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ENGLISH & WELSH ROOTS - Maritime Records & Resources, Part 1
Article posted: February 11, 2000
By: Fawne Stratford-Devai   Biography & Archived Articles

This issue of English and Welsh Roots was originally designed to be the third article in a series to help researchers locate information for ancestors who served in the British Military. As an article began to unfold about records of the Merchant Navy, it became quite clear that many who served in the Merchant Navy were also merchant seamen or had other maritime experience. Quickly, the lines between the official records of the Royal Navy, merchant navy, reserves and general records of English seamen became blurred by the movement of men between different classifications of maritime work. For this reason, the article stands alone as a discussion about resources available for English maritime research. In order to properly cover the variety of records and resources available, the article will continue in the next issue of English & Welsh Roots.

Great Britain has a long history of maritime exploration, conquest and commerce. Many thousands of individuals served their country in some form of maritime work or in the various ports and dockyards. It would not be surprising for modern family historians with English or Welsh roots to find evidence in a census, family papers, oral history traditions or vital records that an ancestor was a seamen. Many family stories recount a distant ancestor who supposedly sailed the world. Still other legends recount a little known ancestor who jumped ship at New York or Halifax or Quebec City, never to return to the sea.

Researchers undertaking the search for a seamen ancestor often look upon the task as a daunting one. Unlike those who served in the official government-sponsored navy, the men who worked on commercial vessels were often more transient in their service and their records are more difficult to locate (if they exist at all). Complicating research further is the need to understand not only records and resources available for seamen, but for ships and shipping companies also.

Fortunately, modern researchers have a variety of resources available to them. A great many of these records are housed in the Public Record Office (PRO) in England. Many more records are available in maritime museums. The Maritime History Archive at Memorial University in St. John's has a number of crew lists and logbooks, vessel registers, shipping lists, information on captains, voyages, and shipwrecks. There are also a number of solid references and guides to assist researchers on the internet. Increasingly, transcriptions and indexes to original records are also becoming available online.

Researchers should be cautioned against assuming complete and extensive records exist for all who experienced some form of maritime service. Unfortunately detailed family history information about an individual is not always available in the records that survive today. For example, information leaflets at the Public Record Office (PRO) warn of the lack of seamen's records before 1835.

Most maritime records fall into one of two groups: records of seamen vs. records of ships. For this reason, the discussion of primary records and other resources in this article will examine as independently as possible, records of seamen from records of ships.

While some crew lists from merchant vessels exist from about 1747, there are no comprehensive or systematic primary records for merchant seamen before 1835. The book Records of Merchant Shipping and Seamen (Available from at 1 800 361-5168 or email at, Catalog# 06021993) by Kelvin Smith, Christopher T Watts and Michael J Watts is probably the most valuable resource for helping researchers to understand not only pre-1835 records, but the many resources and primary records available for tracing seamen.

Before 1835 it will be necessary for researchers to use their imagination to find instances where their ancestors service was noted in some form of official government records. For example, some merchant seamen served for periods in the Royal Navy; other official records related to taxation or apprenticeships may contain useful information. From 1710 to 1811 a tax was imposed on apprenticeship indentures. Records which survive as a result of this tax include Apprenticeship Books at the PRO in IR 1 and modern indexes to these records (1710-1774) found in IR 17. However, some pre-1835 records do exist for some ports.

Agreements, Muster Rolls/Crew Lists: 1747~1860
Beginning in 1747 masters or owners of merchant ships were required to keep muster rolls (or muster books) for each voyage with information about: names of officers, seamen or others employed on the ship; their usual place of abode; when they joined the ship; and the name of the ship in which they last sailed. These muster rolls are essentially a ship's crew list. The reason the rolls were compiled at all appears to be because the government wanted to collect revenue from a seamen's wage for a seamen's relief fund or to know the names, ratings and service of seamen in order to recruit them for service in the Royal Navy in time of war.

Muster rolls before 1800 survive only for Shields (1747--), Dartmouth (1770--), Liverpool (1772--) and Plymouth (from 1761--). Muster rolls which do survive are filed at the PRO with Agreements and Crew Lists in the Board of Trade records (BT 98 - Series I). Rolls before 1800 rolls Scarborough can found in a separate group of records at the PRO - CUST 91/111-112. Muster rolls were compiled up to 1851 but the information they offer researchers is not as detailed as the information found in Agreements and Crew Lists beginning in 1835.

