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Official sources

The Mercantile Navy List was a comprehensive register of British ships. Each British ship had its Customs Register. Learn what unique information these sources provide.
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History and development of the Mercantile Navy List

Discover the value of the Mercantile Navy List which covers all British registered vessels, down to the very smallest.
 Merchantile Navy List
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Merchantile Navy List Page  How to use the Mercantile Navy List

Learn where copies of Mercantile Navy List can be found, the information they provide and how to use them for shipping research.
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History of Customs registers

Customs registers are the ultimate official source of data on all British-registered ships. Initially introduced for shipping regulation, they include key details like ownership and master`s name.
 Customs Registers
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Customs Registers  How to use Customs registers

Find out how to use Customs registers in your shipping research. Discover where they can be found and what they won`t tell you.
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Highlights
History of Customs registers

Quick quiz
Which of these pieces of information will a Customs register not give you?
 a ship's port of registry
details of a ship's machinery
a ship's launch date

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Southampton City Council New Opportunities Fund Lloyd's Register London Metropolitan Archives National Maritime Museum World Ship Society  
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