Join up now –
The Merchant Navy needs you!
- Are you interested in volunteer work?
- Would you like to volunteer but from the comfort of your own home?
- Do you have a computer with broadband?
If you can answer “yes” to these three questions, then we would love to hear from you.
In partnership with The National Archives (TNA) the National Maritime Museum last year launched a project to transcribe and make available online, all of the surviving Merchant Navy crew lists from 1915. As there are no records for individual merchant seamen from this period, these records are of national significance in high lighting the vital contribution made by the Merchant Navy during the First World War. They are also of immeasurable value to family historians, as one of the few sources of information about the contribution of our sea-faring ancestors active in 1915. If you had an ancestor at sea in the British merchant navy in 1915, there is a high chance a crew list for one or more voyages survive. Approximately 39,000 crew lists have been photographed and NMM and TNA volunteers from as far afield as Japan, New Zealand, Canada, Italy, France and Ireland as well as all over the UK are transcribing these records to make them available and searchable. This is marvellous effort really demonstrates the international interest and demand for the information these records contain.We hope to launch the project in August 2014, to coincide with the centenary of the start of the First World War and really contribute something valuable to our memory and understanding of this conflict.
Your Museum Needs You: Could you invest some hours and transcribe a box of crew lists and help this valuable project?
For more information please contact:
There will be an opportunity to view a selection of the Caird Library’s rare manuscripts on maritime history. If you’ve ever wondered what life was really like in Nelson’s navy, how sick and injured seamen were cared for, or you simply want to explore your own maritime connections, this session will introduce you to the documents that can help you uncover the answers.
This session will be repeated on the 4th Thursday of April, May and June. The session is free, but places do need to booked in advance by contacting email@example.com
The session will be taking place in the Quiet Study area of the Caird Library, which will be closed to readers from 10am – 12:30pm to allow the session to take place. Library visitors can continue to use our collections in the Group Study area, which remains open as usual.
Thanks to all our guests for generating excellent blog posts and for those who are interested here is a link to one more:
Other links to blogs about the Caird Library event can be found at the bottom of the previous post. Please feel free to leave a comment and let people know what you think!
The books and manuscripts shown in the blogs can be ordered and viewed in our new library which has just gone to full service. We are now open Monday to Saturday, 10.00-16.45 and open late on Thursdays. Information about our service and opening hours can be found in the library section of the museum website.
Mike (Assistant Archivist)
The Caird Library held its first bloggers preview event last Saturday. We’ve been scouring the blogosphere in the last few weeks for bloggers who we thought would like to see what we have in our Library and our archives. We hoped that this would help us spread the word about our Library and our collections, which are free for anyone to come and enjoy. Our guests were enthusiasts and experts on a huge range of subjects, from local history to genealogy; from naval history to contemporary culture, and more besides.
We’d asked our guests in advance to vote for the objects they’d like to see from a shortlist of some of the treasures in our collections. We had the most popular on display to see, including the Aurora Australis, the ‘first book ever written, printed, illustrated and bound in the Antarctic’ by Ernest Shackleton and his team, 1908; Captain Bligh’s copy of Buchan’s Domestic Medicine of 1779, kept at Pitcairn Island; a manuscript diary kept by Alfred Withers of a voyage from Liverpool to Melbourne in 1857, and plans of Deptford Dockyard from the 1770′s. Images of these manuscripts and books can be seen in our previous items of the month.
We were also able to give some exclusive tours of our new stores allowing our guests to see how our collections are arranged and cared for, and to see how much work we have put into managing our archive and library material in preparation for the new service that we’ve just launched. Our guests were also lucky enough to get a sneak preview of a short film of the archive and library move, which is due to go on our website in the coming weeks.
For any of our guests that have blogged about the event that we may have missed please do let us know by posting a comment below, or you can tweet us @NMMGreenwich and mention #CairdLibrary. Please don’t be offended if you weren’t invited, why not drop us a line and tell us about your blog if you think you should be on the guest list for future events?
Thanks to all who attended for a great afternoon!
Sign of Penguins, http://0tralala.blogspot.com
National Maritime Museum and Library, http://catsmeatshop.blogspot.com
The Caird Library at the National Maritime Museum, http://deptforddame.blogspot.com
The Old Order Changeth, http://gentlemenandtarpaulins.com
We thought that Caird Library readers would be interested in an event at Gosport Discovery Centre on 9 June. The Navy Day will include a workshop on interpreting naval photographs and a video presentation of the Royal Navy in films. Staff will also be on-hand to demonstrate some navy family history websites, and there will be an evening talk, Britannia to Beira and Beyond, by Mike Critchley. It looks like a great day out, and would interest anyone interested in researching various aspects of the Royal Navy.
