Catalogue description Admiralty: Royal Navy Ships' Musters (Series I)

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Details of ADM 36
Reference: ADM 36
Title: Admiralty: Royal Navy Ships' Musters (Series I)

Muster books of ships [HMS] of the Royal Navy, recording the presence of every person on board a ship.

Records within this series are available to download as digital microfilm.

Date: 1688-1808

Standardised spelling of ships names has been adopted as far as possible, rather than the variations which appear in the documents. Examples of these spelling variations are: inconsistent use of the letters 'a' and 'e' (eg Grenada/Granada); the omission of letters in phonetic spelling (eg Alborough/Aldborough, or Aetna/Etna); and the use of the original French or Spanish name of prize ships as well as the English equivalent (eg Mutin/Mutine). The source on which this standardisation has been based is J J Colledge, Ships of the Royal Navy: an Historical Index, volume 1 (David and Charles, 1969).

In keeping with Colledge's practice, all initial articles in French and Spanish names have been omitted: thus El Corso will appear under Corso, Le Pegase as Pegase, and L'Abondance as Abondance. The musters themselves are often inconsistent in this respect.

Colledge's standardised spelling has not been followed in some circumstances: when the ship in the muster cannot be clearly identified with one in his index; when a ship has been omitted, eg some tenders; and when there is some doubt as to the validity of his choice of name. An example of the latter is Lion/Lyon; in this case Colledge uses the former, but as the documents use the latter consistently it has been preferred. In some cases the catalogue includes a different form of a name where it is clear that Admiralty usage changed over the period and where there may have been more than one ship carrying the name, eg Belle Isle was followed by the Belleisle.

The following supplementary finding aids are available in the reading rooms at The National Archives, Kew.

  • A list of phonetic variations in the spelling of a ship's name, which became apparent during relisting, appears in Supplementary Finding Aid No 1.
  • An explanation of the codes used to explain ship type is in Supplementary Finding Aid No 2.
  • The catalogues of ADM 36 and ADM 37 also contain some musters of shore establishments such as dockyards, garrisons, and in one case a rendezvous (for recruitment and impressment). A list of these musters is in Supplementary Finding Aid No 3, but for ADM 36 is complete only for pieces ADM 36/10201 onwards.
  • Bound within musters of particular ships are description books which record the previous service, birthplace, and a physical description of each crew member. A list of these description books contained in ADM 36 is in Supplementary Finding Aid No 4.

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English
Physical description: 17471 volume(s)
Access conditions: Available in digital format unless otherwise stated

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