Admiralty: Royal Navy Registers of Seamen's Services

Details of ADM 188
Reference:ADM 188
Title:
Admiralty: Royal Navy Registers of Seamen's Services
Description:

Registers, arranged numerically giving date of birth, ship or shore establishment and an account of service. The covering dates relate to the dates of opening the registers. Entries in them continue for many years according to the length of service of each seaman. The series includes eight volumes described as Continuation Books, also arranged numerically, which continue entries appearing in earlier registers. Service numbers can be found in nominal indexes at the end of each transfer.

From 1 January 1873 all Royal Navy ratings were allocated an 'Official Number'. Official numbers (O nos.) began at 40,001 to avoid confusion with any number previously allocated to Continuous Service men (ADM 188/1-4). The O or General number series spanned 1873-1907 and did not have prefix numbers. Sequential numbers were given to ratings irrespective of their branch: seamen, stoker, domestic, etc, to the number O 178,000.

From 1 January 1894 the numbering for all ratings entering the service became more specialised. A series of block allocations of numbers were introduced for six different classes of ratings. By 1907, the numbers of each series were in danger of overlapping and a simpler but similar numbering system was introduced with four different prefix letters to denote branches, or groups of branches. This revised scheme was applicable for new entrants from 1 January 1908 and it continued until October 1925, following the introduction of a revised pay code for naval entrants and marines in September 1925, because the Admiralty wished to distinguish any recruits entering under the new pay code.

ADM 188/1-4 are of the early A and B series before service number 40,001 when numbers were allocated in groups of three, i.e. 100, 100A and 100B. The service particulars in pieces ADM 188/9-82, from service number 42922, are continued in eight Continuation of Service volumes, ADM 188/83-90. References in the registers to the 'new registers' are to these Continuation Books.

PLEASE NOTE:

  • Digital copies of selected records within this series are available to search and download.
  • ADM 188/1132-1177 and the indexes to ADM 139 and ADM 188 are also available to download as part of the DigitalMicrofilm project.

Note: Referencing: In 2012, as part of transferring digitised records to The National Archives' new Discovery catalogue, the items throughout this series were temporarily numbered, starting at 1 within each piece. In March 2013 these were corrected to have their item references constructed of the piece number followed by a slash and the numerical part of the service number; for example ADM 188/5/1 is now ADM 188/5/40001.
Date: 1853-1924
Arrangement:

The registers are in numerical order by service number which can be found by the nominal indexes (pieces 245-267 and 1132-1177) by date of enlistment. The date reference for each register merely relates to when the register was first raised (date of the first entry) and information in the volume continues for many years thereafter according to the length of service of each man and may even contain some earlier information.

Individual service numbers from 1-165,000 are contained in the first 244 volumes with indexes to individual surnames in a further 23 volumes. Pieces 1-4 are of the early A & B series before service number 40,001 when numbers were allocated in groups of three, i.e. 100, 100A and 100B. The service particulars in pieces 9-82, from service number 42922, are continued in eight Continuation of Service volumes, pieces, 83-90. References in the registers to the 'new registers' are to these Continuation Books. The covering dates for the series relate to the opening of the registers continue for many years according to the length of the service of each seaman.

Related Material: See also the Royal Navy Continuous Service Engagement Books in: ADM 139
Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record
Language: English
Physical description: 1177 volume(s)
Access conditions: Available in digital format and microform only
Publication note: See Information Leaflet 2: 'Admiralty records as sources for biography and genealogy'.
Unpublished finding aids: Enlistment date: 1853-1891: indexes are ADM 188/245-267; 1892-1912: ADM 188/1132-1154; 1913-1923: ADM 188/1155-1177.

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