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Source Information

Ancestry.com. UK and Ireland, Masters and Mates Certificates, 1850-1927 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012.
Original data: Master's Certificates. Greenwich, London, UK: National Maritime Museum.

About UK and Ireland, Masters and Mates Certificates, 1850-1927

This database contains master and mate certificates issued to merchant seamen by the British Board of Trade.

What You May Find in the Records

Great Britain has long been known for its maritime prowess in both military and commercial spheres. The certificates and other documents included in this database were issued to merchant seamen who qualified as masters or mates aboard merchant ships. Records include certificates of competency, certificates of service, examination applications, and other documents. Forms vary, but they may include the following details:

  • name
  • certificate number
  • birth date
  • birthplace
  • issue port
  • issue date
  • address
  • examination date
  • history of service (dates, vessels, occupations, years in service)

Some of the information is included on the back of the certificates, and some documents in a seaman’s folder have not been indexed, so when you find a record, use the arrows to browse surrounding documents to make sure you see all the records available. You may want to browse through an entire roll since the original folders were sometimes filed in random order.