To access these records you will either need to visit us, pay for research (£) or, where you can identify a specific record reference, order a copy (£).
Ships’ muster rolls, 1747-1834
From 1747 masters or owners of merchant ships were required to keep a muster roll giving details of the number of crewmen and the ship’s voyages.
Ships’ muster rolls, recording very brief details of crew, survive for a few ports only:
- Shields and other northern ports from 1747
- Plymouth from 1761
- Dartmouth from 1770
- Liverpool from 1772
- other ports from 1800
Search the muster rolls in BT 98 by date range and port of registry:
We provide more advice on finding muster rolls in our guide to these records.
Agreements and crew lists, 1835-1860
In 1835, following the Merchant Shipping Act, muster books were replaced by similar records known as ‘agreements and crew lists’.
You can search for agreements and crew lists by ships’ port of registry (1835-1844), alphabetical ranges of ships’ names (1845-1856) or numerical ranges of ships’ numbers (1857-1860) in BT 98.
There is more advice on finding agreements and crew lists in our more in-depth guide to these records.
Agreements and crew lists, 1861-1938
The National Archives holds a 10% sample of agreements and crew lists for 1861 to 1938, held in record series BT 99.
Search the agreements and crew lists in BT 99 by the ship’s official number for the period 1861 to 1938.
There is more advice on finding agreements and crew lists, 1861-1938 in our more in-depth guide to these records.
Merchant Navy apprentices, 1824-1953
Browse the indexes of apprentices registered in the merchant navy in BT 150. Please note the indexes for 1824-1910 are available online (see above).
These are indexes to the apprentices’ indentures in BT 151 and BT 152. Browse BT 151 and BT 152 by date and by port. Please note only a sample survive (a two month sample for every five years).