Appropriation Books, Official Numbers 2951 - 3000 (2966)
Image source  CLIP images

CLIP image viewer for the Appropriation Books

The CLIP image viewer provides a convenient way to view and search images of the Appropriation Books.


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When the system of official numbers began on 16 April 1855, the British Ports of Registry were each allocated batches of official numbers - you can see this allocation as a pencil note at the top of the page where the allocation began. A summary of this first allocation is shown here.

The ship names recorded are those that the ships carried at the time that their official numbers were allocated - changes are sometimes noted, but the best source for changes of name are the shipping registers for the port, or alternatively the Merchant Navy List.

Bear in mind that the ships names in the Appropriation Books are not the definitive name or spelling of the name, even though these are the central records for the whole system. As you can see, the entries are hand-written and derived from hand-written returns made by the various ports, themselves based on the hand-written shipping registers, based on what the port officials thought the person registering the ship was saying or had hand-written down.

As you will also see, some of the entries are badly written and the earlier ones use Victorian script, so individual letters may be hard to decipher - u and n, c and e, for example can look similar. There are also instances of 'fs' used for double-s and the capital Q can look like a 2.

Especially in the first volume, there are frequent margin notes against the entries which (if you can decipher them) can provide information on the ultimate fate of the ship. Typical entries are 'Lost as per cert[ificate] 20/6/58' or 'Sold foreigners per advice 8/4/67'. Beware - it is sometimes not easy to see which entry the note refers to. These notes may be a useful quick alternative to consulting the original Shipping Registers.

The Appropriation Books are in a slightly fragile state - some of the bindings are tight, while others are quite loose, so we had to be especially careful in handling them for photography. As a result, some of the entries in the gutter margin may not be visible. If you particularly want to see that data, it may be visible on the next page and we've cropped the images loosely to keep that part of the page visible where possible. You can see the next page by entering an official number 50 greater or less than the one you are interested in.

Image sources and acknowledgements

The images were made by CLIP from the original volumes held at the Registry of Shipping and Seamen in Cardiff and we would like to thank the staff for their helpfulness in providing us with access to the volumes.

We have published the images as an aid to private research - please use them only for that purpose, and do not re-publish them.


Please be patient