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How to use Lloyd's Register of Ships

Making a Search

To search for details of a ship in Lloyd`s Register of Ships its name or former name is usually needed. If the name is not known, but the owner`s name or its builder is, it might just be possible to identify the ship, especially if other details are known. This is because editions from 1876 included a list of ships by owner, and editions from 1886 a list of ships by builders.

There are no indexes of Lloyd`s Register of Ships that show in which years a given ship is listed. So, if the years it was in existence are unknown, it is a matter of searching through editions, say at five yearly intervals, to find the ship. A list of former names has appeared since 1886, and this is a useful place to look for a ship`s name.

Once a ship has been found in Lloyd`s Register of Ships, check the building date and look back through previous editions to find any significant changes such as owner, flag or name. A ship usually remained in Lloyd`s Register of Ships until it was lost or scrapped, so completing its history involves tracing it through later editions. This is best done with ` posted [definition] ` editions, which show whether a ship changed its name and owner, and give brief details when it is lost or broken up. Once a ship has changed name, subsequent details appear under its new name.

If using an unposted register, you will that find the ship may drop out between two editions. The supplement to that year`s Lloyd`s Register of Ships, if available, will show what happened to the ship. Alternatively, check the list of former names in a subsequent edition to find if it has been renamed. If it is not listed, the ship has probably been lost or broken up.

The way the volumes are organised has changed a number of times over the long history of Lloyd`s Register of Ships. The information almost always continues from one edition to the next, but may suddenly appear in a different volume or section. For instance, sailing vessels and steamships began to be listed separately in 1890. A major change came in 1932 when steam and motor vessels over and under 300 gross tons were separated, sailing ships continuing in their own list. From 1947 all vessels were put in one list, published in two volumes. In 1980, three volumes became necessary, and since 1985 these have included information previously appearing in other sections, including the useful `list of former names`.


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