The CLIP crew names database contains transcription from crew list documents for the period 1863 to 1913. This search page provides a flexible system to search the data and presents results with the detail you need to find the seafarer you are looking for.
You can then look at a particular entry in more detail, with CLIP comments and explanation alongside the raw data. We transcribe 'as seen', so our comments include probable expansions of abbreviations.
One item of data on a crew list is potentially extremely useful: most entries show the previous ship that the seafarer worked on, so you can trace their career backwards. To do this, you need to track down the crew lists for that previous vessel. To do that, you will need to know her official number - a unique identifier which distinguishes ships of the same name and which is widely used by archives to catalogue crew list holdings. The CLIP system will provide you with likely matches, using our vessels database (the largest and most comprehensive database of British registered ships) with further information and links to help you find the crew lists.
Use the search form to enter the seafarer's surname or part of the name, entering at least three letters. Do not use wild-cards, such as '?', '%'.
Choose whether to search for an 'Exact match' or search for the surname which 'Starts with this', 'Includes this' or 'Ends with this'. If you wish, you can add a forename and a year of birth.
The entries are sorted by Surname, then by Forename, then by Date of Birth.
The first five columns are details of the entries for the seafarers - Surname, Forename, Age or Date of Birth (DOB), Birthplace and the Capacity in which they were employed.
The next four columns are about the ship and the voyage - showing the Vessel's name, her ON (official number), the Start and End dates for the voyage (or, in the case of home-trade ships, the half-year covered by the list). Bear in mind that the seafarer may not have been aboard for the whole period covered by the list.
The next column is important. It shows the Previous vessel - the ship that the seafarer previously worked on. Using this information, it is possible to trace back the mariner's career.
The blue arrow to the right of the previous vessel takes you to the CLIP expert system. This will help you to identify the ship concerned, and where the crew lists for that ship are held. If the ship can be identified, this page will take you straight to a list of the crew list holdings.
The button links to an interpretation page, which will explain the entry in more detail and provide background information via further links.
The final button, on the results page will provide you with a full transcript of that crew list with the seafarer's entry highlighted and the facility to see transcripts of any other voyages for that ship for the same year.
The data is taken from the crew lists and agreements which are held at:
The documents cover the period 1863 to 1913.
Bear in mind that seafarers could sign onto a ship from any port.
The database was last updated on 6 May 2023 and currently contains 696,725 entries.
Please see our general information page CLIP data for details on sources, methodology, the abbreviations we have used, and our acknowledgements.
Be aware! Discrepancies between sources are common: we transcribe 'as seen'. Where the original source probably contains an error, such as a typo, we have marked our transcription with ? .
Our acknowledgements page is here: Acknowledgements