Death at sea records archives

There are also examples of births and marriages within these records, with BT entirely dedicated to births onboard ships.

As the majority of the ships included were passenger ships, which would travel across the world from America, to the UK and Australia, people met and fell in love and often married onboard. From , the RGSS was required to report births and deaths at sea, aboard all ships registered in Britain or its colonies and on foreign-registered ships carrying passengers to or from the UK, to the Registrars General of England and Wales, Scotland and Ireland the General Register Offices.

The name of this series is misleading as it includes events related to persons of any nationality, not just British nationals. It should also cover events on foreign-registered passenger ships travelling to or from a UK port, but there is little evidence of this in the registers themselves.


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There are separate volumes for England, Scotland and Ireland corresponding to the GRO to whom the details were to be reported. The registers for England include all events not reported to the GROs for Scotland and Ireland and thus contain entries for foreign nationals as well as those for English and Welsh subjects.

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Back to Featured Articles. Find out who you are at one of the largest family history events in the UK! Find Out More. School admission registers.

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Skip to main content. Family History Research Our records once documented interactions between your ancestors and the state. Researching the records Our records are arranged according to the government agency which created them, and reflect the responsibilities assigned to them at the time. Other sources Depending on the nature of your research other institutions or service centres may hold information on your ancestors.

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We maintain a printed reference collection of books and pamphlets covering various topics. Key facts Starting family history research Find out as much as you can from within your own family by talking to relatives and examining family documents eg: family Bibles, Birth, Death and Marriage certificates.


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Make a plan of the people you wish to research and the questions you wish to have answered. Variations in spelling The spelling of surnames may change over time, possible variations should be considered. Changes of name in early colonial era may not have been officially recorded.

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Some people may not have known how their names were spelled. Some may have been recorded from a verbal report or with a clerical error.


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They also allow you to search for an individual ship should you know its name. Be warned that some years are absent from the record, and any marriage which took place on board a merchant ship was not legally valid. Most records from ships that belonged to former colonies were retained within the former colony and are most likely not held at the National Archives, but 'elsewhere' can still be in the UK.

Passenger lists can be of great help: FamilySearch has over record sets in their Migration and Naturalization collection, most of which are passenger lists from various countries worldwide.