Catalogue description Registry of Shipping and Seamen: Registers of Certificates of Competency, Masters and Mates, Foreign Trade

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Details of BT 122
Reference: BT 122
Title: Registry of Shipping and Seamen: Registers of Certificates of Competency, Masters and Mates, Foreign Trade

Registers of certificates of competency of masters and mates of foreign-going British merchant ships kept by the General Registry and Record Office of Seamen and its successor.

These volumes list the certificates awarded after compulsory examinations after 1850 but include some awarded under the previous voluntary system.

The five series of registers produced by the system of voluntary registers give the man's name, place and date of birth, the register ticket number if any, and the rank examined for or served in, and also the date and number of the certificate.

The series also includes summary volumes which cover the whole range of the rest of the series, but contain notes of deaths, injuries, etc., to a much later date than the registers themselves.

The last volume registers certificates omitted from the early volumes of the series.

Date: 1845-1906
Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English

General Register and Record Office of Seamen, 1835-1872

Registrar General of Shipping and Seamen, 1872-1992

Physical description: 91 volume(s)
Access conditions: Available in microform only
Unpublished finding aids:

The index to these registers is in BT 127

Administrative / biographical background:

By an order of 1845 the Board of Trade authorised a system of voluntary examinations of competence for men intending to become masters or mates of foreign-going British merchant ships. This system was made compulsory in 1850 by the Mercantile Marine Act. Examinations were conducted in London, or by Local Marine Boards at the ports. Masters and mates already serving were to be registered with the Registrar of Merchant Seamen.

In 1854 the Merchant Shipping Act extended examinations to the masters and mates of home trade passenger ships. They were also extended to the engineers of steam ships in 1862 and to the skippers and mates of fishing boats by the Merchant Shipping (Fishing Boats) Act, 1883. From 1880 certificates of competency issued to the masters and mates of foreign-going steam ships were separately registered.

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