22 February 2012

Findmypast.co.uk puts new UK merchant seamen records online

The following is a notice from findmypast.co.uk

Leading family history website www.findmypast.co.uk has today released
online for the first time Merchant Seamen records from the 19th
century in association with The National Archives of the United
359,000 records of individuals covering the years 1835-1857 have now
been added to the website. Details contained within the records can
vary, but can include name, age, place of birth, physical description,
ship names and dates of voyages. Often this information can be given
in the form of coded entries which can easily be deciphered using
downloadable finding aids from The National Archives.
The records are taken from volumes held at The National Archives in
series BT112, BT113, BT114, BT115, BT116 and BT120 and were created by
central government to regulate the merchant shipping industry. As the
series spans two decades, some individuals may appear in multiple
series, making it possible for maritime historians or those with
ancestors in the merchant navy, to trace a seaman's service over time.
Janet Dempsey, Maritime Expert at The National Archives commented:
"These records are as significant to the social historian as they are
to the family historian.  No other group of working class men and
women had the freedom of movement and ability to see the world as
these 19th century mariners.
"This was the Registrar General of Shipping and Seamen's earliest
attempts at keeping individuals records and resulted in four different
registers over twenty two years. Although more of a challenge to work
with than other family history sources, it can be very satisfying to
decipher the codes and have your investigative efforts rewarded with
sometimes surprisingly rich detail."
In 2011 findmypast.co.uk published Merchant Navy Seamen records from
1918-1941 in association with The National Archives, some of which
include photographs.
Debra Chatfield, family historian at findmypast.co.uk added: "The
Merchant Navy Seamen records will be of great interest to family
historians worldwide, as so many of us have generations of ancestors,
who made their living at sea. These records will add more detail to
our mental picture of their lives."
All the Merchant Navy Seamen records at findmypast.co.uk can be
searched for free from the Education & Work section of the website.
Transcripts and images can be viewed either with PayAsYouGo credits or
a Full Subscription.

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