Although Muster Rolls exist for more ports after 1800, they are filled by port and by year. This means that researchers must know a man's home port before they can search for the ship on which he served. As with many archival records, the Muster Rolls are not indexed.

The Merchant Shipping Act of 1835 required the registration of all merchant seamen. Masters of any ships in the UK that sailed to foreign waters and registered ships of 80 tons or more which operated in the UK coastal trade or fisheries were required to carry on board a written agreement with every seaman employed.

Crew agreements were really just a contract between a seaman and his employer. Crew agreements after 1857 offer more detailed information about the ship's crew, apprentices and the ship's travels. If a ship was operating in United Kingdom (UK) waters or up to Northern Europe and Baltic ports (otherwise known as the "Home Trade"), the records of crew agreements were submitted semi-annually and usually include the list of sailings and arrivals for the half-year. If a ship operated in foreign waters (the "Foreign Trade"), agreements were sent in at the end of every voyage but usually are not as detailed as those agreements from Home Trade ships because they usually only include very general voyage descriptions with dates.

Crew agreements are held by the PRO and filled with Agreements and Crew Lists in BT 98, series I. Crew agreements usually include: name, date and place seaman joined the ship; place of birth; wage rate; his position (e.g. mate or regular seaman); date and place he left the ship; the previous ship on which he served and; the nature of the voyage. Even if a seaman joined the ship at a foreign port partway through a journey, a crew agreement was required. Before 1854, agreements and lists are filled by the port and registry number. To locate the agreements it is necessary for researchers to use the Registers of Seamen which are discussed below.

Between 1857 and 1859 the lists are arranged by year and official ship's number. If a ship's name is known, its official number will be recorded in Lloyd's Register of Shipping or in the Mercantile Navy List. Lloyd's Register will be discussed in more detail under the heading Ships records.

A note of caution: Researchers must remember that all records have their limitations. In the case of the agreements, crew lists/muster rolls, their accuracy depends of whether the Master of the Ship recorded information on the list correctly and whether the seaman gave him the correct information.

As noted above, the Merchant Shipping Act of 1835 required the Masters/Skippers of all ships to file Crew Lists and Agreements. Consequently, beginning in 1835, the Register Office of Merchant Seamen compiled registers of all seamen from the crew lists and agreements submitted. These registers act as an index or entry point for researchers to trace merchant seamen. The registers are essential for finding the cross reference to a particular ships crew list or a ships log. The indexes and registers at the PRO cover the period 1835-1857.

The registers can be very time consuming to search. It is important that researchers understand that several different series of registers were created over time. Although the different series of registers varied in the way information was recorded, they can provide invaluable information about a seamen's service record, including a physical description of the man and the destinations their service on a ship took them.

Registers 1835-1836 (Series I)
Registers from 1835-1836 list seamen's names alphabetically and include age, place of birth, the name of the ship he served on and his position on the ships crew (referred to as a seaman's quality). This first series of registers are in 5 volumes at the PRO filled in the BT 120 - Register of Seamen: Series I. Researchers should make a careful note of the port number and name of the ship in the register which will then lead them back to the crew lists and agreements which are filled by port and ships name.

Registers 1835-1844 (Series II)
Registers for the years 1835-1844 are found in 83 volumes. The registers are in two parts - part 1 for the period 1835-1840 and part 2 for 1842-1844. The registers are differentiated for foreign voyages and the Home Trade. This second series of registers are at the PRO under BT 112 - Register of Seamen - Series II.

Part 1 (1835-1840) is indexed and found in BT 119. The index provides a link from a seaman's name to their reference (registration) number and. Using the reference number in the index, researchers can then locate the seaman in the proper register in BT 112.

Part 2 (1842-1844) can be rather confusing since it may be contained in the same volume as part 1 or in its own volume. Part 2 is pretty much alphabetical but some individual volumes have an index to surnames at the beginning.

Registers of Seamen's Tickets: 1845-1854
In order to more clearly identify and track individual seamen, the Merchant Seamen Act of 1844 required every British seaman leaving the United Kingdom to have a Register Ticket (hence the name Seamen's Tickets). The information provided when a seaman applied for a ticket usually included: name; date and place of birth; date and capacity of first going to sea; capacity since; any service on a Royal Navy ship (and in what capacity); current employment at sea; and home address.

The registers for the period 1845-1853 are at the PRO in BT 113: - Register of Seamen's Tickets. An alphabetical index to the Seamen's Tickets Register is also at the PRO in BT 114. The index provides the seaman's full name, place of birth and Register Ticket number. By using the Register Ticket number, researchers can learn more about the seaman from the records in BT 113.

