Sunday, 7 December 2008

Irish merchant seamen database 1918-21

Here's one that slipped past the radar when it was launched, but it is a cracker. If you have merchant seamen from Ireland who worked between 1918 and 1921, pop along to David Snook's website at , which contains details of almost 22,800 Irish merchant seamen, as held at Southampton Civic Archives under accession number CR10.

Here' some background, as noted on David's site:

The British Board of Trade began a central index for merchant seamen in 1913. During the Great War, the seamen's union, under James Havelock Wilson, successfully resisted attempts to make them subject to naval discipline and liable for conscription. The origin of the identity card scheme is in the manpower crisis of 1918. The government wanted to check that men registered as merchant seamen went to sea, and were not using the system to avoid conscription. The original index cards are held in Southampton Civic Archives and cover a multinational workforce of 270,000 seamen. (CR10 series) All jobs and ranks are covered. Each card lists personal and foreign voyages detail for the seaman together with a photograph to match that on the seaman's identity card. The overall standard of the photographs is very good. The system operated from late 1918 until the end of 1921. It is surprising that it continued after the war because the clerical cost to operate it must have been considerable. It is also fortunate that Irish born seamen are included because they were not liable for conscription. The system was simplified with no photographs in 1922.

A wonderful website.

Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

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