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Littlelucyta 3rd July 2019 20:23

Merchant Navy Record Query 1879
1 Attachment(s)
Evening all

I am new to doing family history research involving the Merchant Navy and hope someone can help me with a query.

I am doing a study of the parish of St George, Wilton in Somerset. I am currently focusing on the Bastard family. I have a tree on Ancestry named the St George Wilton (Parish Tree) if you are interested in taking a look.

I am focusing on Henry Horlock Bastard (abt. 1858 - 24 September 1895) at the moment. I have a wikitree entry for him ( It appears he joined the Merchant Navy. Would this be 'normal' for the eldest son of a well to do family who attended Sherborne School to do? I found an entry for him on Apprentices Indentured in Merchant Navy, 1824-1910 on Ancestry. He was bound on 17.7.1876 to James Henry Burgess, Swansea, and registered on 31.7.1876 at aged 18 years at Swansea for 3 4/12 years.

Where would I look to find out more about his indenture in the Merchant Navy? And what more information does the snippet I have attached tell me?

Thank you for your help.


Hugh MacLean 3rd July 2019 21:34

Hi Lucy,

Roger Griffiths is your man for this time period. I am sure he will be along in due course.
The column 1876 out/home - indicates his outward voyage 18 August 1876 which was F = Foreign going. 70509 = the Swansea registered sailing barque ABERFOYLE. 1877 shows the return voyage to the UK on 12 December of that year.


Barrie Youde 3rd July 2019 21:50

Hi Lucy,

As Hugh points out, Roger will give you far more detail.

My own observation would be that 18 years of age would be substantially older than the usual starting age for an indentured apprenticeship at that time, when 15 would probably have been the norm. As late as the mid-20th century, 16 was the customary age for joining.

Otherwise, there was nothing remotely abnormal in joining the Merchant Navy from a public school.

Robert Hilton 3rd July 2019 22:08

The name Horlock is associated with sailing barge owners around Mistley, Essex, until some time in the 20th century. There might or might not be a link. Others will know more about it than I do.

Roger Griffiths 4th July 2019 16:34

Hello Lucy,
The big problem you have is the fact that no central personal records of Merchant seamen were kept between 1857 and 1913.
The only records between these dates are those obtained from Logbooks and Crew Agreements.
The vessel ABERFOYLE official number 70509 was a Barque of some 805 Gross Registered tons, built in 1876 by T.R.Oswald of Woolston, Southampton. Owned in the period 1876 -1880 by Daniel Jones of Adelaide Street. Swansea. Port of Registry Swansea.
She is recorded in the Mercantile Navy list from 1876 until 1883.

Her 1876 Logbooks and Crew agreements can be obtained from here.
It appears her 1877 and 1878 L/B's and C/A's have been lost but may be here.

Register of Apprentices. I doubt it has no more than what you have already found but worth a look. You never know!

Swansea Mariners
They have basic details on your man.

West Glamorgan Archives
Shipping records for the Port of Swansea.

The Waterfront Museum.


Littlelucyta 4th July 2019 20:00

Thank you Hugh, Barrie, Robert and Roger for all of your insights...this certainly gives me something to look into this weekend! Your help is much appreciated.

Bill.B 4th July 2019 20:10

Robert Horlick moved to Harwich in 1832 from Rettendon Essex. Roberts father Samuel ownd barges from 1786. There is a good history of Horlock of Mistley in the book “The Racing Horlocks” by Ron Weyda and Bob Horlock. Also Mistleymans Log has a lot of their history.

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