Cautionary Note: Researchers should be aware of a few important issues when using the Ticket Registers: The registers appear to include up to ticket number 546,000 even though entries higher than 546,000 are clearly listed in the index. When trying to check back from the index for numbers beyond 546,000, there does not appear to be any additional information in BT 113. When using the index, if a ticket number includes a letter (e.g. A, B, S, etc.) additional information for the ticket will be found in the supplementary volumes at the end of BT 113. Also, it appears that sailors serving in the Royal Navy were also issued a Register Ticket only because under the heading "place of issue for the ticket" there is a reference to "HMS ....". These Royal Navy entries will be a bonus for some researchers because they will offer additional information about the individual in records of the Royal Navy which were covered in an earlier English and Welsh Roots article.

Registers of Seamen, 1853-1857 (Series III)
The Ticket Registration system was abolished in October 1853 because it was difficult to enforce and was not at all popular with seamen. As a result, a new register was started which listed seamen alphabetically providing information about a seaman's age, place of birth, ship's name, date, and port of departure. If a seaman had an existing Ticket Number from the earlier registration system, their ticket number was also listed. This third series of registers is also available at the PRO in BT 116 - Register of Seamen, Series III. In 1856, a separate registration of seaman was seen to be a waste of resources as information was provided by Crew Lists. As a result, the register was closed.

Cautionary Notes: When using the registers it is important to remember that some ship's Masters did not file information they were required to. A few other issues to keep in mind when using the registers are: if a man was born before 1780, the chances of finding his name in the records is very limited. As with any old documents, the writing at times is virtually illegible and often names and information is recorded as it sounded (phonetically) rather than how it was actually spelled. Researchers would do well to use their imaginations of a surname's spelling when using the records and check for all spelling variations.

The idea of a central registration system of seamen was abandoned in 1857. Until a central system was once more deemed necessary with the advent of World War I, there was no central register of seamen. Researchers searching after 1857 must use Agreements and Crew Lists which have no central indexes.

Registers of Seamen - Central Registry, 1913-1941
In 1910 a government Advisory Committee on Merchant Shipping recommended the creation of a Central Index Register of seamen. Beginning in October 1913 and continuing until 1941, a Central Registry of seamen was once again maintained. Although called the 1913-1941 Register, records for the years 1913 to 1918 were destroyed in the 1960s. The surviving cards from the Central Registry (CR) have been microfiched and amount to about 1.25 million records.

The register is actually four different sets of card indexes. The first three indexes include information about all types of people who were employed on ships (from ordinary seamen to mates, engineers, trimmers, stewards, cooks and many others). Central Registry 1 (CR1) is an alphabetical index, CR2 is a numerical index and both comprise the period 1921-1941.

Agreements and Crew Lists 1861 -
The system of Agreements and Crew Lists discussed earlier remained largely unchanged after 1861. However, the great bulk of records that existed were so large that the PRO could not justify preserving all the records. As a result, only a 10% sample of Agreements and Crew lists each year were selected for permanent retention by the PRO. This 10% sample is considered Series II of agreements and crew lists and filled in BT 99.

A more complete selection of records from famous ships such as the Titanic the Great Britain were retained by the PRO and filled with Agreements and Crew Lists as series III in BT 100.

From 1884-1919 a 10% sample was also selected for agreements and crew lists of fishing vessels (less than 80 tons) which were required as a result of the Merchant Shipping Act of 1883 (Fishing Boats). This fishing boat sample of Agreements and Crew Lists is considered series IV of and filled at the PRO in BT 144 (1884-1919). Fishing boat agreements and lists after 1919 are available in BT 99.

Why only a 10% sample? One of the reasons given for retaining only 10% of the agreements and crewlists is the fact that beginning in 1861, the Census included individuals serving on British ships in UK ports. The enumerations of seaman were appended to the main census schedules for each port. However, in 1861 the enumerations for vessels were lumped together as a separate section and placed at the end of the entire census.

Researchers should also note that the Family History Library (FHL) of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS) has created an index to the 1861 census schedules of those who were on ships in port or at sea at the time of the census. The index is available on a set of 8 microfiche (number 6,024,598) and includes the surname and given name of each person, age, sex, marital condition, occupation, birthplace, and the name of the ship he or she was on at the time of the census. The entries in the index also give the LDS FHL microfilm and page number where the original census entry can be found.

