These records consist of the Crew Lists and Ships' Agreements, with some Official (Crew) Log Books, which were required by law to be sent to the Registrar of Shipping and Seamen for ships registered in the United Kingdom. Vessels engaged in coastal or cross-Channel trade made a return half-yearly, while ships going to more distant ports completed an agreement for each voyage. These agreements and crew lists usually include such information as the destination of the ship and the names of individual crew members with age, rank, place of birth, former ship and wage. The Official Log is not the full ship's log, but only a record of certain incidents relating to the crew and sometimes to passengers, such as deaths on board, which had to be reported to the Registrar.
When the documents were made available by the Public Record Office in 1966, this office asked for the records of ships in three categories. The first, and by far the largest, consists of ships registered in Southampton. Secondly, we claimed vessels which had been built in Southampton and, thirdly, ships which mainly used this port, especially the passenger liners which were so important to Southampton but few of which were registered here. In the first category, the attempt was made to obtain all available records except for those of vessels known to be yachts under 40 tons or dumb barges. In the second and third categories, the ships had first to be identified, and these sections are by no means comprehensive; in any case, we could only have the documents if they were not required by the port of registry.
The primary purpose of this list is to provide the names of ships for which crew lists and agreements are deposited in the Southampton Record Office, with the dates and number of items. The additional information given here was gathered partly from the original registration of the vessels, but mainly from the documents themselves. Users should note that the particulars of Owners, Masters and Voyages have been extracted by a number of different people, most of them inexperienced in this work, and it has not been possible to check more than obvious discrepancies. It must be emphasised, therefore, that these details should be used with caution. It is planned to make at a later date an index of Owners and Masters.
The number of items entered for each year is the number of documents, not of complete returns. In some cases there may be only a single sheet recording the release of a crew member; on the other hand, in later years, several documents sometimes make up one crew list. The entry "NA" indicates that the relevant box was not available, so there is a good chance that the documents exist and are held elsewhere, probably among those retained by the Public Record Office and the National Maritime Museum. No lists were available for certain notable ships, or for years ending in 5, eg. 1875.
Some indication has been given of voyages made by the vessels. The amount of information in the documents varies greatly. For long distance voyages, the authorised destination is often given in the most general terms and the only clues lie in entries made at various ports of call. Coastal vessels sometimes give a detailed schedule of calls but at others only a general description. No attempt has been made to indicate whether the information covers the whole year, though this can sometimes be deduced.
Ships of larger Companies included in Crew Lists (and a few local companies with several ships)
P & O Co.
ROYAL MAIL CO.
La Plata (4)
UNION CASTLE CO. (and Union Co.)
Andania, Ascania, Ausonia
WHITE STAR CO.
LAMPORT AND HOLT. CO.
Galileo, Vandyke, Vauban
SHAW SAVILL CO.
RANSOM (later Dible)
Adur, Beaulieu, Frederick, Test
SO'TON STEAM TOWING CO.
Aid, Alexandra, Phoenix, Sovereign
JAMES DREDGING CO. (R.E.V. James)
LONDON & S.W. RAILWAY COMPANY
RED FUNNEL CO.
Lady of the Lake
Lord of the Isles
Neptune (2) (tug)
Prince of Wales
F9 and 10 Fawn
S40 and 41 Skipjack
When requesting crew lists please quote the reference number and the year of the crew list required