Terms Used by the Registrar General of Shipping and Seamen

(See Crew List) refers to the list of crew names for a Foreign-Going voyage or Home Trade six-month engagement. Articles - a collection of documents that cover one voyage or six- month period. Articles of Agreement or (Particulars of Engagement) - refer to the particulars of engagement, or the specifics of what the seafarer accepted in signing the Agreement, including the job title, time to be on board, and wages.
Crew List
(See Account) Refers to the list of crew as filled out by the master. Crew lists included reports on the character and ability of each crew member.  (Particulars of) Discharge - refers to the section of the Agreement detailing the date, place and cause of each crew member’s leaving the ship (whether by mutual consent, desertion, failure to join, sickness, or death). This section was filled out by the Master.
(Particulars of) Engagement
refers to the hiring of seafarers a single voyage, or for a six month period on a Home Trade ship. Signed by the crew, otherwise filled out by the master.
Refers to the voyages of vessels engaged in international trade. Home Trade - refers to the voyages of vessels engaged in inland coastal trade at the ports of the British Isles and to the closest Continental ports on the English Channel (between the ports of Elbe and Brest).
List - See Crew List Mercantile Navy List
a comprehensive, alphabetical list of all British registered Merchant vessels, whether sail or steam. For each vessel, the MNL contained the name of ship and port of registry, the official number, rigging, year and port of build, international code, registered tonnage, and the name and address of the Registered or Managing owner.
Official Number [ON]
Unique number assigned to each vessel for its entire life, regardless of changes of name or purpose.
(Particulars of) Release
this document concluded a seafaring contract. Signatures of crew and a witness were required. If released, the two contracting parties were free from further obligation.
Registrar-General of Shipping and Seamen (RGSS) (previously the Registrar-General of Shipping)
Refers to the position, the office, and the department under the Board of Trade. The primary objective of the RGSS, which was established by the 1854 Consolidated Merchant Shipping Act, was to enforce this legislation (and later 1894). The office of the RGSS received British Empire Merchant Shipping Articles related to Ships, Masters, Voyages, and Crew, checked them for infractions, and in such cases demanded clarification, retained records, and produced them for the courts if required. The office also maintained registers of Ships, Masters, Mates and Engineers. Its information was gathered from the various types of records. It annually published the Mercantile Navy List. The main office of the RGSS was in London, whence it oversaw multiple merchant shipping offices in the major ports of the UK and the British Empire. Documents of Ships, Voyages, and Crew submitted to the various mercantile marine offices were mailed to the main office for review and storage.
Registry of Seamen
A general register and record office of seamen in the Mercantile Marine under the direction of the Registrar-General, and guided by the Merchant Shipping Acts. The register was compiled from the crew agreements and lists, and transmitted to the office of the Registrar-General.
Refers to the passage in time and space from first to last port of call. In the Foreign-Going Trade, a Crew Agreement is defined as chronicling one voyage. In practice, one voyage could be made up of multiple smaller voyages, which could include the signing off of some crew and the engagement of substitutes, and a much-changed composition of crew before the last port of call. Six month “running” crew agreements for the Home Trade allowed masters to hire crew for any voyage over a six-month period in one document.