Where are the other 90% of Crew Lists and Agreements? The remaining agreements and lists not retained by the PRO have, for the most part, been preserved in other institutions. For example, an additional 10% sample is held by the National Maritime Museum (Greenwich, London) and additional information is available at their website: The 10% sample at the National Maritime Museum includes a random sample of records from the years: 1861, 1862, 1865, 1875, 1885, 1895, 1905, 1915, 1925, 1935, 1955, 1965, 1975.

A small group of agreements and crew lists for the period 1861-1913 are held by local archives and a list of their locations are found at the beginning of the description lists for BT 99 at the PRO.

The remaining records not held at the PRO or the National Maritime Museum in the majority of instances are in the custody of Memorial University of Newfoundland at the Maritime History Archive (St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada. A1C 5S7; Phone: 1-709-737-8428/9; Fax: 1-709-737-3123) Their website is available at: The Archive holds between 70% and 80% of crew agreements and logs for British merchant ships between 1863-1938, and 1951-1976 as well as microform collections of maritime resources from repositories around the world. The Maritime History Archive collects and preserves original documents and copies of documents relating to the history of sea based activities in the north Atlantic region.

The Maritime History Archive will research the records in its custody and provide reports and/or copies of documents on request. Further details about genealogical research at the MHA can be found on their website:

The Maritime History Archive at Memorial University recently announced the publication a fully searchable CD-ROM: Ships and Seafarers of Atlantic Canada (available from The CD contains information on the shipping industry of Atlantic Canada, derived from two British record series, structured as three interactive databases that allow the user to search, sort and query the data. The databases were originally created for the Atlantic Canada Shipping Project, a major research project undertaken by maritime historians at Memorial University over a six year period from 1976 to 1982.

Sharon Sergeant of the Boston States Migrations target="_blank"> recently emailed me reported a number of interesting statistics from the Ships and Seafarer's CD. She states:

Everyone assumes it's all Canadian mariner info, but in fact the highest percentage of crewmembers are from Great Britain plus very high numbers from Scandanvian and European countries, as well as good portions as you would expect from Canada and the US, and then surprising numbers [surprising for me anyway] from all over the world.

The statistics Sharon refers to and more detailed information is available from the Boston States website at: Work is ongoing to compile statistics from the CD-ROM including a complete a cross referencing index with more detail to show birthplace distributions by surname, country and time periods that will make it much easier to use the CD as there are 10 different databases and lots of record and/or transcription discrepancies.

Crew Lists and Agreements 1939-1950
All crew agreements are held by the General Register and Record Office of Shipping and Seamen, Unit 12, Cheviot Close, Parc Ty Glas, Llanishen, Cardiff CF4 5JA; tel: (+44) 01222 747333.

Crew Lists and Agreements 1951-1980, 1981-1989
Once again a10% sample of crew agreements has been retained by the PRO; the remaining 90 per cent for years ending in '5' have been deposited with the National Maritime Museum. The Museum holds 90% of the crew agreements for 1955, 1965, 1975 and 1985. All remaining papers have been transferred to the Maritime History Archive in Newfoundland, Canada.

Many of the records described above are outlined in more detail in The Public Record Office's Research Information Leaflets. In particular, researchers should carefully review the following online leaflets: Copyright notice: The PRO Records Information Leaflets are subject to Crown Copyright. Whilst you are welcome to print copies of leaflets for your own use you may not copy them for commercial purposes or republish them in any form, including electronically.


While many maritime records are only available directly from the PRO in England or other repositories, many of the primary records discussed have been microfilmed by the LDS and are available in their main Family History Library Catalog. An example of entries from the online LDS Family History Library Catalog are listed to illustrate but a few of the many resources available to researchers on loan to a local Family History Center of the LDS. Referenced in the Catalog under the records of the Board of Trade (BT). Mercantile Marine Department [see also: Great Britain - Merchant marine and England - Merchant marine]:

Agreements, crew lists and muster rolls of British merchant vessels, compiled at English sea ports, including names of ships and service records of crew members, 1747-1856. Arranged according to ports of registration until 1857. From 1857-1860 arranged by ship number. The records are microfilmed on 5140 reels beginning with BT 98/1 Aberdeen 1841 BT 98/1 Barnstaple 1800-1834 on microfilm VAULT BRITISH Film 870059.

Agreements and crew lists of British merchant vessels, compiled at English sea ports, including names of ships and service records of crew members : with alphabetical and numerical index to ships, 1857-1860 - The records are microfilmed on 1752 reels beginning with Agreements & crew lists BT 98/Index on microfilm VAULT BRITISH Film 848097.

