Links and Research Information

National Maritime Museum Research Guides

The NMM has many collections of nautical artifacts and paintings and also The Caird library - a priceless collection of maritime books - some several hundreds of years old. Membership is free but you will need to provide acceptable ID to join and have to use the books in the reading room. Some books are on display but others you will need to requisition and wait for them to be brought to you. Check out the NMM website before visiting.

The library has issued research guides covering many topics; the ones I have found most useful are included in the tables below but there are others.

All links on this page were evaluated in December 2017 but sites change their web addresses from time to time so if you spot any errors please let me know. My contact details are at the foot of this page.

General Introduction ('A' Guides)

Guide Topic Description
A2 Principal Records for Maritime Research at the NMM This research guide is a brief introduction to the main records held by the National Maritime Museum, which has the most comprehensive maritime library in the world. It contains over 100,000 printed books dating from 1474 to the present day, 20,000 pamphlets, 4500 periodicals, 500 current maritime/naval history titles, specialist journals, microforms and a selection of CD-ROMS.
A3 Tracing family history from maritime records This guide is a brief introduction to maritime records that you can use to discover more about your ancestors, family history or famous people. It is intended to help you get started on your research, using the National Maritime Museum's library and archives and other resources outside the museum.
A6 Greenwich and the National Maritime Museum This guide is a brief introduction to Greenwich, the National Maritime Museum and the records held by the museum, followed by a selected bibliography of books in our Library.

The Royal Navy ('B' Guides)

Guide Topic Description
B1 Tracing People This guide explains some of the material available in the Museum's Archive and Library collections which can be used to research people who have served in the Royal Navy.
B3 Sources for Enquiries The Museum does not hold the official records of the Royal Navy, it does however have extensive collections of books, photographs, paintings, prints and manuscripts about the Royal Navy.
B5 Royal Naval Dockyards This guide is a brief introduction to Royal Naval Dockyards and the records of each dockyard held by the National Maritime Museum, followed by a selected bibliography of books in the Museum Library.
B6 Administrative Records The National Maritime Museum and Library have interesting material and many books relating to the central administration of the Navy.
B7 Ship Records This guide outlines the National Maritime Museum's resources for researching ships of the Royal Navy.
B8 The Spithead and Nore mutinies of 1797. This guide lists some of the Museum's books, manuscripts and plans that will help you research the Spithead and Nore Mutinies of 1797.
B9 HMS King George V This guide outlines the history of the ship HMS King George V, and the National Maritime Museum’s resources relating to this ship.
B10 Naval Gunnery: Sources of Information at the NMM This guide lists some of the Museum's books, manuscripts and plans that will help you research naval gunnery.
B11 First World War This guide explains how to use the facilities of the Caird Library at the Museum to research the personnel, vessels and operations of the Royal Navy and its auxiliary forces in 1914-1918.

The Merchant Navy ('C' Guides)

Guide Topic Description
C1 Tracing people: Crew lists, agreements and official logs This guide gives details of crew agreements for British-registered merchant ships, crew lists or muster-rolls and official ships' logs.
C2 Tracing people: Master-mariners, mates and engineers This research guide outlines the system of certification from 1845 onwards, and explains how and where to find certificates and other records that will help you trace masters, mates and engineers.
C4 Sources for Enquiry This guide lists places which, like the National Maritime Museum, have records and information that will help you research various aspects of mercantile history.
C5 Sources for Ship Histories There are many different aspects to merchant navy history and considerable information survives about British merchant ships, which you can explore. Merchant navy history is scattered through various sources in a number of libraries and archives, and what exists and the location of that information depends on the type of vessel, its history and the period.
C6 The Mercantile Navy List The Mercantile Navy List, compiled by the Registrar General of Shipping and Seamen, was first published from 1849 to 1855, and annually thereafter from 1857 until 1976 (with supplements up to the end of 1977); excluding 1941 to 1946, during the Second World War. Monthly supplements were issued under various titles from 1886.
C8 Wrecks, losses and casualties This guide outlines some ways in which you can trace information about merchant shipping wrecks, losses and casualties.
C9 World War One This guide outlines the main sources for researching the activities of merchant ships and their crews during the First World War.
C10 World War Two This guide outlines the main sources for researching the activities of merchant ships and their crews during the Second World War, 1939 to 1945.
C11 The Handy Shipping Guide This is a brief introduction to the Handy Shipping Guide which was produced between 1887 and 1988. It provides two main sources of information. (a) A list of all foreign, continental and coastwise ports and the ships presently to sail thereto, with details of the loading port, dock, closing date for cargo and,frequently, ship owners. (b) Custom clearances, inwards and outwards, for every major British port. Later issues include lists of vessels outward and homeward bound etc.
C12 Ship Registration and Custom House Records This guide outlines the history of ship registration in Britain, from the mid 17th century until 1857, when the official Mercantile Navy List was first published.
C13 Tracing Merchant Seamen This guide should be used in conjunction with Research Guides C1 and C2 and gives further details of records in the National Maritime Museum relating to merchant seamen.

