Findmypast.co.uk have recently released another new record collection, the Merchant Navy seamen 1918-1941 records which contains image of index cards from The National Archives series BT348, BT349 and BT350. According to The National Archives the cards were part of the CR2 Central Indexed Register kept by the Registrar General of Shipping and Seaman and “each card typically gives the following information: discharge A number; certificate of company number; name of seaman; year and place of birth; rank or rating; name and official number of ship and date of engagement of service. Frequently, on the reverse of the card, can be found a list of the vessels on which the crewman served.”
According to the Findmypast.co.uk news release,
It is possible to find a photograph of your ancestor within these records. These rarely seen photos of the mariners mean you can see what your seafaring ancestor looked like for the first time – a real achievement for any family historian.
You can find out more about researching merchant seaman in The National Archives research guide on the subject.
So what’s in it for me…
The short answer is nothing or at least nothing yet. As far as I can remember there are only two people in my family tree who made their living from the sea, if you don’t count those who served during the two World Wars, and they were serving with the Royal Navy.
After a few preliminary searches I have been unable to identify anyone in the collection who might be a relative, but I am sure eventually someone will come out of the woodwork who might be in this collection.