Births, Marriages and Deaths at Sea 1854 - 1890 British Subjects and Other Nationalities

The Archive of Indexes to Births, Marriages and Deaths at Sea contains digitised images of original registers compiled by the Registrar General for Shipping and Seamen (RGSS) and its predecessor the General Register and Record Office of Seamen. The registers were compiled by the RGSS from the official ships’ logs and information received from the Masters. The original registers are held by The National Archives, London, England, under the series title BT158.

The registers primarily contain entries of births, marriages and deaths of passengers at sea including British subjects and other nationalities. Analysis of the registers reveals there are also entries detailing deaths of Masters of Ships and births and deaths of their families. There are many entries detailing events for men serving in various British Regiments and the Indian Army. Some deaths of Seamen are also recorded together with births and deaths of Regimental Wives and their causes.

The registers were compiled between the dates of 1854 to 1890. It should be noted that these are the dates of the registers themselves and not always the actual date of the event. In some cases events were entered into the register the year after they occurred at sea. Most events are recorded with both dates but for some cases only the date of registration is included.

The RGSS was required to report these events to the relevant Registrar General of Births, Marriages and Deaths; for England, Ireland, Scotland or Wales. However it is estimated that more than half of these events were not reported to the relevant Registrar General and therefore may not be found elsewhere.