A system of general registration of vessels was first introduced in
Britain with the navigation act of 1786. Under this system shipowners were
required to register their vessels with the customs officer in their home
port. Each certificate of registry was numbered and entered into a registration
book and copied. The copies or "transcripts" were then sent to
the central registry. Thus there are in effect two series of registers
containing similar information: the Board of Trade series (BT107/108 and
110) and the "Port Registers". The certificates of registry contain
information on the particulars of the vessel, its ownership, original master
and the reason and date of the closure of the registry. The "port
certificates" also include subsequent transactions, which include
changes of ownership and, mortgages. The Maritime History Archive holds
certificates of registry and transcripts for ports in the British Colonies
and Canada; Liverpool, England; Jersey, Channel Islands; Devon, England;
and the Aland Islands.
Registrar General of Shipping and Seamen.
Certificates of Vessel Registry, (BT 107 and BT 108) : transcripts
and transactions, 1812-1889. 236 reels of microfilm.
Transcripts of the Certificates of vessel registry. The MHA has volumes
for colonial ports and the port of Liverpool. The certificates are the
registration of ownership of the vessel and give descriptive information
on each vessel as well as the name, occupation and residence of owners
and builders, Captains are also frequently listed. Transactions are recorded
in series BT 109.
Arranged and listed by port, year and number of the registry.
Registrar General of Shipping and Seamen
Certificates of vessel registry : "closed registries",
BT 110, 1890-1920. 74 reels of microfilm, 951 fiche.
Under this system all the papers relating to a single ship, throughout
the period that it remained on register, were kept together and filed under
the date when it was taken off the register. The series is arranged in
three parts, 1890-1900; 1901-1910, 1911-1920. Indexes give the official
number, year and port of the registry of the vessel. The documents are
filed in blocks alphabetically, eg. Volume BT 110/665 has vessels with
names from ADA-ALL. BT 110/666 has vessels with names from AIM-ARG, etc.
The name of the vessel is not included in the index.
Liverpool. Custom House
Liverpool Plantation Registers, 1744-1733, 1779-1984. 2 reels
Registers of vessels either belonging to Liverpool, the colonies, or other
British ports, which were engaged in the "plantation" trade,
according to the navigation act of 1696, which required that vessels employed
in that trade be registered accordingly. An index by vessel name and port
of registry is included on the microfilm.
Devon. Collector of Customs. Devon
Devon Shipping Registers, 1786-1939. 22 reels of microfilm.
Certificates of registry transactions for vessels registered at Plymouth,
1824-192?; Barnstaple, 1824-1906; Bideford, 1786-1908; Brixham, 1816-1945;
Dartmouth, 1824-1902; Exeter, 1786-1934; Ilfracombe, 1824-1839; Salcombe,
1867-1918; Teignmouth, 1853-1939.
Copies of the register books kept by the Customs Officers at Devon ports.
Arranged by port, chronologically.
Canada. Dept. of Marine
Shipping registers, 1787-1966. 63 reels of microfilm.
Copies of the original registers which were kept in bound volumes at each
port. Transactions subsequent to the original registry were entered at
the end of the original volume. The register books for all Canadian ports
are included in this series. The microfilm is indexed by port of registry.
Jersey Collector of Customs
Jersey Ships' Registers, 1803-1930. 7 reels of microfilm.
Registers of shipping for the port of Jersey, as certified by the collector
of customs at the port. Transactions subsequent to the initial registration
are also included. Registries are arranged chronologically.
Shipping Registers, [1892 - 19--]. 1 reel of microfilm.
The registers were started in 1892, and all ships existing at that time
were granted a number and entered in a register. Changes of ownership are
included. The registers are in Finnish and Swedish. Listed by vessel number.
An index by vessel name is included at the beginning of the volume.