Continuing Research

Published Sources

Lloyd's Register of Shipping and Mercantile Navy List both contain lists of those men who passed the voluntary examination, and the latter includes lists of all those granted certificates Master Mariners Continuing Research, Lloyd's Register of Shipping and Mercantile Navy Listfor some periods, these are readily available at many large libraries and maritime institutions.

Once the various registers and indexes of Masters and Mates have been searched, the next step is to obtain a copy of the man's Application for a certificate. Having passed the examination for a certificate of competency, a man had to make written application for the granting of the certificate. The information was entered in registers and the resultant information is of great value to the researcher.


Applications for certificates (awarded before 1900) are held at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London SE10 9NF. For these, you will need to provide the certificate number. Not all applications have survived. They should include all voyages undertaken over at least the four years prior to the award of the certificate, along with useful biographical information supplied by the applicant. The NMM makes a charge for production of these certificates and has a long waiting period. Their web site is at National Maritime Museum »» They can be contacted by post at the The National Maritime Museum, Romney Road, Greenwich, London SE10 9NF

Later applications are held by the RGSS, Cheviot Close, Parc Ty Glas, Llanishen, Cardiff CF4 5JA.

RGSS records, held in classes with prefix BT are held at The National Archives, Ruskin Avenue, Kew, Surrey, England.National Archives »». National Archives has an ongoing programme of filming documents for conservation purposes, and once filmed the records may become available through maritime archives, or LDS Family History Centres. You would be well advised to check whether the documents have become available locally before making a long journey or employing someone to undertake the research. Some records are still in the process of being transferred to the National Archives and again you should contact them to check access before travelling.

The National Archives will not conduct a search on your behalf but will send out a list of researchers prepared to undertake such work.  They have recently updated the on-line help leaflets available also via their web site. Their catalogue is now on-line and the correct references of the records you need may be ascertained from that.

Note that National Archives references are not LDS references! You will need to identify the correct LDS film reference for ordering purposes by using their own catalogue. Their catalogue is now also available online. Family Search »»