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If you suspect that you have an ancestor who could have been a Master or Mate between 1869 and 1948, you could consult the Lloyd’s Captains Registers at the Guildhall library.
There are 143 volumes that contain information on the service as Captain or Mate of those officers holding a British Master’s Certificate: click here for a guide. The London Gazette also published lists of those granted Masters’ and Mates’ Certificates and can be found here.
The records of officers who served on board East India Company ships are housed at the British Library with the Asia, Pacific & Africa collections in the India Office under the Reference IOR:L/MAR/A, B & C. For more details, click here.
For Masters and Mates on board British vessels, their records were looked after by the RGSS, who were administered by the Board of Trade (BT). Because this was a government department, these records have largely passed to TNA.