How to look for records of... Royal Navy ratings before 1853
How can I view the records covered in this guide?
This is a brief guide to researching records of Royal Navy ratings before 1853. Royal Naval records are informative and varied, though sometimes complicated. The Royal Navy did not keep individual service records on ratings before 1853, so it can be difficult to trace a person in this period. The majority of records which may help, however, are available at The National Archives.
This guide will help you to find out if the information you are looking for exists and, if it does, where to find it or more information about it.
What do I need to know before I start?
What records can I see online?
What records can I find at The National Archives at Kew?
What records can I find in other archives and organisations?
What other resources will help me find information?
Did you know?
A rating is the most junior class of seaman in the Royal Navy – these are below both commissioned officers and warrant officer in seniority.
Records for ratings in the Royal Navy pre-1853 are incomplete and patchy with no real service registers for personnel.
Description books may contain the following information on a person:
- scars and tattoos