Indexes to Crew Lists At Bristol Archives
The Bristol Archives has a large collection of crew lists or agreements for ships registered at the Port of Bristol. These cover most of the years from 1863 to 1913 and are a valuable source for anyone researching merchant seamen. As with many records, they have been underused, mainly through lack of any indexes. If you do not know the name of a ship your ancestor may have sailed in, it can be very time consuming trying to trace them. With this in mind we have been working for a number of years producing indexes to some of these records.
The first index of crew lists the Society published covered the years 1866, 1871, 1876, 1881 and 1886. It is called “They Sailed Under The Bridge” to reflect the fact that many ships registered at Bristol sailed from the City Docks and under the Clifton Suspension Bridge.
The second volume covers the years 1891, 1896, 1901, 1906 and 1911 and has been called “They Sailed Out The Mouth”. This is to indicate that many ships of this period were now much larger and could not sail up the river to the City Docks, therefore they sailed out of the new docks at Avonmouth.
Both indexes give the following details for each entry: surname, first name(s), age or year of birth, birthplace, rating, ship’s name and official number. The last two items can then be used to find the original crew list or agreement.