Homepage
Ships, famous Tiree-born mariners & related histories: The Clipper Ships of the Nineteenth Century
Captain Donald MacKinnon of the Taeping (and The Great Tea Race of 1866)
Tea and Tiree (the role of Tiree mariners in the tea trade)
Captain Allan MacLean of Tiree, Iona and Shoal Lake, Manitoba


Merchant Seamen Records

The spreadsheets linked to this page are produced by John & Jean McLean, Clydebank, Scotland. They welcome additions or comments and can be contacted here .


Tracing British merchant seamen can be difficult because records are dispersed between a number of different archives. You need to know:
  • the name of the ship the seaman sailed on;
  • the ship's Official Number;
  • the year(s) the seaman served on that ship; and
  • where the Crew Lists & Agreements for that ship and those years are archived.
A ship's Official Number was the unique number given to a British ship when it was first registered. It was retained by the ship throughout its life, even if the ship was re-named. In the archives, ships are indexed by official number rather than by name.

Records of Crew Lists & Agreements are divided between a number of archives. All surviving records (they are incomplete) for 1747-1860 are held at the National Archives, Kew. From 1861 onwards the records are divided between the National Archives, Kew, the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, various county record offices and archives across Britain, and some archives abroad with the bulk held in the Maritime History Archive, Memorial University, St John's, Newfoundland, Canada.

The Register of Seamen's Tickets, which covers the period 1845-1854, is held at the National Archives, Kew. It records information such as previous occupation, height, hair colour, eye colour and complexion that is not available in crew lists. However some birth dates that are recorded are suspect, and some tickets were issued with few or no identification details entered in the register.

To download Records of Tiree Mariners, a searchable spreadsheet of Tiree-born seamen recorded in Crew Lists & Agreements and other sources, click here .

To download a searchable spreadsheet of Tiree-born seamen recorded in the Register of Seamen's Service & Tickets 1845-1854, click here .