Crew List Index Search
The Maritime History Archive holds approximately 75 percent of the surviving crew lists (also called crew agreements) and official log books of British registered vessels for the periods 1857-1942 (predominantly 1863-1938) and 1951-1976. The crew lists and logbooks for voyages terminating in the years 1857-1942 are indexed and can be searched here. The crew agreements for the years 1951-1976 have not been indexed. For information on ordering copies of crew agreements from the Maritime History Archive please go to the Ordering Crew Agreements page.
(Please note the search may return records from several institutions showing crew agreements for the same year. This does not mean they are duplicate records. Rather, it means the vessel, having sailed on several voyages within the year, has a crew agreement for each voyage and these files are stored at various places.)
This program searches by official number only. (Official numbers can be found in Mercantile Navy Lists or Lloyd's Registers, of which we have copies.) The databases accessed by this search will inform the visitor whether a particular archive has the crew agreement. They will not provide any information on the agreement's contents. To obtain that data he or she will need to contact the appropriate institution.
The search program examines two databases when entering an official number. One contains a complete list of crew agreements at the Maritime History Archive and the other consists of records of crew agreements at various British institutions. For MHA documents the search returns the year(s) and type(s) of documents that exist for that number. For documents at British institutions it returns the year(s) and a hot-linked code which when clicked provides the name and contact information of the institution. Please note that the crew agreements held at the Liverpool City Libraries and Dorset History Centre are also available onlne at Ancestry. The crew agreements held at the Portsmouth Museums and Records Service and Devon Record Office are also available online at CLIP.
The data for British institutions is incomplete. It is dependent on information provided by them, and on occasion may be outdated. In addition, some institutions did not submit data on their holdings. A list of these institutions, and an explanation for storing the majority of crew agreements at the Maritime History Archive is provided elsewhere on our site. For assistance with British shipping records, you may wish to contact the National Archives for a list of researchers working in this field.
A crew agreement provides particulars about a vessel, including the port of registry, tonnage, form of propulsion, owner(s) and intended voyage. It also provides information on each crew member including the person's name, year and place of birth, capacity, previous vessel served on, and date of signing on and off the vessel. There are no nominal indexes to the crew lists. For us to search the agreements for a particular seafarer, we must know the name or official number of the vessel, and the approximate dates that person served on it. Once a person has been located, it is sometimes possible to trace his or her career back through previous vessels.
For information on ordering copies of crew agreements from the Maritime History Archive please go to the Ordering Crew Agreements page.
Updated July, 2015
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