NLW Data > Aberystwyth Shipping Records

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Dataset: ABERYSTWYTH SHIPPING RECORDS
Description: Crew accounts and agreements (generally known as crew lists), 1856-1914, for vessels registered at the port of Aberystwyth, Cardiganshire, Wales, UK.
Code: lla (unique identifier for this dataset on NLW Data)
Version: v0.1 06-07-2015 [No previous releases]
License: Public Domain Dedication (CC0)
Examples: Example Logbook (PDF) (Excel)
Documentation: Description of the structure of download file (PDF)
DOWNLOAD (via GitHub) .zip file containing multiple Microsoft Excel Files (104 MB)

This dataset was transcribed by volunteers as part of the National Library of Wales Volunteering Programme

More about this dataset

What is it?

Data resulting from the transcription of crew accounts and agreements (generally known as crew lists), 1856-1914, for vessels registered at the port of Aberystwyth, Cardiganshire, Wales, UK.

Why do these records exist?

The Merchant Shipping Act 1835 required all British registered ships of 80 tons or more employed in the coastal trade or fisheries to carry crew agreements and accounts, often referred to as crew lists. At the end of each voyage, the master sent these crew lists to the Registrar General of Shipping and Seamen through Mercantile Marine Offices situated at major and minor ports. Home trade crew lists (i.e. ships sailing in British coastal waters defined as the United Kingdom and Ireland, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, and the continent of Europe from the River Elbe in Germany to Brest in France) were required to be delivered half-yearly. For voyages outside British coastal waters, there would be one list per voyage, also to be deposited with the appropriate Mercantile Marine Office. 

What information do they contain?

Crew lists (referred to in the catalogue as agreements and accounts) contain the full names of the crew including apprentices, age and place of birth, previous vessel, dates of joining and leaving, in what capacity employed, together with a list of voyages with dates, and occasionally details of cargoes carried. All masters were also obliged to keep an official logbook. These should not be confused with navigational logbooks or daily journals since they recorded accidents, illness, birth or death on board, misconduct, desertion, punishment and other entries concerning the conduct of crew members. Where a vessel sailed mostly in British waters, but made the occasional voyage abroad, there may be both lists and agreements for the same period, as well as logbooks. The crew lists (agreements) and logbooks were endorsed by the British consul at each port of call, and any changes of crew, desertions or disciplinary matters, were recorded.

From 1855, British ships, for the first time, were given a unique official number when they were first registered at a designated Port of Registry. This number stayed with the ship throughout its life, even if the vessel was re-registered or the ship's name was changed. Such numbers were issued at Aberystwyth as the port responsible for the registration of vessels in the Cardigan Bay area from north of Newport in Pembrokeshire to the southern part of Merionethshire.

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