Researching individual sailors and marines

Please post all research regarding individual Victorian soldiers and sailors here, including requests for information!

Researching individual sailors and marines

Postby Liz » 12 Mar 2009 02:37

We are developing a growing body of tips on researching individuals associated with the army... but what about the Royal Navy? If you have any expertise in this area, please post some tips here for the rest of us.
User avatar
Liz
Forum Moderator
 
Posts: 821
Joined: 21 Jun 2008 01:53
Location: Australia

Re: Researching individual sailors and marines

Postby Jonathan » 12 Mar 2009 03:52

I would not say I have expertise in this field. None whatsoever, in fact! However, Google Books has a number of Navy Lists available online for those researching officers of the RN:

http://books.google.com/books?q=edition ... =firefox-a
User avatar
Jonathan
Forum Moderator
 
Posts: 1452
Joined: 15 Nov 2007 17:52
Location: Wisconsin

Re: Researching individual sailors and marines

Postby siegebatteries » 12 Mar 2009 20:29

Although also no expert, I have had a little experience in this while researching a great uncle who was a Royal Marine and then a Naval rating! (Two for the price of one!).
The records were available as downloads through TNA’s DocumentsOnline relatively cheaply. TNA’s on-line search is pretty efficient and so if you know the chap’s name, and date of birth, it is fairly easy to find the relevant file in either the Registers of Seamen’s Services (catalogue ref ADM 188/…) or Royal Marines Register of Service (catalogue ref ADM 159/...) (Place of birth also shown on seaman’s index).
However, these records don’t cover the whole period – the naval registers are for men who joined between 1853 and 1923, the Marines, from 1842 to 1936. Whether records outside these timespans exist but are not yet on-line, I don’t know.
TNA have a number of other Naval records on-line, but I have not had any need to look at these.
The service records then list the ships (including the shore stations) the marine/sailor served in with dates of each posting, plus details of rank or rating, promotions, good conduct badges etc. The marine records also have details of training – musketry, gunnery etc
The problems with the records were more concerned with poor handwriting than jargon/unknown abbreviations but lots of info was eventually teased out of the records and I was able to piece a virtually complete service history for my man.
I looked on Wikipedia for each of the ships listed. This was very useful, determining the type of vessel, or location of shore station, and in most cases the Wiki had details of where ships were at the relevant times so it would be possible to see if an individual marine/sailor was likely to have been in a particular theatre/action.
I know there are experts out there who can help with specific problems - and many thanks to those that helped me a few months ago!
20th Foot in SA and Mauritius 1868-1872 / Ashantee War 1873-1874 /Imperial Yeomanry 1899-1902 / Royal Marine LI 1900/1908 / Royal Navy and the China Station 1908-1914
User avatar
siegebatteries
Participating Member
 
Posts: 113
Joined: 20 Nov 2008 11:48
Location: South West France

Re: Researching individual sailors and marines

Postby PaulBudden » 19 Mar 2009 16:55

Also being a complete newcomer to this side of family hisory research, I would be very interested and grateful to know what and how to obtain? on line information and from other sources for service and muster records etc - period 1839 - 1885 Please

Many thanks Paul
Perceive those things, which cannot be seen.

-- Musashi
User avatar
PaulBudden
New Member
 
Posts: 10
Joined: 17 Mar 2009 09:31
Location: Amersham, Bucks

Re: Researching individual sailors and marines

Postby Jonathan » 19 Mar 2009 16:58

Paul,
The Useful Links sub-forum has a number of websites that are useful for research.

