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How to use Customs registers

Where to find Customs registers: PRO

The majority of the transcript [definition] and transaction [definition] forms from 1786 to 1955 have found their way to the Public Record Office. Catalogues of these files are kept there and can also be viewed on the PRO [address] website. They are filed under the classes listed below.


Transcripts and transactions received between 1786 and 1854. This series is not complete for ports except London, because many copies were destroyed in a fire in 1814. Class BT111 contains indexes to the transcripts for this period.


Transcripts for the period 1855 to 1889. These are bound by year and by port of registry [definition], in order of port number.


Transactions for the period 1855 to 1889. These are filed yearly, under the ship`s official number. The transactions are numbered, the numbers being recorded on the transcripts in class BT108.


Transcripts and transactions for the period 1890 to 1955. For a given ship, all registration documents from 1890 to 1955 are bound together. Thus, the complete history of a British ship between these dates can be traced by looking through just one file.


Indexes for the transcripts received between 1786 and 1854.

The papers are filed according to the date the register was closed and the name of the ship at that time. To find a given ship`s registration papers, it is vital to know when it left the British register and its last British name. This has to be found by searching through Lloyd`s Register of Ships [definition] or Mercantile Navy List [definition].

CUST 130

The London Customs registers from 1818 to 1926.


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