27 July 2018

Findmypast adds Britain, Royal Navy, Navy Lists 1827-1945

These official lists of Royal Navy Officers, 147 publications in PDF format, include an individual’s name, rank, seniority, and place of service.

The bulk of these records are for war years, 1913-20 and 1939-45. Other years are 1827,1831,1835, 1847, 1848,1849, 1850, 1852, 1855, 1856, 1862, 1864, 1868, 1876, 1877, 1878, 1879, 1881, 1884.
The sample shown indicates the information is in somewhat cryptic form. What does the number under where serving and Rank A P or S L mean?
Each volume has front material with explanation and a list of abbreviations. To get to those go to the browse version of that particular book. To do so note the volume title in the box at the top left of the page image. Access the browse version from the link Britain, Royal Navy, Navy Lists 1827-1945 image browse under Useful links and resources.

While the image above shows full first name and initials for later years there are only initials and last name.

At least some of these volumes were digitized by Google Books.

1 comment:

paul Milner said...


Usually in the Navy list right after the table of contents there are two pages of abbreviations used through the volume. So for your example AP - Assistant Paymaster, S - Surgeon, Ch - Chaplain, Car - Carpenter. These are abbreviations for officers and non-commissioned officers and who is included varies depending upon the time period. The regular seamen will not be listed.

The ship number refers to an numbered alphabetical list of ships in the volume that gives the name of the ship - its description, tonnage armament, location, etc, followed by a listing of officer ranks giving the name of the person holding that rank and the date on which they were promoted to that rank. This is the easiest way to see who served on the ship with your officer. This may be the way into diaries, writings, memoirs etc. For example I have a description of Thomas Trotter, a surgeon I am tracing mentioned in the memoirs of James Anthony Gardner, a ship mate aboard HMS Edgar in 1787-9 as "a most excellent fellow with first-rate abilities, an able writer and poet". In comparison to descriptions of many of the other ship mates this is high praise.

You are correct John in that browsing is often easier and many of the Navy Lists, especially for the war years, can be downloaded as pdfs and are much easier to work with.

Paul Milner