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Royal Navy - Surveys and Succession Books - Officers (Military)

Nature of Source

Following the Napoleonic wars (1793-1815) the navy shrank rapidly and officer commissions became harder to obtain with greater demand for the limited vacancies. Therefore surveys were sent to all officers to select the most capable to remain in service.

The veracity of many returns is questionable and many were not returned or were lost.

If an officer is not found amongst the Surveys it may be possible that he appears in the Succession Books which follow an officers career from ship to ship using. The Books are arranged by the ship's name and name successive officers appointed to each ship listed as well as promotions and transfers between ships. Using the books, it is possible to follow an officers career from ship to ship. Each book may have a ship and name index and commence from 1673.

Where Found

Surveys
The National Archives (ADM 9, Survey Returns of Officers' Services)
Name indexes can be found in series ADM 6 and ADM 10

Succession Books
The National Archives (ADM 6, ADM 7, ADM 8, ADM 11, ADM 12, ADM 29, ADM 106)

Fleet Air Arm Museum
(The museum hold material relating to the Royal Naval Air Service and the Fleet Air Arm from official and private sources including service records, squadron line books, aircraft accident records, air stations, operations, ships and equipment. The museum also has custody of Royal Navy & Royal Marines Service Documents)
Royal Naval Museum (The museum houses a collection of naval related books, manuscripts and images, including the collections from the Admiralty Library formerly housed in London. The museum library offers a number of resources for those researching family histories with a number of Information Sheets available online including a guide to naval rankings. The Online Catalogue provides access to the Manuscript, Oral History, Photographic and WRNS collections)

Period Covered

1817 - 1851

Genealogical Value

Names, dates of birth and careers of officers.

Further References

Addis, C.P. The Men Who Fought with Nelson in HMS Victory at Trafalgar: Nelson Society, 1988

 

Adkins, Roy & Lesley. Jack Tar: The Extraordinary Lives of Ordinary Seamen in Nelson's Navy: Abacus, 2009

 

Bevan, Amanda. Tracing Your Ancestors in the National Archives: The National Archives, 2006

 

Blank, Dr. Stuart. Researching British Military History on the Internet: Alwyn Enterprises, 2007

 

Burt, R.A. British Battleships of World War One: Seaforth, 2012

 

Clarke, John D. Men of HMS Victory at Trafalgar Including the Muster Roll, Casualties, Rewards and Medals: Naval & Military Press 2002

 

Cock, Randolph & Rodgers N.A.M. A Guide to the Naval Records in The National Archives of the UK: Institute of Historical Research, 2006

 

Coleman, E.C. Rank and Rate: Insignia of Royal Naval Ratings, WRNS, Royal Marines, QARNNS and Auxiliaries: Crowood Press, 2012

 

Fenton, Roy & Briody, Nuala & Macdonald, Mike. Maritime Information : A Guide to Libraries and Sources of Information in the United Kingdom: Maritime Information Association, 2004

 

Fowler, Simon. A Guide to Military History on the Internet: Pen & Sword, 2007

 

Fowler, Simon. Tracing Your Naval Ancestors: A Guide for Family Historians: Pen & Sword Books, 2011

 

Gregson, Keith. Nelson's Navy 1793-1815: Federation of Family History Societies, 2006

 

Hurst, Norman (comp). Naval Chronicle, 1799-1818: Index to Births, Marriages and Deaths: N. Hurst, 1989

 

Ingham, Mary. Tracing Your Service Women Ancestors: A Guide for Family Historians: Pen and Sword Books 2012

 

Lavery, Brian. Life in Nelson's Navy: The History Press, 2011

 

Lavery, Brian. Empire of the Seas: The Remarkable Story of How the Navy Forged the Modern World: Conway, 2012

 

Lavery, Brian. Nelson's Navy: The Ships, Men and Organisation, 1793-1815: Conway, 2013

 

Mackenzie, Robert Holden. The Trafalgar Roll: The Ships and the Officers: Chatham, 2004

 

Morris, Stuart. Dorset, The Royal Navy: Dovecote Press, 2011  

Pappalardo, Bruno. Tracing Your Naval Ancestors: PRO, 2003

 

Pappalardo, Bruno. Royal Navy Lieutenants' Passing Certificates 1691-1902: List & Index Society, 2001 (Available in The National Archives reading rooms)

 

Pope, Dudley.Life In Nelson's Navy: Chatham Publishing, 1997

 

Prysor, Glyn. Citizen Sailors: The Royal Navy In the Second World War: Penguin Books, 2012

 

Rodger, N.A.M. Naval Records for Genealogists: PRO, 1998

 

Royal Marines Historical Society. A Register of Royal Marine Deaths, 1914-19: 1991

 

Spencer, William. Family History in the Wars: The National Archives, 2007

 

Storey, Neil. Military Photographs and How to Date Them: Countryside Books, 2009

 

Tracing Your Family History. Royal Navy: Imperial War Museum, 2006

 

Tracy, Nicholas. The Naval Chronicle: The Contemporary Record of the Royal Navy at War, vols 1-5: various publishers

 

Usher, George. Dictionary of British Military History: A&C Black Publishers, 2006

 

Waller, Ian. My Ancestor was in the Royal Navy: Society of Genealogists, 2014

 

Watts, Christopher T. and Watts, Michael J. Tracing Births, Deaths and Marriages at Sea: Society of Genealogists, 2004

