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What’s avail­able on­line and in the ar­chives

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So how can we use th­ese new naval records for re­search? Typ­i­cally, they are a list of ships that the man has served on with the date he joined the ship and the date he left.

It of­ten gives his age when he joined the ship as well as a ref­er­ence to his char­ac­ter. Note that it will not give de­tails of his fam­ily. How­ever, there are ways of tak­ing this re­search fur­ther now that you know the ships he served on.

Ap­pli­ca­tions and cer­tifi­cates of ser­vice

The record se­ries ADM 73, which is avail­able at The Na­tional Ar­chives, con­tains the ap­pli­ca­tions and the cer­tifi­cates of ser­vice for In Pen­sion­ers at Green­wich Hos­pi­tal. While the cer­tifi­cates will du­pli­cate the in­for­ma­tion in ADM 29, the let­ters of ap­pli­ca­tion can add ex­tra de­tail. ADM 73 also con­tains the ap­pli­ca­tions for Green­wich Hos­pi­tal School, which can give a great deal of ad­di­tional fam­ily in­for­ma­tion.

Once you know the name of the ship, it is then pos­si­ble to search for the ships’ logs, musters and pay books.

Th­ese records will put flesh on the bare bones of the list of ships in ADM 29. Th­ese are orig­i­nal doc­u­ments and will re­quire a visit to The Na­tional Ar­chives in Kew.

Pay books

It is the pay books that the orig­i­nal ADM 29 reg­is­ters were com­piled from and they ac­tu­ally cover a much greater time pe­riod than that se­ries.

The books in ADM 32 cover dates 1692-1856, in ADM 33 they cover the dates 16691778, in ADM 34 they cover dates 1766-1785 and in ADM 35 it’s 1777-1832.

Ships musters

The Ships Musters can give much ad­di­tional in­for­ma­tion about the man and cover dates from 1688-1878 in se­ries ADM 36 to ADM 39.

Cap­tains’ logs

To find out where your an­ces­tor served and more about daily life on board ship you can con­sult the logs, of which there are sev­eral types. ADM 51 con­tains the cap­tains’ logs and cov­ers the pe­riod 1669-1852. They con­tain de­tails of rou­tine du­ties and de­tails the cap­tain was obliged to record and much he thought was rel­e­vant.

Masters’ logs

There are also masters’ logs in ADM 52, which cover the years 1772-1840 and th­ese record ships’ move­ments and weather con­di­tions and were mainly used for nav­i­ga­tion pur­poses. There are sup­ple­men­tary masters’ logs in ADM 54.

Ships’ logs

Then there are ships’ logs in ADM 53 which even­tu­ally su­percedes the pre­vi­ous logs and th­ese cover 1799-1965.

Al­lot­ment reg­is­ters

Cur­rently be­ing cat­a­logued by ships’ name are the al­lot­ment reg­is­ters in ADM 27. Th­ese reg­is­ters were used to record al­lot­ted pay home and give de­tails of who the pay was go­ing to – usu­ally a wife or mother but not ex­clu­sively so – but it will give you the re­cip­i­ent’s full name and ad­dress and how many de­pen­dant boys and girls there are in the fam­ily. It will also give you the amount of money that was be­ing sent home and where the re­cip­i­ent went to col­lect it.

An il­lus­tra­tion of a Green­wich Pen­sioner c1800

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