm]  
 
#[http://www.mna.org.uk/ http://www.mna.org.uk/]
 
#
 
 
 
• Here is the National Merchant Maritime website (Greenwich): http://www.nmm.ac.uk/leaflets/Riindex.asp
 
 
 
• Commonwealth Wargraves Commission website contains an online database of the deaths of those engaged serving in the Merchant Maritime service in World Wars I &amp; II. Go to: http://www.cwgc.org/
 
 
 
• Here’s a ship index online listing old and contemporary ships. There are now nearly 85,000 ship names in the index: http://www.shipindex.org/
 
 
 
• Here’s the digital images to births, marriages and deaths at sea from 1837 onward that includes some records of master mariners and their children: www.findmypast.com
 
 
 
• Crew Lists 1861-1913 with 270,000+ records – at www.findmypast.com
 
 
 
• Here’s post-1913 'seamen's pouches' 1913 to 1972; are in BT 372 available via TNA’s Catalogue online; many pre-1913 seamen listed; type BT 372 in the “Department/Series Code box, then the ancestor’s surname: http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/catalogue/search.asp see also: http://www.crewlist.org.uk/findingonindexes.html#online
 
 
 
• Canadian (Engl.) Merchant mariners online (190,000 names): http://www.mun.ca/mha/holdings/names/index.php - Seamen http://www.mun.ca/mha/holdings/captains/index.php - Captains http://www.mun.ca/mha/holdings/genealog.php
 
 
 
• Wills before 1858 were proved by the Prerogative Court of Canterbury and are online at: www.documentsonline.pro.gov.uk
 
 
 
• Many merchant mariners proved wills in the Archdeaconry Court of London
 
 
 
• Bank of England Wills (59,000); since some master mariners were so closely associated with and immersed in the mercantile trade, try these wills; indexed at: www.originsnetwork.com
 
 
 
==== FHL Collections &amp; UK Archives collections with references to Births, Marriages and Deaths at Sea:  ====
 
 
 
Agreements and crew lists of British merchant vessels, compiled at English sea ports, including names of ships and service records of crew members: with alphabetical and numerical index to ships, 1857-1860 FHL, TNA
 
 
 
Agreements, crew lists and muster rolls of British merchant vessels, compiled at English sea ports, including names of ships and service records of crew members, 1747-1856
 
 
 
Agreements, crew lists and muster rolls of British merchant vessels, compiled at English sea ports, including names of ships and service records of crew members, 1747-1856. FHL, TNA
 
 
 
Agreements, crew lists and muster rolls of merchant vessels registered at Irish sea ports 1850-1921:&nbsp; card indexes, 1863-1921, &amp; other finding aids FHL, TNA
 
 
 
Agreements, crew lists and muster rolls of merchant vessels registered at Northern Ireland sea ports, 1863-1914 FHL, TNA Alphabetical register of masters, 1845-1854--class BT 115 FHL, TNA
 
 
 
Alphabetical register of seamen, 1835-1844--class BT 119--index to BT 112. FHL, TNA
 
 
 
Register of fishing apprentices, Port of Grimsby, 1880-1937 FHL, TNA
 
 
 
Register of seamen's tickets, 1845-1854 (BT 113) and alphabetical register of seamen's tickets, 1845-1854 (BT 114) FHL, TNA
 
 
 
==== Additional Archives for Merchant Maritme Records:  ====
 
 
 
Hull (Yorkshire): Hull Seamens &amp; General Orphanage FHL Humber ports of the British Transport Docks Board FHL Liverpool (Lancashire):
 
 
 
• Crew lists and agreements were completed for every British vessel before each voyage. The lists include crew names, ages, places of birth and various other details and are useful sources for the history of seamen's careers.
 
 
 
• They have a sample of crew lists, 1863-1913, with an alphabetical index of ships' names. A national project to index a sample of these lists by seamen's names called CLIP (Crew List Index Project) has led to a cd-rom being produced which includes references to 269,000 seafarers. A copy is available in The Record Office.
 
 
 
• Crew lists are also held by the National Archives (10% sample of crew lists and log books), the National Maritime Museum, London and the Maritime History St John’s Newfoundland Archive The website for the Memorial University of Newfoundland, St John's, Newfoundland, Canada is: http://www.mun.ca/mha/holdings/searchcombinedcrews.php .
 
 
 
==== How to Search the Family History Library Catalog (FHLC): .  ====
 
 
 
“Keyword Search”: a) “Board of Trade” b) seamen indexes c) Merchant marine d) “deaths at sea” 8. “Place Search”: “Great Britain”, “England”, “Ireland”, Scotland 9. “Place Search”: under the port place-name 10. “Place Search”: under name of county and highlight/click “Merchant Marine” 11. Include “index” in your search to find published or online indexes
 

Revision as of 18:10, 13 October 2010

Return to the England Merchant Marine page.

USING BRITISH MERCHANT MARINE RECORDS & THEIR INDEXES

See article published in The Journal of the International Society for British Genealogy and Family History, April-June 2010 Journal volume 11 , Issue [no.] 2, page 13. at your family history society reading room, local university, college or genealogical research library, or, subscribe to their outstanding Journal and society, here and receive 'helps' in almost every aspect of British genealogical research records and procedures.