David Suchet had always been fond of boats so wanted to know if he had any seafaring ancestors. He discovered that his maternal great great grandfather, George Jezzard, was a mariner in the latter part of the 19th century. David traced his 40-year career, which included the wrecking of a ship that George was master of.
We traced George’s career using extant sources at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich ( rmg.co.uk). These included George’s master mariner’s certificate and also entries in Lloyd’s
List. The latter contained details of the shipwreck that George was involved in in 1860. David next consulted local newspapers to uncover the details of the shipwreck during a storm.
Further details about merchant mariner records at the NMM can be found here: rmg.co.uk/discover/ researchers/research- guides/ research-guide- c2- merchantnavy-tracing-people- master
mariners. Depending on when your ancestor was a master mariner, there may also be records at The National Archives: nationalarchives.gov.uk/ help-with-your- research/ research- guides/officersmerchant- navy. Since David’s episode aired, many new master mariner records have been uploaded to Ancestry and Findmypast. Many newspapers are now available to view online for a fee at british newspaper archive.co.uk as well.