Glasgow City Archives (GCA) hold a small selection of crew lists and agreements, log books, shipping registers and records of shipping companies that can help you find information on merchant seamen.
British registered merchant ships were required to submit regular crew lists and agreements, which include:
- year and place of birth
- date of signing on and off the vessel
- previous vessel served on
GCA holds some crew agreements for eleven vessels that landed at Glasgow’s ports covering 1863-1901 (ref: TD1856), which are also available through the Ancestry website. GCA also holds crew lists and agreements for ships owned by Hugh Hogarth & Co., 1861-1890 (ref: TD816/37) and Lyle Shipping Co. (ref: TD565).
Various types of record can survive as part of an individual shipping company’s archive, including ship log books, voyages and sailings books. Log books were updated with details of accidents, illness, death and disciplinary action on board the vessel and often also include a list of the ship’s crew. GCA holds a small number of log books and records of various Glasgow-based shipping companies including Roxburgh, Richardson & Co., Aitken, Lilburn & Co. and Burns & Laird.
Local Customs and Excise officials created shipping registers, which record details of title and property rights in a ship from its construction until its registration is closed. The registers list the captain of a ship and are also useful as individual seamen often owned shares in ships. GCA holds shipping registers including those for Glasgow (ref: CE59/11) and Campbeltown (ref: CE82/11).
After 1855, the death of a seaman on a British-registered merchant ship was recorded in the Marine Register, provided that they were usually resident in Scotland. Entries in this register can include both merchant seamen and others on board ship (e.g. passengers). The register has been digitally imaged. Copies of these images, together with a full index, are one of the many resources available as part of the ScotlandsPeople network which you can access in the Registrars Genealogy Service on payment of a daily fee.
The Register of Deceased Seamen, 1886-1952, is held by Special Collections. This is similar to the Marine Register but only lists seamen whose deaths occurred at sea and provides information such as:
- name of ship
- cause of death
- where the seaman came from