Alphabetical register of seamen, 1835-1844--class BT 119--index to BT 112.

Register of seamen's tickets, 1845-1854 (BT 113) and alphabetical register of seamen's tickets, 1845-1854 (BT 114)

Register of seamen, series II, 1835-1844--Class BT 112

Register of seamen--series III, 1853-1857--class BT 116

Registers of seamen series I (1835-1836)--class BT/120


Records of Merchant Shipping and Seamen by Kelvin Smith, Christopher T Watts and Michael J Watts. This is the most important reference work you could have for understanding and locating merchant shipping and seamen's records. This long awaited guide is useful in listing sources at the PRO, and mentioning those elsewhere that can be invaluable in tracing seamen. 1998, 132 pages (Available from at 1 800 361-5168 or email at, Catalog# 06021993)

Maritime Sources In The Library of The Society of Genealogists by: John Hailey. The Library of the Society of Genealogists contains much information about maritime history, although it is not always easy to find, as it is incorporated into many parts of the library. This guide is not a complete record of the library's holdings, but provides a starting point for those seeking their seafaring ancestors. 32pp., Soft Cover, 6" x 9",1999, ISBN 1-85951-069-8. Available from

National Maritime Museum: the Collections This work provides an illustrated guide to the collections of the National Maritime Museum, mainly dealing with the extensive collection of artworks pertinent to Naval history. 1990, 128 pages. (Available from at 1 800 361-5168 or email at, Catalog# 06021397)

Basic Facts About Using Merchant Ship Records for Family Historians by Peter L Hogg This work is a very small and very basic guide to merchant ship records. 1st edition 1997, 16 pages (Available from at 1 800 361-5168 or email at, Catalog# 334134)

Victorian Sailor by David Marcombe. This book is an illustrated guide to the life of the Victorian sailor. (Available from at 1 800 361-5168 or email at, Catalog# 06022721)

Liverpool Docks compiled by Michael Stammers. This work offers invaluable images of the Liverpool Docks both in their heyday, and in more recent times. 1st edition 1999, 128 pages. (Available from at 1 800 361-5168 or email at, Catalog# 06022392m)

Britain's Maritime Memorials & Mementoes by David Saunders. This book is geographically arranged in A-Z and offers a survey of more than 1400 memorials to those lost at sea. Gives a fascinating aspect into Britains's maritime past. Illustrated. Hardback. 1st edition 1996, 178 pages (Available from at 1 800 361-5168 or email at, Catalog# 06028416)

Ancestral Trails: The Complete Guide to British Genealogy and Family History by Mark D. Herber. First published 1997 and republished 1998 (USA). This exceptional book includes an extensive chapter on records of shipping and seamen with illustrations and examples of PRO records. The author carefully explains the research process within the record groups using step by step research examples to learn as much information as possible. This 674 page reference book is invaluable for anyone researching their English and Welsh Roots and is most helpful when working through maritime resources and records of shipping and seamen. Available from

Tracing Your Ancestors in the Public Record Office (5th edition) Edited by Amanda Bevan. 1999, 304 pages. ISBN 1 873162 61 8. This book is important to using and understanding the primary records held at the PRO whether you live in England or at a great distance. The book offers detailed information about a variety of records with illustrations, examples and cautionary notes for researchers. Even if you are using the PRO records on microfilm through the LDS, this book is an important resource to understand exactly what you are researching and what you may be missing that is only available directly from the PRO. The book includes detailed information about the availability of and information contained in various records of Merchant seamen. Available from


United Kingdom and Ireland Merchant Marine at GenUKI:

National Maritime Museum - Centre for maritime research This site is a must visit destination. Filled with scanned images of priceless artwork and helpful guides to their extensive art, manuscript and library collections. In particular do not miss the Museum's detailed and helpful online research guides at:

British Mariners Information:

Records of Merchant Seaman are explained at Christopher T. Watts website which also highlights his book My Ancestor was a Merchant Seaman:

Maritime History Virtual Archives by Lars Bruzelius is an informative source for all matters nautical.

Maritime History and Naval Heritage Website: includes many links to articles and resources.

Mariners Research Links is a rich website with links to indexes and research guides as well as explanations and lists of various resources for those tracing a mariner ancestor.

DataMarine - UK's premier source for Maritime Databases: The site also offers commercial research services.