Eleanor (Head of Archive and Library)
On 21 October 1805 the British Royal Navy clashed with French and Spanish ships at the Battle of Trafalgar. To coincide with a series of events across the Museum, this week’s archive journey session is Life in Nelson’s Navy.
The session will take place in the E-Library at 14.30 and will include an exciting opportunity to view a document written by a man who witnessed the fighting at first hand. The letter, featured as this month’s item of the month, has recently been acquired by the National Maritime Museum after 205 years in private hands.
We hope to see you there!
Richard (Assistant Archivist)
The last Saturday in September saw a small gathering at The National Museum of the Royal Navy at Portsmouth Dockyard for the Naval Ancestors: Who Do You Think They Were? workshop. Researchers gathered to broaden their knowledge of Service Records, gain advice on navigating the maze of Admiralty record keeping and the chance to quiz a specialist for help filling in the mysterious blanks about their naval ancestors. On hand were specialist staff from The National Archives, The MOD’s Naval Historical Branch and the Royal Marines Museum.
Three very helpful talks brought to life the breadth of documents online and the family history wonders to be found on the National Archives catalogue. Also addressed were the almost arcane vocabulary and abbreviations featuring in a sailor’s service certificates. Knowing that ‘D&D’ doesn’t refer to role playing games or ‘drunk and disorderly’ but actually means ‘discharged with disgrace’ casts quite a different light on one’s ancestors… The historically distinct and often changing role of the Royal Marines was also well illustrated. What stood out most for me was realising that Marines were all volunteers- and there in lies the reason they were considered more reliable. This made them best suited to being the ultimate instrument by which a captain enforced his authority and naval regulations.
Questions were taken after each presentation and there was no shying away from the nitty gritty of where else to try after the more obvious avenues had yielded only dead ends and frustration: many people had submitted their questions in advance!
It was an interesting day for a NMM Manuscripts Cataloguer too. We don’t deal in many of these official naval records but researchers often arrive with the service records, wanting to flesh out the details of a career at sea or find a picture of a particular ship. I got stuck in and asked about some records which had eluded me in the 4 years I have worked in the Caird Library: Ships requisitioned by the Admiralty, Naval Training ships and the records of dockyard workers. I came away with all 3 answered!
Far from being lost in the gloom of the past, I came away thinking that if one’s ancestors weren’t in the Royal Navy, the past could perhaps be a good deal less clear!
Martin (Manuscripts Cataloguer)
If you are in Greenwich, or planning a day out, and you are either interested in naval history or would simply like to know more about the life of Nelson and his women, why not join my Archive Journey session on Thursday 7th October at 14.30.
With the help of rare and precious manuscripts from the Museum’s Library and Manuscripts collections, I am going to lead you on a journey through original and valuable items such as a letter from Nelson to his wife Frances or the original will of Emma Hamilton. You will have that afternoon the extraordinary opportunity to discover and understand Admiral Nelson’s relationships with Frances Nelson, Emma Hamilton and Horatia Nelson.
So, join me on Thursday 7th October at 14.30 in the E-Library.
Gregory (Information Assistant – Library)
Greenwich this Thursday is certainly the fashionable place to be as our archive journey session is Sailor Chic. Using rare, original manuscript and printed items from the Museum’s collections we’ll be exploring what sailors wore on ship; how they obtained their uniform and how much it cost.
This is a great opportunity to view some of the less well known treasures at the National Maritime Museum. So, if you are planning a visit why not come along? The session will start at 2.30pm on Thursday 30 September and takes place in the E-Library.
Richard (Assistant Archivist)
If you are in Greenwich, or planning a day out, and you are either interested in naval history or would simply like to know more about the life that naval wives conducted in 1800, why not join my Archive Journey session on Thursday 23rd September at 14.30?
With the help of rare and precious manuscripts from the Museum’s Library and Manuscripts collections, I am going to lead you on a journey through original and valuable letters and engraved coins (including the example shown here, NMM MEC1651). By exploring bitter-sweet memories, you will have the extraordinary opportunity to discover and understand the role and the importance of naval wives who, remaining at home while their husbands were at sea, played a fundamental part in British naval history. So, join me on Thursday 23rd September at 14.30 in the E-Library.
Sonia (Information Assistant – Library)