What’s available online and in the archives
What records are available for passengers involved in shipwrecks, and how can you get the most out of them? No single source is likely to tell you everything that you want to know, and you often need to look at a few different ones to build up the complete story of a ship that was lost at sea.
Registers of deaths at sea
Four sets of registers at The National Archives have been digitised and can be searched by passenger name. BT158 to BT160 covers 1854-1908 and are on bmdregisters.co.uk and thegenealogist.co.uk, whereas BT334 has deaths from 1891 to 1972 and can be searched via findmypast. co.uk, along with other series including from the Colonial Office. The registers differ in information they provide, but generally include passengers’ names, their ship, cause and date of death. Occasionally other details are provided such as age and address. They are incomplete as many ship losses were not documented.
more detailed. Don’t forget this might include foreign ports, in which case you mustn’t overlook newspapers from overseas. Try the British Newspaper Archive at britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk which is also on findmypast. co.uk. For overseas newspapers, go to en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Wikipedia: List_of_online_ newspaper_ archives.
lost, and from 1876 they have been digitised ( www.plimsoll. org/ WrecksAndAccidents/ wreckreports). Each year’s inquiries are indexed by vessel name. There is often a wealth of detail on the circumstances of the loss, as well as lists of survivors and victims.
A Board of Trade inquiry document into the SS