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From 1823, Masters of British merchant ships of 80 tons and over were required to carry a given number of indentured apprentices. These had to be duly enrolled with the local Customs Officer. These provisions were extended by the Merchant Seamen Act 1835 which provided for the registration of these indentures.
The collection includes many Irishmen, including some of my own ancestors. Details provided include name, age and date at registration or indenture, vessel, port of registry, and birth year. Not all include a place of birth, but some do and may provide the vital location reference for men who subsequently settled outside Ireland and were recorded in censuses as 'from Ireland'.
Here are some examples I've pulled from a quick ferret into the collection:
- William Graham, born Drumgowan (Donegal) in 1859. Indentured to RW Corry of Belfast in 1876. Registered in Belfast. Left 'sick' in Calcutta in October 1877.
- Owen McCran, born Cabry (Donegal) in 1863. Indentured, aged 12, to W Petrie. Registered in Sligo. Deserted in 1876.
- James Cantillon, born Little Island, Co Cork, in 1864. Indentured 1879 for four years to RC Hall & Co, Cork. Registered in Cork.
- Timothy O'Regan, born in 1859 in Cork. Indentured in 1875 for four years to James Pinder. Registered in Cork. Deserted in Cardiff in 1876.