Catalogue description Registry of Shipping and Seamen: Central Register of Seamen: Seamen's Records ('Pouches')

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Details of BT 372
Reference: BT 372
Title: Registry of Shipping and Seamen: Central Register of Seamen: Seamen's Records ('Pouches')

Records relating to individual seamen filed together in a pouch. These documents may include application forms (most with a photograph of the seaman), certificates, identity cards, cessation documents and notifications of death.

The contents of any particular pouch, however, may cover any period starting after 1913 and ending up to c2002. When seamen were discharged some or all of their documents (including the index cards) were placed in the pouches and these include discharges of seamen who were originally registered in the Central Index Register of 1913 to 1941.

Date: 1913-1972

The pouches are arranged by discharge number within each of the series detailed below.

  • Numbers (no prefix) = Various nationalities (mainly British)
  • A = India and Pakistan
  • BAR = Barbados
  • BG = British Guyana
  • B/HT = British - born in India
  • C/O = Bangladesh citizens
  • C or CAN = Canadian
  • E = Eire
  • F = Falkland Islands
  • G = Ghana
  • HK or Hong Kong = Hong Kong
  • I, Ind or India = Indian nationality
  • J or Jam = Jamaica
  • K = Tanganyika
  • K/O = India or Pakistan
  • M or Malta = Malta
  • Mau = Mauritius
  • Nig = Nigeria
  • R = British seamen
  • S = Various (mainly British)
  • SA = South Africa
  • SE = Western Isles and Northern Ireland
  • SEY = Seychelles
  • SI = Singapore
  • SL = Sierra Leone
  • St L = St. Lucia
  • T & T = Trinidad and Tobago
  • Z or Zan = Zanzibar

The catalogue entry for each seaman's pouch includes; surname or patronym, initials (although a few entries have been corrected to include full names), discharge number with prefix code where appropriate, place of birth and date of birth. The place of birth information is as it was endorsed on the face of the pouch except in some cases where that information seems to be wrong and the information in the catalogue has been corrected.

Sometimes both parish and county are given but often only one or the other was present. Similarly for non-British place names the country may not have been included. Some entries are unclear, for example; Halifax probably indicates the place of birth as Yorkshire, England, but some are for Nova Scotia, Canada.

This series comprises approximately 500,000 individual seamen's pouches in 3,032 pieces. Efforts have been made to ensure each pouch has been accurately catalogued but specimen checks indicate that a substantial proportion of the catalogue entries are inaccurate and efforts are being made to improve the catalogue entries.

The entries in the Catalogue are not always in the same order as in the documents, and in some cases records about an individual may be in different pieces and where known cross-references have been made in the Catalogue.

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Former reference in its original department: CRS 3
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English

Registrar General of Shipping and Seamen, 1872-1992

Physical description: 3032 boxes and papers
Restrictions on use: To access these records please contact the Enquiry Service (via our contact webpage or staff in the Reading Room).
Access conditions: Open
Immediate source of acquisition:

In 2001 Registry of Shipping and Seamen

Custodial history: The pouches were in the custody of the Registrar General of Shipping and Seamen until 1988 when they were passed to the Glamorgan Record Office. In 1993 the Glamorgan Record Office decided to return them to the Registrar as they could no longer service the level of enquiries made about the records. From 1994 they have been in the custody of the Registrar General and Registry of Shipping and Seamen.
Accumulation dates: Series ran 1941-1972
Selection and destruction information: All surviving pouches have been preserved. Up to 95,000 pouches were destroyed sometime before 1988.
Accruals: Transferred in a single block and there will be no further accruals to this series.

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