The British Library holds Ships' Journals in series IOR/L/MAR/A-B 1605-1856. Read about these records. The various ships are listed alphabetically, following the order in Catalogue of East India Company Ships' Journals and Logs 1600-1834 by Anthony J.Farrington (London, 1999). Although the records continue until 1856, they effectively end at 1834.
If you know the ship your research interest travelled on (for instance, from Arrival and Departure lists in directories), these journals may provide interesting information. In the daily deck log of occurrences onboard, alongside more minimal entries recording weather and landmarks, one can find details of births and deaths at sea (and baptisms and burials), offences and punishments for sailors and other interesting genealogical tidbits. A passenger list is often included for each journey. A researcher, who refers to the ships' records as a 'treasure trove', found out the name of a child travelling, and some of the circumstances, [on an earlier voyage] of the death of the child’s father
The catalogue of the British Library can be searched by ship's name to determine the material held.
Browse the ships names (Discovery Catalogue):
- A - Darling
- Dart - Halifax (1)
- Halifax (2) - Madras Merchant (2)
- Maitland - Samuel (3)
- Samuel and Anna -Z plus extra ships names from 1834.
If you cannot find the ship’s name you are looking for, confirm the name from the Ships Search from Andrea Cordani’s "East India Company Ships" . As an example, the ship whose name was thought to be the 'Lushington' was in fact the 'Sir Stephen Lushington', to be found in the lists above under S (not L).
National Maritime Museum, Greenwich
The National Maritime Museum, Greenwich holds some ships' logs in its collection, some of which may not be held by the British Library, with catalogue entries: Merchant Shipping: Logs East India Company LOG/C and LOG/M
- Rockingham Ships' Log 1796 List of soldiers from 12th Regiment of Foot embarking for India aboard the Indiaman Rockingham.
- Terrible conditions described in a Letter home from a soldier’s wife on a voyage to India 1859 Old-merseytimes.co.uk Details conditions on the ship Acrington which resulted in the murder of the captain.
Historical books online
- Ship's log [manuscript] written on board the "General Goddard" during a trip from England to Calcutta and Madras in 1789-1790, under Captain Thomas Foxall. Includes notes on course, distance, and position; weather observations; vessels sighted; and cargo loaded and unloaded. Penn Libraries, University of Pennsylvania
- Ship's log [manuscript] written on board the "Hawke" during two trips from England to India between 1795 and 1799. The first volume documents a voyage under Captain R. Edwards from England to Calcutta and Madras between 1795 and 1797; the second volume lists the crew with their stations and wages at the beginning of the volume and documents another voyage, this time under Captain David B. Barker, to Madras and Calcutta between 1797 and 1799. Penn Libraries, University of Pennsylvania
- Note however, a researcher was advised by the British Library that neither the ship’s log for the Anson (1774/1776), nor the ledger contain a passenger list - although the latter contains a crew listing.
- Frances Yorrick (see the P S) Rootsweb India Mailing List 20 September 2010. Retrieved 8 November 2014