Friday, 7 August 2015

UK Apprentices Indentured in Merchant Navy 1824-1910 on Ancestry

Ancestry has added a new collection, UK, Apprentices Indentured in Merchant Navy, 1824-1910, which can be located at

From the site:

About UK, Apprentices Indentured in Merchant Navy, 1824-1910
This collection contains lists of young men who were indentured to merchant navy ships between the years 1824 and 1910. They include details such as name, age and date at registration or indenture, vessel, port of registry, and birth year and place.

Historical Background
The National Archives describes the legislation that brought these records about: Under the Merchant Seamen, etc, Act 1823 (4 Geo IV c 25) Masters of British merchant ships of 80 tons and over were required to carry a given number of indentured apprentices. These had to be duly enrolled with the local Customs Officer. These provisions were extended by the Merchant Seamen Act 1835 (5 & 6 Wm IV c 19) which provided for the registration of these indentures. In London they were registered with the General Register and Record Office of Seamen and in other ports with the Customs officers who were required to submit quarterly lists to the Registrar General. In 1844 it was provided for copies of the indentures to be sent to the Registrar General, and although compulsory apprenticeship was abolished in 1849 the system of registration was maintained. Under the Merchant Shipping Act 1894 (57 & 58 Vict c 60) a parallel arrangement was introduced for apprentices on fishing boats.

The collection has been sourced from the National Archives in England, in Board of Trade collection BT 150/1-53, the Registry of Shipping and Seamen: Index of Apprentices.


For details on my genealogy guide books, including my recently released Discover Irish Land Records and Down and Out in Scotland: Researching Ancestral Crisis, please visit

1 comment:

  1. I'm getting lots of missing images on this collection - I just see what looks like a composite Ancestry advert. Possibly also worth pointing out that these are not the indentures themselves, rather these are the index books created by the Registrar General of Shipping & Seamen. The indexes point to the actual indentures that would have been in BT151 and BT152 - except that only a sample (every 5y) were kept to go into those 2 classes.