Latest newsUPDATE 14 September 2015
Currrent Exhibitions 2015.
• Islandmagee, currently open by appointment.
• National Maritime Museum, Dun Laoghaire
See 'Exhibitions' for more details.
Central Index System
I have updated my understanding of the elements of the system including Discharge Books, CR1 cards, CR2 cards and the content of BT364. See Central Index System page.
NOW ON VIDEO!
You can now watch a video on YouTube of David Snook talking about the website at a recent exhibition based on his work at Dundalk Museum.
What's on the site?
This website has details of over 23,000 Irish born and 1000 Canadian born merchant seamen and their voyages contained in the CR10 series of central index cards held in the Southampton Civic Archives.
The CR10 Archive holds 300,000 cards covering the multinational workforce of the British Merchant Marine from early September 1918 and the closing two months of the Great War until December 1921. It only includes men working from British ports. All ranks are covered from master to cabin boy.
A unique feature of the CR10 cards is that they usually contain a good passport style photograph of the seaman. They also contain personal and voyage start details. I have used Microsoft Access to produce relational databases from this information.
These cards cover a time of great change for the British shipping industry. They were introduced just before the end of the war and some men were killed within days of being photographed. Others were recruited into the industry by a shipping boom in 1919 and 1920 and pushed out with the slump at the end of 1920.
Tighter immigration controls in the USA and Canada did not help, while express passenger liners like the Cunarder Aquitania were converted from coal to oil fuel which reduced crew numbers.
It’s not clear what effect the struggle for Irish independence had on the willingness of seamen from the 26 counties to continue working in the industry. Jobs were difficult to get so perhaps they just changed the nationality on their identity books from British to Irish.