World War Two ('E' Guides)

Guide Topic Description
E1 WW2 Papers in the NMM This guide is an introduction to papers relating to the World War Two held by the National Maritime Museum, with regard to personal papers and single documents.
E2 WW2: Guide to the Dunkirk List This guide provides an introduction to the official record of Operation Dynamo, the mass evacuation of British troops from France in 1940 during the Second World War.

Shipping Companies ('F' Guides)

Guide Topic Description
F1 Records held by the National Maritime Museum. This guide lists the shipping companies whose records, or part-records, are held by the National Maritime Collection. These are mainly business records and do not cover operations, voyages or passenger lists.
F5 The East India Company This guide is a brief introduction to the Honourable East India Company and material relating to it held by the National Maritime Museum.

Passengers ('G' Guides)

Guide Topic Description
G1 Sources for Enquiries This guide outlines basic information about how to research specific passengers on ships.
G3 Ships sailing to Australia & New Zealand. This guide lists some of the National Maritime Museum’s photographic material (original photos, or photographs of plans, pictures or models) showing ships that have sailed to Australia and New Zealand.

Lloyd's ('H' Guides)

Guide Topic Description
H1 Lloyd's List: Brief History This guide gives a brief outline of the history of Lloyd's List, a newspaper reporting shipping movements and casualties, maritime news and other commercial information.
H3 Lloyd's Captains's Registers This information sheet explains how to use the microfilm copies of Lloyd's Captains's Registers held by the National Maritime Museum's Caird Library.
H4 Lloyd's List Indexes This guide is an introduction to the indexes for Lloyd's List and how to use them.
H5 Lloyd's Registers held by the National Maritime Museum This guide provides information about Lloyd’s Register of Shipping as an aid to research. The National Maritime Museum’s Library has copies dating from 1764 to date.
H6 Lloyd’s Register survey reports. This guide outlines the collection of surveyors' reports and plans made for Lloyd's Register between, approximately, 1834 and 1968 and now held by the National Maritime Museum.

Women at Sea ('L' Guides)

Guide Topic Description
L1 Women at Sea: Sources for Research This guide outlines useful sources for research on women and the sea, chiefly at the National Maritime Museum but also The National Archives.

Exploration ('Q' Guides)

Guide Topic Description
Q1 Exploration and Discovery This guide will help you research famous explorers, navigators and hydrographers. It gives a brief account of their voyages and lists some of the material related to them held by the National Maritime Museum.
Q2 Polar exploration: Sources of information in the National Maritime Museum. The National Maritime Museum holds considerable material on polar exploration, mostly relating to British seaborne expeditions from the time of James Cook to Shackleton and the end of the 'Heroic Age' of Antarctic exploration. It is particularly strong on items connected with Sir John Franklin's missing North-West Passage voyage and the subsequent search expeditions.

Flags ('T' Guides)

Guide Topic Description
T1 The NMM Flag Collection This guide gives a brief outline of flags in the National Maritime Museum, followed by a list of historic foreign flags, which form a splendid part of the collection.
T2 Selected bibliography and sources of information. This brief guide gives the main books and sources of information that will help you research various types of flag.

Guides to Uniforms and Medals ('U' Guides)

Guide Topic Description
U1 Uniforms: The NMM Collection A brief introduction to uniforms in the Museum collection, intended to help costume researchers and anyone interested in the period.
U2 Maritime Medals: Sources of Information This brief guide gives a bibliography of books held in the Library and other sources of information.
U3 Naval General Service Medals Part of the Museum's collection of more than 6,000 commemoratives and gallantry awards.
U4 The collection of Victoria Crosses in the National Maritime Museum. This guide outlines the careers of the holders of the Victoria Cross held in the museum's collection.