Merchant Navy Seamen records

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Ask the expert – missing merchant seaman ›

26 March, 2013

Our resident expert Stephen Rigden, pictured below, answers your queries. From Vera Baccino: ‘My question is: how can you trace someone if you cannot find a birth certificate? My grandfather James Wiseman was born in around 1882 and he lived in Liverpool, where I have two wedding certificates 1911 and 1914. His age, however, indicates he was born 1887. My… Read more ›

Ask the expert – military conundrum ›

20 February, 2013

Our resident expert Stephen Rigden, pictured below, answers your queries. From David Griffiths-Parry: ‘My late father started his family history research a year before he passed away, and I am carrying his work forward. His grandfather Francis David Parry was born in Liverpool, Lancashire on 19 April 1883 and died in Liverpool Lancashire in 1958. I have traced Francis David… Read more ›

The sailor superstitions the Titanic ignored ›

13 April, 2012

Did you know that six traditional sailor superstitions were ignored on the Titanic’s maiden voyage to New York? Take a look at the evidence we’ve uncovered in our collection of Titanic records. Prepare yourself, some of the superstitions may seem a bit silly… Sailor superstition #1: Women on board a ship make the sea angry The header pages from the… Read more › launches new Titanic records ›

5 April, 2012

Today marks the launch of two fascinating sets of records, which include information about the Titanic: Maritime births, marriages and deaths and White Star Line Officers’ books. We’re thrilled to offer you the most comprehensive collection of Titanic records anywhere online. Maritime births, marriages and deaths Search for your ancestors in vivid full colour scans of the original birth, marriage… Read more ›

New Merchant Navy Seamen records launched ›

23 February, 2012

You can now search 359,000 records of Merchant Navy Seamen for the period 1835-1857 on We have made these 19th century Merchant Navy records available online for the first time, working in association with The National Archives. From 1835, the central government started to monitor a potential reserve of sailors for the Royal Navy, which resulted in the creation… Read more ›

Merchant Navy Seamen – celebrities in the records ›

2 September, 2011

You’re very likely to find ancestors in our new Merchant Navy Seamen records because Britain had one of the largest merchant fleets in the world. The workforce on these vessels was a casual, ‘jobbing workforce’ so in any one year as many as 1.5 million people could be employed in the Merchant Navy. We’ve spotted a number of celebrities and… Read more ›

Merchant Navy Seamen – the youngest and oldest ›

2 September, 2011

We hope you’re enjoying searching the new Merchant Navy Seamen records at! We thought we’d share a few of the most interesting records we’ve found in the collection with you – first for a ‘show and tell’ are the youngest and oldest seamen we’ve been able to find. Be sure to let us know if you’ve found any who… Read more ›

We launch our Merchant Navy Seamen records ›

2 September, 2011

We have just published 1 million 20th century Merchant Navy Seamen records on We are working in association with The National Archives to give you access to your merchant navy ancestors. This is the first time ever that these records have been made available online. What are these records?   The records are index cards which the Registrar General… Read more ›