Merchant Marine and Maritime Information:

Merchant Ships and Fleet Profiles:

Merchant Seamen in WWII:

Merchant Navy Veterans: The Mission of the Merchant Navy Veterans is to bring to the general public, the little known history of the men and women who sailed in the Allied Merchant Navies during World War 11 and the Korean War and to enable these veterans to have access to the Internet. Dedicated to issues for Canadian Veterans. U.S., UK. and other International Vets as info becomes available.

Merchant Navy Veterans Rendezvous:

The Jersey Merchant Seamen's Benefit Society: The Jersey Merchant Seamen's Benefit Society was created by the States of Jersey in 1835 when the English compulsory levy of sixpence per month from every Merchant Seaman's pay was abolished. The contribution was 71/2d. per month, beginning on July 1 1835. The ship's Master was authorised to collect the contributions by direct deduction from pay. Learn more about the society at their website: The actual books can be found at the Société Jersiaise Library

Channel Islands Maritime Miscellany:

A Guide to Maritime History Information on the Internet includes an extensive listing of electronic maritime resources:

Maritime dictionary provides excerpts from Capt. Heinrich Paasch's 1908 marine dictionary, with terms cross-linked by language (German, English, French, Spanish, and Italian) and by their relation to other terms:

The enumeration of people not in normal households on census night - includes information about the Merchant Navy:

Royal Navy and Merchant Navy Catalogue - Leeds University Library: Special Collections: Liddle Collection:

The Marine Society: The Society was influential in the formation of The Seamen's Hospital Society, King George's Fund for Sailors, Sea Cadet Corps, Outward Bound Sea Schools, Sail Training Association, Nautical Institute, and the Annual National Service for Seafarers.

Merchant Navy Magazine: A newsletter for the British Merchant Navy

Nautical Research Guild, Inc.- Sources of Naval Information:

Maritime and Naval Museums in Britain and Ireland :

Imperial War Museum: The Museum has a small permanent display illustrating some of the remarkable accounts of courage and survival by men of the Merchant Navy.

Don't miss the Rootsweb Mariners E-mail Discussion List. Researchers with an interest in searching for merchant shipping and seaman ancestors would do well to give this email list a try. For additional information visit Debbie Beavis's website at:

The discussion of records and resources for researching seamen will continue in the next English and Welsh Roots along with a more extensive listing of online resources, PRO information, LDS resources and contact information for repositories with maritime resources.......


The FreeREG Project
The FreeREG Project's objective is to provide free Internet searches of baptism, marriage and burial records, which have been transcribed into a database from English parish registers. The recording of baptisms, marriages and burials in parish registers began in 1538.

The FreeREG Project is part of the FreeUKGEN Project, and a companion project to the FreeBMD Project, which is a database of the GRO birth, marriage and death indexes from 1837. In FreeREG, parish register entries will be made available through a search engine only. It is not the objective of FreeREG to make transcripts, or even indexes of parish registers available on the Internet, or to publish them for sale on disk or CD or in printed form. For complete transcriptions and microfiche/films of original parish records, where available, refer to the local county records offices, family history societies or to the microfilm/fiche holdings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints through its worldwide network of branch libraries (Family History Centers).

There are three FreeREG databases, one each for baptisms, marriages, and burials. FreeREG is a brand-new project. The project team are looking for transcribers, and those who have already made transcriptions of parish registers onto computer, who will allow their data to be included in the database so that people can search for events relating to individual ancestors. They are also in need of county coordinators, and, most importantly, programmers!

The FreeREG Web pages at target="_blank"> contain information about the project itself, information for volunteers, information for people who want to search the database, and details of the type of information from baptism, marriage and burial registers that it contains.

The mailing list is essentially for those who are interested in contributing to the project in some way, but it is now open for anyone to join. To subscribe to the mailing list post a message to: (to receive individual messages) or (to receive a combined set of messages). In the body of your message, on the start of the first line, type just the one word SUBSCRIBE and have nothing else (not even a signature file) in the rest of the message.

Genealogical Web Site Watchdog
As a service to the genealogical community, Ancestor Detective lists Web sites which provide misleading or inaccurate genealogical information. If you find a site that you'd like to nominate for the Watchdog's list, send an e-mail to, the committee will review the complaint and add the site if warranted. Watchdog Committee members belong to the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG).

About Fawne Stratford-Devai
Fawne Stratford-Devai's work on Land Records and early Ontario records is well known in the genealogy community. A published author of several Canadian and UK research books, she has also contributed articles to the Ontario Genealogical Society's newsletter "Families" as well as writing for the online family history newsletter the "Global Gazette". Biography

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