These volumes are those logs (navigational records) and journals (narrative accounts) of naval officers of ships engaged in exploration and surveying, which were regularly used by the Hydrographic Office. They include a few logs supplied by merchant ships. Most were kept by naval captains, masters, lieutenants and masters mates. there are a few others, kept by a boatswain or an assistant surgeon. Those dating before 1855 were retained by the Admiralty as still being referred to in the 1850s, when other ships logs were sent to the Public Record Office.
Many famous officers contributed logs, James Cook, William Bligh and Matthew Flinders among them. The areas covered tend to be the Pacific, the Arctic, the Antarctic, Australia, the Americas and the west coast of Africa, although China, St Helena and other places are also included.
Digital copies of the Logs and Journals of Ships on Exploration are available to download.
PLEASE NOTE: selections of digitised log books for key periods and shipping lanes are available on the external UK Colonial Registers and Royal Navy Logbooks (CORRAL) project dataset site.