Jonathan
User avatar
Jonathan
Forum Moderator
 
Posts: 1452
Joined: 15 Nov 2007 17:52
Location: Wisconsin

Re: Researching individual sailors and marines

Postby DavidB » 20 Mar 2009 14:42

As a previous poster mentioned, because RN and RM service papers are online, often individuals are easier to research than soldiers. :D

1. Other ranks (RN) service records 1853-1923 are online - ADM139
2. Officers (RN) service records 1756-1917 are online - ADM196
3. Other ranks (RM) service records 1842-1936 are online - ADM159
4. Wills of RN seaman 1786-1882 are online - ADM48
5. Medal rolls - as is the case with the Army, some are published (and forum members have copies of many) and some are not, but all are available at TNA
6. Greenwich Hospital (equivalent to the Army's Chelsea Hospital) has useful records if researching a Naval pensioner. Entry books (ADM73) for the early Victorian period have been transcribed and are available on Kevin Asplin's site. Later entry books are of course at Kew.
http://britishmedals.net/kevin/greenwich.html
7. Once you know what ships an individual served on and some dates, don't forget records of the ship's themselves.
Ship's musters will help you trace an individual down the years, but ship's logs will give you virtually a day-by-day account of where the ship was, what it was up to etc etc

For one of my naval ancestors, I have extracts from the ships logs. More detail than you could possibly wish for!!
User avatar
DavidB
Forum Moderator
 
Posts: 566
Joined: 01 May 2008 19:41

Re: Researching individual sailors and marines

Postby PaulBudden » 21 Mar 2009 11:08

For ships logs and musters, are these also available online or are they stored at Kew?

many thanks
Perceive those things, which cannot be seen.

-- Musashi
User avatar
PaulBudden
New Member
 
Posts: 10
Joined: 17 Mar 2009 09:31
Location: Amersham, Bucks

Re: Researching individual sailors and marines

Postby richard1948 » 19 Jul 2010 15:39

I've tried un successfully to trace two members of the Royal Marine Artillery in the Documents online section of TNA and in the catalogue. (Giles Keene and Francis Cheshire) I'm sure that they served in the marines as I can trace their history on various ships throughout their service through the census. Does anyone have any ideas about where I can go to next in this search?

Thanks

Richard
richard1948
New Member
 
Posts: 8
Joined: 01 Oct 2009 14:25

Re: Researching individual sailors and marines

Postby peterinkent » 08 Sep 2010 20:51

Richard

You do not say when these chaps served. The RMLI and RMA were very late introducing service numbers and as such if a chap left before they were introduced he will not appear in ADM 159 the online records. He will however appear in ADM 157.

Go to the TNA catalogue put the last names in only and restrict the search to ADM 157 and see what turns up sometimes you you have to look at several records. These are original documents and you have to either do it yourself or get somebody to do it for you.

Regards Peter
Author of Ashore and Afloat the RN during the Boer War 1899-1902
User avatar
peterinkent
New Member
 
Posts: 4
Joined: 08 Sep 2010 19:35

Re: Researching individual sailors and marines

Postby steampunk » 16 Apr 2011 00:47

The Fleet Air Arm Museum at Yeovilton, Somerset, by some strange quirk of British administrative thinking, hold the majority of both RMA and RMLI attestation "packs" from the last bit of the 19th century onwards. They also have a comprehensive database but unfortunately, as they don't have the resources, none of this searchable on-line.
The packs basically contain all the documents relating to initial enlistment including physical description, right down to scars or tattooes.
User avatar
steampunk
New Member
 
Posts: 10
Joined: 08 Apr 2011 08:13

Re: Researching individual sailors and marines

Postby peterinkent » 18 Apr 2011 10:20

This is indeed true, however as a rule of thumb if the chap you are researching has a four figure numnber then there is a good chance his record is at Kew in ADM 157, index ADM 158 and if he has a five figure number he probably joined in the 20th century and has a record if it survives at Yeovilton. (this is in addition to ADM 159).

As mentioned they have a data base but not on line yet. The records at Yeovilton are not complete and some divisions of the RM are more complete than others. Likewise some files have been weeded and other have not.

I used to use this archive a lot but have not been for a while so things might have progresed. I hope so.

Peter
Author of Ashore and Afloat the RN during the Boer War 1899-1902
User avatar
peterinkent
New Member
 
Posts: 4
Joined: 08 Sep 2010 19:35


Return to Researching Individual Soldiers & Sailors

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest