I came across this while browsing The Brickwall Club‘s Facebook page and I thought it was worthy of sharing with my own blog readers who may be researching their British family tree. The resource is great for any of you out there who had ancestors that served in the British Merchant Navy (MN) in 1915, at the time of the First World War.
The site explains that this is the first time ever that the Crew Lists of the British Merchant Navy from the year 1915 have been digitised and made available to search for free. It suggests that using their search box you can find relatives and loved ones via their database of over 39,000 crew lists and featuring over 750,000 names.
The National Maritime Museum says that as there are no records for individual merchant seafarers from this period, that the records that they are making available are of international significance in highlighting the vital contribution made by the Merchant Navy during the First World War. They go on to state that these records are also of great value to family historians, as one of the few sources of information about seafaring ancestors active in 1915.
There is a good short description on the website that explains what the Merchant Navy is as well as what crew lists are. So if you have discovered in your family tree a merchant seaman (or woman, as there were some female crew members) then it is worth a look even if you don’t have a mariner from 1915 as an ancestor.
I am just back from a visit to Greenwich with my dad who is almost 93 and still fascinated by everything around him.
He had asked my sister and I to organise the trip and the two of us had a lot of fun watching him engage with the ship and its very helpful volunteer guides.
While being educated about the crew and what they would have had to do when serving on this fast sailing clipper, the knowledgeable guide explained how there was a lot of material to search on the Cutty Sark in the National Maritime Museum that is close by. This got me thinking about family history research for those of us that have had Royal Navy sailors or Merchant Navy mariners in our past families.
If you are researching an ancestor then the good news is that this extensive maritime reference resource has free entry – you just need to register for a Reader’s Ticket. At the time of writing (April 2018) the opening hours are:
The National Maritime Museum and Archive is a fantastic and useful resource for finding out about your ancestors who went to sea. They do warn you, however, on their website that tracing people who served or travelled on ships can be a complex task and you may need to consult a range of different resources – their records can help you to search for members of the Merchant Navy and the Royal Navy as well as vessels and voyages but you may also have to back this up with records held elsewhere.
I found that there are a number of useful research guides on their website that can help you in your investigations and a number of links that will point you to useful resources that are housed elsewhere at other archives.
If you, like me, have salt in your blood then this is a facility that you should use.