Photograph of a group of Customs officers (Catalogue reference: CUST 143/15)

This is a brief guide to help you with your research. The National Archives holds most surviving English and many surviving Irish records of Customs officers. There is no single index of people or places that can be used to find service records, so your search for information might require some patience.

  • What do I need to know before I start?

    • Try to find out:

      • in which county the person was posted
      • the dates of his service
  • What records can I see online?

    • Consult Parliamentary Papers for published reports of Customs activities. They can be searched online from subscribing organisations.

  • What other resources will help me find information?

    • Books

      Consult Ham's Customs Year Book and Ham's Inland Revenue Year Book, available in major research libraries. These are indexed directories of Customs officers, Excise men and Inland Revenue officials covering 1875 to 1930.

Did you know?

Customs officers were introduced to collect duty on imported and exported goods and to prevent smuggling.

In 1849 the Board of Excise was amalgamated with the Board of Stamps and Taxes to form the Board of Inland Revenue. In 1909 the Board of Customs and the Board of Excise merged.