Collection Information

U.S. crew lists are primarily from the twentieth century, although a few date to the late 1800s. Related records that are also included in this category may go back even farther. For example, the collection of Indexes to Seamen's Protection Certificate Applications and Proofs of Citizenship includes records from the period between 1796 and 1861.

Crew lists may include both native American and alien crew members.

They can include details such as age, nationality, name of the vessel, shipping line, crew position, length of service, whether they were to be discharged at the port of arrival, literacy, race, height, and weight. These records are sometimes combined with passenger lists.

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Search Tips

  • Start your search wide, using the name of the crew member and then zero in on collections for places his ship was engaged.
  • You may find your ancestor in more than one collection. For example, you may find Great Lakes seamen listed in Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Detroit collections.
  • Some collections are also browsable by date and ship.
  • If you can’t find the person you’re searching for, try searching by ship name and browsing the crew list.