 

Willis, Sam. In the Hour of Victory: The Royal Navy At War in the Age Nelson: Atlantic Books, 2014

 

Wills, Simon. Tracing Your Seafaring Ancestors: A Guide to Maritime Photographs for Family Historians: Pen and Sword Books, 2016

Wilson, Alastair. A Biographical Dictionary of The Twentieth Century Royal Navy: Volume 1 Admirals of the Fleet and Admirals: Seaforth, 2013

 


TNA Research Guides

Websites

www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/records/looking-for-subject/default.htm (TNA Guide: Looking for a subject, Military history)
www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/records/looking-for-person/default.htm (TNA Guide: Looking for a person, Navy)
www.barnettmaritime.co.uk (British Maritime History: Background to researching mariners: Mercantile & Naval)
www.royalnavalmuseum.org/info_sheets_nav_rankings.htm (Officer Ranks in the Royal Navy: The Naval Hierarchy Explained)
www.ukmfh.org.uk (UK Military Family History Online: Links to web sites with online data and information to aid in military family history research)
www.genuki.org.uk/big/MilitaryRecords.html (GENUKI Military guide with useful links)
www.rmg.co.uk/researchers/library/research-guides (National Maritime Museum: The Royal Navy: Guides to tracing people, ship records, administrative records, naval gunnery etc)
http://archive.iwm.org.uk/server/show/nav.3240 (Imperial War Museum, Your History, Family History: Royal Navy: Information sheets include Tracing Royal Navy Ancestry, Naval Service Records and List of Abbreviations)
http://globalgenealogy.com/globalgazette/gazfd/gazfd48.htm (British Military Records Part 2: The Royal Navy, by Fawne Stratford-Devai)
www.bl.uk/collection-guides/uk-national-government-publications (British Library Guide: Service lists for the Army, Navy and Air Force)
www.pbenyon.plus.com/Naval.html (Naval enthusiast site that contains a number of indexes including extracts from the Navy Lists, ship's photos & other information)
www.naval-history.net (Information on battles, actions, medals, convoys, warships, merchant ships and ship losses, including photos of lost soldiers)
www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/nelson (Online exhibition to commemorate the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805)
www.navyrecords.org.uk (Navy Records Society: Publisher of original documents on the Royal Navy)
http://navaldockyards.moonfruit.com (Naval Dockyards Society)

Online Databases

www.navylist.org (Naval Biographical Database: Biographical information on Royal Navy commission, warrant and yard officers extracted from a variety of sources, starting from 1660. The database also identifies volunteers who supported the Navy as well as a complete ship listing including places. Expect to find the person's name, rank, entry and discharge date, pension award, date of death and family members)
TNA Online Collections (Wills of Royal Naval Seamen: A collection of around 20,000 wills made by seamen of the Royal Navy 1786-1882. TNA Online Collections is produced by The National Archives and contains online access to indexes, transcriptions and digital images of some of the TNA's most important holdings. Searches are free but a fee is levied for each downloaded item. However downloads are free if used at TNA or the Society of Genealogists)
www.forces-war-records.co.uk (Forces War Records: Military records of over two million British Armed Forces personnel cross matched with over 4000 Regiments including Rolls of Honour, Crimean and Boer War Databases, Medal Rolls and Casualties Lists. The site also has a facility to access information on specific units or bases including regiments, ships, airfields)
www.genhound.co.uk (Dartmouth Royal Naval College Staff 1928 including officers, masters and staff)
www.navyrecordsonline.co.uk
(Navy Records Online is an online archive of miscellaneous British naval records including charts, portraits, cartoons, logs, letters, diaries, battle plans, sketchbooks, photograph albums and videos)
www.findmypast.co.uk (Armed forces deaths 1796-1994 and GRO Naval war deaths WWI and WWII)
www.naval-history.net (Casualty Lists of the Royal And Dominion Navies 1889-2009, researched and compiled by Don Kindell)
www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/trafalgarancestors (Trafalgar Ancestors: Names and details of those that served in the Battle of Trafalgar compiled by Bruno Pappalardo)
www.ageofnelson.org/NavyList/index.html (The Complete Navy List of the Napoleonic Wars, 1793-1815: Transcribed names and details of more than 11,000 commissioned officers who served in the Royal Navy from 1787 onwards, up to those who entered the service before 1817)
www.ageofnelson.org/TrafalgarRoll/index.html (The Ayshford Trafalgar Roll: Names and details of over 21,000 seamen and marines who fought at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805)
www.1812privateers.org/ADM26/ADM26.html (Transcripts of the ADM 26 registers which allowed ratings/sailors and not officers to remit part of their pay to a third party, usually a relative, 1795-1851)

CD Roms

www.ageofnelson.org/NavyList/CD.html (The Complete Navy List of the Napoleonic Wars, 1793-1815: Transcribed names and details of more than 11,000 commissioned officers who served in the Royal Navy from 1787 onwards, up to those who entered the service before 1817)
www.ageofnelson.org/TrafalgarRoll/index.html (The Ayshford Trafalgar Roll: Names and details of over 21,000 seamen and marines who fought at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805)
Archive CD Books (1861 Census - Royal Navy at Sea & Ports Abroad)
S & N Genealogy Supplies (Royal Navy Ships at Sea and in Ports Abroad in the 1871 Census and 1901 census)