Catalogue description Registry of Shipping and Seamen: Register of Seamen, Series II

Search within or browse this series to find specific records of interest.

Date range

Details of BT 112
Reference: BT 112
Title: Registry of Shipping and Seamen: Register of Seamen, Series II

This series contains the second series of the Register of Seamen kept by the General Registry and Record Office of Seamen.

The Register incorporates all the British merchant seamen already registered in the first series contained in BT 120. The series also includes some portions of the alphabetical index of seamen which would otherwise be found in BT 119.

Electronic images of these records can be searched online through our partner website.

Date: 1835-1844

The register consists of two distinct parts covering 1835 to February 1840 (Part 1) and December 1841 to 1844 (Part 2); there appears to be no material covering the gap.

  • Part 1, consisted of some 19 volumes, wherein the entries were arranged according to a numeric scheme within alphabetical segments (initial two letters of a seaman's surname).
  • Part 2 consisted of some 71 volumes arranged essentially alphabetically.

An index to surnames, for Part 1 is to be found in Alphabetical Index of Seamen (BT 119); the location of surnames within Part 2 is given in BT 119/28.

At some stage during its administrative use, the volumes of Part 1 and Part 2 were disassembled and an attempt was made to recombine them in a single alphabetical series. This resulted in 79 volumes, of which 78 survive today. Some pages from the indexes to registers have also become embedded in these volumes.

Separated material:

One volume of Part 1 of this register (that for letter 'A') is missing.

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English

General Register and Record Office of Seamen, 1835-1872

Physical description: 81 volume(s)
Access conditions: Available in digital format unless otherwise stated
Unpublished finding aids:

A Finding Aid recreating the original volume structure is available in the reading rooms at The National Archives, Kew.

Administrative / biographical background:

Registration of merchant seamen was provided for in the 1835 Merchant Shipping Act to create a means of manning the Royal Navy in wartime. Seamen were engaged by the voyage at this period, and there was no permanent merchant service. The registers were made up from the new returns of agreements and crew lists for each voyage. They were difficult to keep up and to index, and the transcription of names was often haphazard and inaccurate. The system was replaced by the register tickets in 1844.

Have you found an error with this catalogue description?