Sunday 21 August 2016

WW2 Merchant Navy deaths and Bexley records join Ancestry

The following collections have been released by Ancestry (

UK, Merchant Seamen Deaths, 1939 -1953
Source: Lists of Merchant Seamen Deaths. National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, UK.

This collection details the names of over 50,000 merchant seamen who lost their lives during and just after WWII. The Merchant Navy during this time was made up of approximately 185,000 seamen, including 40,000 men of Indian, Chinese and other nationalities. When war broke out, the merchant fleet, which was the largest in the world, was put under the control of the Ministry of Shipping, later part of the Ministry of War Transport. The most significant battle that involved the merchant navy was the Battle of the Atlantic, during which the merchant fleet, with its naval escorts, struggled to bring food, fuel, equipment and raw materials from America and elsewhere across the Atlantic, while Germany mobilized U-boats, battleships, aircraft and mines against them in an attempt to sever Britain's supply lines.

Please note that the organisation of the collection on Ancestry reflects the way that the original data is arranged at the National Maritime Museum.

Bexley, Kent, England, WWI Registration Cards, 1914-1919
Source: Bexley World War I registration cards. The Mayor & Burgesses of the London Borough of Bexley, Kent, England

The first National Registration exercise in the United Kingdom was taken during the First World War. The basis behind the exercise was to identify the number of men within the population available to fight. Existing statistics were judged to be insufficiently accurate and the Cabinet decided to resolve the matter through the introduction of national registration. Under the National Registration Bill, personal information on all the adult population was compiled in locally-held registers, and identity cards were issued.

Bexley, Kent, England, Electoral Registers, 1734-1965
Source: Bexley Electoral Registers. The Mayor & Burgesses of the London Borough of Bexley, Kent, England.

This database contains yearly registers listing names and residences of people in Bexley, Kent, who were eligible to vote in elections. These year-by-year registers can help place your ancestors in a particular place and possibly also reveal a bit about property they owned.

Further details are available via the links.


For details on my genealogy guide books, including A Decade of Irish Centenaries: Researching Ireland 1912-1923Discover Scottish Church Records (2nd edition), Discover Irish Land Records and Down and Out in Scotland: Researching Ancestral Crisis, please visit

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