Births, marriages and deaths at sea
The National Archives
Records include the open-access microfilm series BT 158: Births, Marriages and Deaths at Sea 1854 - 1890 British Subjects and Other Nationalities. More details of BT 158 are included in this FindMyPast article (scroll down) which advises that there are many entries detailing events for men serving in various British Army regiments and the Indian Army, together with births and deaths of Regimental Wives and their causes. As an example of births in the period 1854 to 1858, the birth of twins to Joanna Wedderburn the Wife of Andrew Wedderburn of the Madras Civil Service.
TNA also holds the Colonial Office Registers of Births and Dates of Emigrants at Sea
The following records of births, deaths and marriages of passengers at sea are available online through BMDRegisters
- BT 158 - Registers of Births, Deaths and Marriages of Passengers at Sea 1854-1890
- BT 159 - Registers of Deaths at Sea of British Nationals 1875-1888. The name of this series is misleading as it includes other nationalities
- BT 160 - Registers of Births at Sea of British Nationals 1875-1891
The records give detailed information compiled from ships' logs by the Registrar General of Shipping and Seamen and its predecessor. The registers cover 1854 to 1908 and include over 150,000 individuals. It is free to search on the website but there is a charge for downloading images of original records.
The records continue to be also available on microfilm at The National Archives
General Register Office (GRO)
The Marine Registers held at the UK General Register Office record births and deaths at sea on ships registered in Great Britain and Ireland from July 1837. They, therefore, contain earlier records than the BT registers held at The National Archives – although both contain omissions, particularly in earlier years as it was only from 1874 that Ships Masters were legally obliged to report births and deaths at sea to the Registrar of Shipping and Seamen.
The Marine Registers held at the GRO do not contain entries relating to marriages at sea.
- The GRO marine births and deaths indexes can be consulted without charge at familyrelatives.com - assuming one is able to download the relevant viewer.
- The indexes have also been microfilmed by the LDS. Details of deaths are available on fiches 6137189 -6137266 and births on 6137268 -6137322