Registrar General of Shipping and Seamen, Agreements, Crew Lists and Official Logs.

The records were transferred from the Registrar General of Shipping and Seamen's Office in Cardiff in 1971. Any crew lists from 1860 or earlier which have survived are kept at the National Archives (BT/98). From 1861, because of the bulk of the records and because the population censuses from 1861 record those aboard British merchant ships, only a ten per cent example consisting of every tenth box has been preserved at the National Archives. The National Archives also holds Agreements and Crew Lists for celebrated vessels such as the TITANIC, the GREAT BRITAIN etc. (BT/100). At the Museum, however, there are some official logs of special interest, 1909 to 1913, and for the CUTTY SARK, official logs, 1870 to 1874, and Crew Lists, 1870 to 1895. The records acquired by the Museum are for the years 1861, 1862, 1865, 1875, 1885, 1895 and 1905, 1915, 1925, 1935, 1955, 1965, 1975, 1985 and 1995, less every tenth box already taken by the National Archives. The remainder of the records, 1863 to 1939, with the exception of some which went to local record offices, are now in the custody of the Maritime History Archive Newfoundland, St. John's, Newfoundland; an index to these records is available at the Museum on microfiche, or online at:

The online index is searchable by a ship's official number only.

Fishing Vessels: The Merchant Shipping (Fishing Boats) Act of 1883 made special arrangements for fishing vessels of under eighty tons and from this date the Agreements and Crew Lists for these vessels were filed separately. A ten per cent sample of their records was retained by the National Archives (BT/144) and a further ten per cent, 1884 to 1914, was acquired by the Museum. Agreements and Crew Lists of unregistered fishing vessels were filed separately in alphabetical order either by the name of the vessel or by the name of the company. All of these papers, 1861 to 1913, were acquired by the Museum. See Nicholas Cox, 'The Records of the Registrar General of Shipping and Seamen', Maritime History, II, 1972, 168-88; K. Matthews, 'Crew Lists, Agreements, and Official Logs of the British Empire, 1863-1913 now in possession of the Maritime History Archive, Memorial University, St John's, Newfoundland', Business History, XVI, 1974, 78-80.

Record Details

Item reference: RSS/CL; XX(62969.1)
Catalogue Section: Public records: records of the central administration of the Royal Navy and the Merchant Navy
Measurements: Overall: 488 m
Date made: 1861-1995
Creator: Seamen, Registrar General Of Shipping And
Credit: © Crown copyright. National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London

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