Life at sea: Merchant Navy ships' logs project

The National Archives has transcribed information contained in ships’ official logs into an online catalogue. 

Official logs of British merchant ships provide details such as the nature of the voyage, and the port and date at which the voyage commenced and terminated. The logs also provide details of the crews.

As a result of the Merchant Shipping Act of 1850, British merchant ships were legally required to keep an official log. 

First World War researchers will also find the collection useful, as all surviving logs for the period between 1914 and 1919 have been preserved.

The series contains over 40,000 merchant navy ships’ logs (BT 165 series), searchable by ship name, number and date of voyage.

Find out more: Merchant Navy ships’ official logs project

See also: Tracing seafarer ancestors by certification

Image: Board of Trade logbook (Carmania, catalogue reference: BT 165/1663 SS), courtesy of The National Archives