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.
The National Maritime Museum is part of the Royal Museums Greenwich, that includes the Cutty Sark. There are a number of exhibitions that you can view at the complex, but the National Maritime Museum also houses the Caird Library and Archive.
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.