The National Archives Trafalgar Ancestors
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Searching the Trafalgar ancestors database

Basic search

On the basic search screen, you can search for your ancestor by surname (last name).

Remember, spellings were not standardised in previous centuries, so if you are sure that your ancestor was at Trafalgar, and you can't find them by surname, try using the * symbol to widen your search.

For example: Brook* will find Brooke, Brookes, Brooks

If you think that the first letter of the name might have been mis-transcribed, you could search for *rook*

If you are not at all sure of the spelling, you could even try *ro*k* to find a wide variety of names that match that pattern.

Advanced search

On the advanced search screen, you can search by:

  • first name
  • last name
  • approximate age at the Battle of Trafalgar (21 October 1805)
  • birth place
  • ship's name
  • rating or rank

You can search on one field only, or a combination of fields.

For example, you could search for:

  • all the people from a particular place
  • all those serving who were a particular age at the time of the battle
  • all who were a certain rank or rating
  • all those serving on a particular ship

Place searches

The place search fill find exact matches only, unless you use the * symbol.

So, to find everybody who is described as having been born in England, search for *England*

This is because the majority of those born in England, also have a town and county information in the field.

Advanced search tips

The more fields you fill in, the fewer results you will get.

Remember, that people did not always give the same place of birth, or even age when they registered for service.

For example, one sailor known as Lorenzo (it is unclear whether this is his first or last name) is described in three different official documents as being born in France, the West Indies and lastly Martinique. One record states he was aged 34 when he joined the ship, another states 45!


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