CLIP finding aidsThe CLIP finding aids are a series of linked indexes which will help you to find records of ships and seafarers.
Links to the indexes are to the left. We have grouped the resources under three headings: Ships, People and Data sources. Click the arrow next to each heading to see the indexes.
This page details:
- how the finding aids can help your research;
- the abbreviations and conventions we have used;
- the sources and limitations of the indexes.
How the CLIP finding aids can help your researchThere are two main difficulties for researchers in tracking down individual vessels and seafarers: finding the official number of a vessel, and finding where the records for a particular vessel are held.
- Finding the official number is important because both The National Archives and the Maritime History Archive use them to identify vessels. They do this with good reason - the number is a unique identifier which avoids difficulties to do with changes of name and port of registry, to say nothing of spelling variations and transcription errors. For the same reason, we have used the official number as the key to several of our finding aids, so the index of vessels by name is the starting point because it provides a list of possible official numbers.
- To find the records for a vessel, the finding aids include a detailed index of the crew lists held at local record offices around the United Kingdom, drawn from the CLIP project and the catalogues of individual record offices. They also include an index of the crew lists held at The National Archives.
Abbreviations and conventionsWe have used these abbreviations:
AS - Archives Service; RO - Record Office; CRO - County Record Office;
Manx NHL - Manx National Heritage Library; MNL - Mercantile Navy List.
RSS - Registry of Shipping and Seamen, Cardiff
Vessel names were transcribed 'as seen' during the CLIP project, with the exception that names which included 'and' were standardised to '&' as in 'Jane & Mary'. Some of the names which we have taken from elsewhere have not yet been standardised in this way. For vessel names of this sort, it would be sensible to use the fuzzy searching facilities when searching the data.
Where the name of a port is shown against a vessel, this is its port of registry (or 'home port' if that is how it has been referred to in a publication). At least some of the shipping records for that port should be available at the local record office.
Where data is taken from shipping registers, the folio number within the register is included if we know it. If the same vessel turns up twice in the same register volume, it usually indicates that the vessel was re-registered and so does have two entries in that volume.
Where data has been taken from crew lists, a range of dates indicates the earliest and latest dates for which there are lists, but not necessarily that they exist for all the included dates. Refer to the CLIP index of crew lists at record offfices for more detail. Where crew lists are shown against a record office, but with no dates, you will have to refer to the record office itself for more information.
In referring to publications, we have used a convention of:
- Author(s) name(s),
- Date of publication,
- (Title of article if in a journal),
- Publication title,
- (Volume and/or Number if in a journal).
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Sources and limitations of the CLIP indexesThe sources for this data are:
- The crew lists held at the 40+ local record offices which hold them, either as direct transcription during the CLIP project or from the record office's own catalogue, some of which are now on line;
- Shipping and fishing registers, most of which is taken from the transcriptions which just a few record offices have made of their documents;
- The Mercantile Navy List;
- The Appropriation Books at the Registry of Ships and Seamen in Cardiff;
- Publications - at present just a few books and journals, mostly related to Welsh shipping (a bias which is likely to continue).
All CLIP transcription was checked, but we have not attempted to check data from on-line catalogues, for example. Where records have been taken from publications, we have accepted the author's data without further checks, beyond checking the accuracy of our transcription.
The data has been compiled through the efforts of many archivists and volunteers, which we are glad to acknowledge. Please see our acknowledgements page for more details.
We have made every effort to ensure that we have permission from all the relevant parties to publish data in this format. If we have inadvertently failed to do so, please bring this to our attention so that we can put matters right.
Please note that this data is provided for private research purposes only: do not publish it in any form without permission. As well as the inevitable errors, the data includes one or two spurious items to make it identifiable. Some are obvious, some are not, but they are unlikely to impede normal research.
Of course, while we have made efforts to check the accuracy of the data reproduced here, we cannot accept liability for losses that users may incur through using these finding aids. It is basic research practice to check out the original sources yourself!
Please bring any errors to our attention.