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Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Ancestry's Merchant Seamen collection grows

Ancestry UK has updated its collection of Masters and Mates Certificates, 1850-1927. This record set, released on the subscription database in September, contains certificates issued to merchant seamen by the British Board of Trade. A sizeable proportion of these seamen are Irish.

Now with nearly 282,000 records, today's update has grown the collection by some 30-odd thousand entries.

The certificates were issued to those seamen who qualified as masters or mates aboard merchant ships. The documents include certificates of competency, certificates of service, examination applications, and other miscellaneous forms. Collectively, they may include some or all of the following details:
  • name
  • certificate number
  • birth date
  • birthplace
  • issue port
  • issue date
  • address
  • examination date
  • history of service (dates, vessels, occupations, years in service)
Ancestry gives this advice for examining this record set: 'Some of the information is included on the back of the certificates, and some documents in a seaman’s folder have not been indexed, so when you find a record, use the arrows to browse surrounding documents to make sure you see all the records available. You may want to browse through an entire roll since the original folders were sometimes filed in random order.'