Masters and Mates certificates

This guide was last updated in 2009

From 1845, a series of examinations for Masters and Mates was introduced. Initially the examination was voluntary and applied only to those officers in foreign trade but was eventually made compulsory and the scope widened from about 1850.

The majority of the records for Masters and Mates for 1845-1925 will be in the form of these certificates. Currently these are available only at TNA and you will need to visit the archives to see them.

You will need to begin with the indexes to the certificates these can be found under the following references: BT 127 Index to the Registers of Certificates of Competency and Service, Masters and Mates, Home and Foreign Trade; BT 138 Index to Registers of Certificates of Competency and Service Skippers and Mates of Fishing Boats; and BT 141 Index to the Registers of Certificates of Competency and Service, Engineers.

A word of caution! If you are looking for a name beginning Mc or Mac, you will need to look in the section for the letter that follows that prefix. So, for example, 'McGregor' will appear under G, 'MacDonald' under D, and so on.

Good luck with your search...


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