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Source Information

Ancestry.com. Dorset, England, Crew Lists, 1863-1914 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011. This collection was indexed by Ancestry World Archives Project contributors.
Original data: Dorset Crew Lists. Dorchester, Dorset: Dorset History Centre.

About Dorset, England, Crew Lists, 1863-1914

This database contains various crew lists for ships associated with Dorset ports.

Historical Background

Crew lists and agreements for British-registered merchant ships had their beginnings in 1835 with the Merchant Shipping Act. Crew lists were required twice a year from ships involved in “home trade,” meaning the vessels operated in British waters. Agreements were created for foreign-going vessels for each voyage. Log books were not required until 1850 and became more common in the 20th century.

What You May Find in the Records

This database contains all three record types—lists, agreements, and log books—each of which lists details about crew members and their service onboard. Port information can be searched through the Lived In field. Typically, the records will include the following information:

  • name
  • age
  • birthplace
  • birth year
  • nationality
  • date signed on and off the ship
  • ship name, port, registry date, master’s name

Records may also include details about a sailor’s duties, disciplinary action, or ship served on prior to the present vessel. Some forms also distinguish apprentices on board or provide details on individuals who died during the voyage. The year range of these records includes the Boer War.

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