Crew lists were kept by the National Record Office till about 2 years ago but have now been moved to the Maritime History Archive in Canada. There are lists of numerous areas for research of: crew lists, captains lists, ships logs since the Merchant Shipping Act of 1850 when records onwards.
You can also get numerous E:copies of various guides helping you to research numerous issues: crew lists, ship registration, casualties and wrecks++. If you seek information direct from Canada via one of their 'searchers' costs about £12 a page!! So give all the infor you can: name of ship, year of build and registered no: Company, voyage no (if applicable) name on crew list and date of voyage if known - means less work for them - cheaper for you!!
The site is a bit messy to navigate but let me know and I'll help in anyway possible.
Thanks for all the info, tried the mariner link but could not get through.
I have sent all the details to the other address, will see what they come back with
Once again many thanks for your help
Enter Crew Lists in your search engine - go down to 'Logs, Agreements and Crew Lists of British Registered Ships' - scroll down to MN and click and this will take you to a Mariners page - click Merchant Navy.
I have had a look at this site this morning and it is out dated now - they refer you to National Archives who in turn refer you to University Newfoundland!!
A very good sight for guidance is the National Maritime Museum site:
I'v done a bit of searching this morning. Crew list for you Mark is held by Newfoundland.
Doug: depending on the year you are looking for:advise you ring 020 8876 3444 (Nation Maritime Museum Archives) and they will will advise: seemingly the British Coast Guard Archives hold a sample copies/periods of log book and crew agreements Coast Guard Archives number is 02920 448800.
Yes, I thought that it was strange for British Marine Archives to end up there. The only answer I've been offered when I have asked the question of numerous people is:
Over the years since the 18 hundreds especially is that Maritime Archived materiol has grown and grown into literally hundreds and hundreds of thousands of do***ents of one sort and another till one Archive could not handle the process of keeping and identifiying all the archives.
A number of Agencies joined together to share the work and protection of archives and they hold individual periods and type of archive.
The University of Newfoundland has a Marine Department with various degree courses in numerous maritime areas - that is why maybe some archives landed there.
This means when you are trying to research a particular ship or item you have to decide whether it is crew agreement,log book information, ships log information, casuality or demolition etc, etc then the period by date followed by a search of where the archive may lay. You have to acertain whether you are looking for Home Trade, Baltic or Foriegn Trade at the outset. World War I and II Records are kept seperatley again all split up.
Company Histories are still being sorted and archived. I am a member of the Liverpool Nautical Research Society and each Monday Society members are given closed access to the Liverpool Marritme Museum Archive Library which is facinating. I'm quite new and learning all the time. One interest I have is the Mersey Dock and Harbour Board Records and the working and social life of the British Merchant Seaman and workers in related maritime trades. (Okay, Okay -I know and have researched all the old pubs and watering holes!!).
You can find most of the records of British ship's logs and crew lists in the Maritime History Archive of the University of Newfoundland. They do not have records for years ending in '5' e.g. 1955, 1965 and so on which were retained in the UK National Archive at Kew.
The Maritime History Archive have a website http://www.mun.ca/mha/index.php where you can see the various listings of records that they hold and the services that they provide. If you are not able to attend yourself, on receipt of a list of ship names (and official numbers if you have them) and the dates concerned, they will look up the information and send it to you by airmail or surface mail, as you request.
The information is free but the services of their staff to research it for you from the records is not! Their research fees are based on 1 hour to complete a search of 2 years of crew agreements for 1 vessel (or 2 vessels for 1 year). If there is a log book accompanying a crew agreement the number of copies for each voyage is usually around 40 although there could be more for the 1950s and 1960s.
Be prepared for a big bill if there are many ships and many voyages. I was quoted over £400 for the ports of call and crew lists for the 6 years I was at sea. The contact address is
Heather Wareham, Archivist
Maritime History Archive
Memorial University of Newfoundland
St. John's, NL
For anyone wishing to find out which ports (and in which order) they visited when they were at sea, it is possible to consult the Lloyd's List Voyage Record Card Index held by London's Guildhall Museum Library. For those unfamiliar with Lloyd's List, it was (and still is) a daily newspaper reporting matters of interest to insurers of ships and other large risks that are insured at Lloyd's of London.
Of interest to seafarers are the daily reports of the movements of shipping - arrival in port, sailing from a port, passing a signal station or being involved in an accident or casualty. A record of the date and type of each report about a vessel was made by Lloyds on a card index, specifically on the index card for that vessel. The idea was that anyone seeking information on a ship would be able to check that ship's Voyage Record card, note the dates recorded and then look up the details of each report in the archived copy of Lloyd's List for each date of interest.
Instead of just junking all the old Voyage Record cards (as the UK Government tried to do with the British Merchant Navy crew lists and ships' log books), Lloyd's passed them over to the Guildhall Museum Library where, free of charge, they are available for examination by the general public. Provide the Library staff with a list of ships' names (giving net tonnage or port of registry for each ship) and the year or years concerned, and they will produce the relevant index cards. You can then copy out the information, or photocopy it on the premises.
If required, they will provide you with copies for a small fee and mail them to you.
NOTE: If you are going to attend the Library to view the Voyage Record index cards, be aware that the staff require 2 working days notice in advance to extract the cards from the store and make them available for viewing. You cannot just turn up and ask to see cards on demand.