Research References

The material on this site has been obtained from original sources such as Admiralty and Board of Trade Wreck Returns , The Life Boat Journal, Lloyd's List and contemporary newspapers rather than from recently published books or other maritime websites.


Board of Trade

Great Britain Board of Trade Registers and Indexes of Wrecks - 1855 to 1898. This list is available on a series of 30 volumes that has been reproduced on 14 reels of microfilm by the National Maritime Museum.Information includes British vessels lost throughout the world.
These reports are now held at the Southampton Reference Library, The Civic Centre, Southampton SO14 7LW.


Lloyd's List

Lloyd's List is a British publication that gives details of vessel movements, marine casualties, and other information of interest to the merchant shipping community.
The main series of indexes, covering ship movements and casualties 1838 to October 1927, are on microfilm at the following locations


The Mercantile Navy List

The Mercantile Navy List, compiled by the Registrar General of Shipping and Seamen, was first published from 1849 to 1855, and annually thereafter from 1857 until 1976 excluding 1941 to 1946, during the Second World War. Monthly supplements were issued under various titles from 1886.

As the official, comprehensive listing of all merchant vessels registered under the British flag, it is one of the most important reference tools for anyone researching the history of British merchant shipping, and includes many ships not listed in its nearest equivalent, Lloyd's Register.

It provides basic information on each ship, which can be used to trace other records and to compile an outline history of a ship and its owners. Early volumes also include useful appendices, such as lists of pilots, receivers of wreck, and obituaries, and records of awards and testimonials for services at sea.

There are sometimes differences between the names of a ship`s owner and manager between Mercantile Navy List and Lloyd`s Register of Ships. Mercantile Navy List gives name of the Managing Share Holder, whereas Lloyd`s Register of Ships prefers to direct its readers to a firm of shipowners or managers.

Mercantile Navy Lists for the years 1858-1860-1870-1880-1890-1900 are being transcribed by the clip project and are included in search results for individual vessels

Crew List Index Project >>


Lloyd's Register

Lloyd's Register of Shipping is an annual list of merchant ships. The earliest known surviving issue dates from 1764. Copies exist almost continuously from 1775 to the present.

Researchers consulting Lloyd's Register should bear in mind that although the information in Lloyd's Register was considered current at the time of publication, this information in particular with regard to the identities of the master and owner was often out of date occasionally by several years. In addition, vessels lost or "sold foreign" might continue in the Register for several years until the society was formally notified of their fate or disposition.

Lloyd's Register of Shipping is a voluntary classification society and until 1875 its published volumes list only those vessels it had surveyed and classed. As a result many smaller vessels and many early steamships do not appear in the published volumes of Lloyd's Register. Since 1875 Lloyd's Register has included all British vessels of 100 tons and over, whether or not surveyed and classed by Lloyd's. Until 1890 Lloyd's Register was almost exclusively confined to British registered vessels although it included some foreign vessels that traded regularly with Great Britain, since 1890 it has listed all British and Foreign sea-going merchant vessels of 100 tons and over.