Jonathan Scott

Was your an­ces­tor a Jack Tar? Per­haps they fought in Nelson’s navy? Th­ese web­sites can help you find out more about their life and ca­reer, writes

Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine - - GEM FROM THE ARCHIVE -

It’s no ex­ag­ger­a­tion to say that the course of his­tory dur­ing the 19th cen­tury was shaped and dom­i­nated by Bri­tain’s navy.

From the great tri­umph of Nelson at the Bat­tle of Trafal­gar in 1805, through the ‘Pax Bri­tan­nica’ – a pe­riod of rel­a­tive peace when Bri­tain con­sol­i­dated and ex­panded its em­pire to be­come the dom­i­nant global power – to the eve of the Boer War. The Royal Navy con­trolled most key mar­itime trade routes and en­joyed vir­tu­ally un­chal­lenged sea power.

For the fam­ily his­to­rian with 19th-cen­tury sea­far­ing an­ces­tors, there is a huge quan­tity of pri­mary and sec­ondary sources avail­able, through of­fi­cial ar­chive web­sites, repos­i­to­ries and mu­se­ums. Visit a few am­a­teur web­sites or fo­rums and you will quickly find dizzy­ing lev­els of ex­per­tise.

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